I was gonna wait till the fabulous Brian Grosz finished coding the new Needles and Sins site before I posted (he came outta web design retirement for this!), but I was so excited with the extensive and excellent photos of the Philadelphia Tattoo show by Sean Toussaint that I just couldn't wait!
Sean, Brian and I battled hangovers Sunday morning and made our way to Philly to catch the last day of the convention there, which boasted some great artists in attendance, informative seminars and a fine art component. Yes, we were feelin pretty fancy despite our recession-necessary bus ride over. Ok, maybe we did wanna see a little sexy hair pulling between Suicide Girls, God's Girls and Gypsy Queens but I assure you it was largely about the "highbrow" and "tattoo couture."
Upon arrival, impressed with the multi-level set-up at the Sheraton Philadelphia City Center, we decided to make our way through the show, floor by floor, starting with Bloody Marys in the lobby bar. But -- as has been the case in the past -- some asshole pulled the fire alarm. The convention was evacuated and hoards of tattoorati crowded outside shivering. There, Sean began his photographic quest with so much charm and flare that people stripped down further in the cold for the Haitian Sensation.
[In the interest of full disclosure, Sean and I have lunch dates where we practice the choreography of Beyonce videos, so yeah, I have a fag hag crush on him.]
Moving on ...
When we were finally allowed back into the building, we were shortly treated to a biker brawl, which was almost immediately quashed by an army of cops.
And where did said army come from?
Well, they were already there to keep things safe as Vice President Joe Biden shmoozed around Philly and found himself at the Sheraton. The VP did not get tattooed; however, rumor has it that he was jumped into the Pagans.
The two-minute gang war took place outside the tattooing areas, so the buzzing went largely unbothered. When the cops finally cleared, I was able to watch some stellar tattoo work being done, like tattooist Dave Wallin taking a break to get traditional Japanese hand poke tattooing by Bunshin Horitoshi; or North Star's David Sena working non-stop on his signature "angry black" tattooing; or even my Brooklyn buddy Jaz doing black and grey portraiture.
My favorite part of conventions is being introduced to great artists whose work I havent come across before like Christian Masot of Silk City Tattoo in New Jersey. What was most impressive about Christian was how his clients sang his praises repeatedly, not just for the artistry but for the man he is, and I think that's so important, especially when spending hours on end with someone poking ya. You should at least like the person right? Or are we all just snobby tattoo sluts?
In fact, there were A LOT of new artists doing amazing work with just a few years under their belts. Such is the state of fine art tattooing these days, and while many need to lose a bit of the immature rock star divaness, I'm not gonna complain after seeing many beautiful works of art walking around the show.