Detroit Tattoo Expo Photos & Redux
The 15th Annual Detroit Motor City Tattoo Expo has come to a close and while everyone else is at the after-party now, I'm staying in to break down the weekend for ya -- beyond my incessant Tweets -- because (a) I'm a nerd, (b) no really, I'm pretty socially inept, and (c) I'm simply freakin exhausted from all the parties that have been running till dawn since Thursday.
But, as I learned from the knuckles of Adam Callen of BodyMod.org, ya only live once and the past four days have been worth every bag under my eye. Which is why I stayed away from the cameras and just took my own less-than-stellar shots.
Check my Detroit Tattoo Expo pix here.
Ok, here's how it went...
* On Thursday, I arrived at the Marriott Renaissance Center -- a labyrinth of circular walkways that lead to GM cars, a suspended Starbucks and conference rooms that would be filled during the weekend with tattooists as well as pharmacists. [And during the course of this weekend, it was clear who were the drug dealers and who weren't.]
* The hotel lobby bar began to brim with the tattooed; lots of hugs, back-slaps and complicated handshakes were shared between friends who largely see each other on the convention
* The snow fell hard on Friday, so attendance started slow but there was a steady stream of people. Most booths were buzzin as the artist line-up was stellar. What I particularly loved was the diversity of artists from different tattoo families. [I stole "tattoo families" from Sean Herman who used it to describe tattooers who inspire each other in a certain style.]
For example, you had long time black & gray greats like Jack Rudy, Brian Everett, Tony Olivas, Bob Tyrrell, Robert Hernandez, among many younger stars including the Lowrider Tattoo crew -- a crew who swept most of the B&G contests with work like this (right) by Abey Alvarez.
Then you had the amazing photo-realism family including, but def not limited to, Sean, Mike Demasi, Joshua Carlton, Mike Devries, Dan Henk, Monte, -- and Nikko Hurtado who did this rockin portrait on Alissa Brunelli of her father.
The real family of Americana legend, Professor Dana Brunson was in attendance. Dana worked the booth with his wife Dot and son Jason.
Bio-Mech/Organic was repped by Carson Hill, Nate Kostechko and the illustrated stylings of Jime Litwalk, Tony Ciavarro, Larry Brogan and Kristel Oreto rocked all weekend.
* In fact, the highlight of Saturday for me was seeing one of Kristel's pimped out Hello Kitty's on some guy's butt (entitled "Candy Ass"). Check it on her site here. And below is the (kinda NSFW) video of that special moment of adornment.
* It's funny how I completely adore the ass tattoo but freaked out over the MANY facial and neck tattoos on really young collectors -- kids that didn't even have sleeves but went straight for the career killers. *sigh*
* And in that "you kids get off my lawn moment," Adam from BodyMod (remember him from when I started this increasingly long post?) put me in front of his video camera so I could whine about how I get regular emails from these kids asking me to sue companies that won't hire them. To which I always say, Boo Hoo. [That vid should be up soon.]
* The show wound down around 7pm and most artists went out to dinn. I didn't join because I feared the post-dinner fest. And I'm all fested out.
Plus I wanted to share my weekend with y'all because, you know, I love you.
So, I head back to Brooklyn this Monday morn, rest up for a few days and then I'm off to Germany for the Frankfurt Tattoo Convention next weekend. My goal is to have photos and a review for that show as well ... and I have high hopes for more butt tattoos!