United Ink Tattoo Show
This past weekend, we checked out the United Ink Tattoo Expo at Nassau Coliseum along with an estimated 20,000 others (that number hasn't been confirmed). Tattooed people in various states of cut-up tee shirts lined up to get work from internationally renowned artists as well as new comers to the craft.
The tattooists all looked like they were working hard. I watched Nikko Hurtado do this portrait above on Yall Quinones of San Juan, PR (who has an extensive collection of beautiful tattoos). Jose Lopez was working his black & grey magic along with other members of the Lowrider Tattoo crew. You can easily tell their clients by the massive pieces repping LA-styled tattooing at its finest, like this backpiece below. Their black & grey brethren Marshall Bennett, Shane O'Neil, among many others, were also making some lucky collectors very happy.
But all genres of tattooing were represented. Jason Ackerman and Kristel Oreto were dropping color bombs. Myke Chambers offered his signature Americana, and there was a full contingent of artists from China & Japan. Traditional Tebori (hand tattooing) was on view on a platform in the middle of the Coliseum for all to view, and there were plenty of eager spectators trying to maneuver their camera phones to get a shot. I was one of them. Here's the not-so-awesome pic of mine.
And as an added treat, Bowery Stan and Philadelphia Eddie, two of guards of the Old School, were another main attraction for serious tattoo fans.
For the less serious, there were tons of reality TV stars to ogle and pose for pictures with. And these "celebrities" were heavily promoted to draw a crowd to fill the very large space. Drita from Mob Wives and some of those, um, ladies from the Bad Girls club were there, and thankfully, they all managed not to punch anyone. Brandon from The Real World St. Thomas did a suspension, and naturally, a bunch of artists from reality tattoo TV were signing autographs in between tattoos. It was interesting to see one tattooist with a massive banner touting his tattoo competition fame when he was kicked out early in the show; nevertheless, he's reaping tons of benefits from his 15 minutes. Bless his heart.
On the fine art front, work from famed Swiss surrealist H.R. Giger was on view and there was even a very special prize for the collector who won the Giger tattoo contest (more on that coming up). Francisco Poblet, a student of Salvador Dali, was also a central feature with his "Dali Dynasty" art show.
The draw of tattoo shows for us is meeting up with so many friends who we don't often get to see if it was not for these traveling circuses. Very happy to hang with artist Phil Padwe of "Mommy Has a Tattoo" fame (we'll be doing a give-away donated by Phil soon), and filmmaker Beverly Yuen Thompson, the heavily tattooed woman behind "Covered," a documentary on other heavily tattooed women and female tattoo artists.
Oh, I guess I should mention that I wanted to punch some dude who came up to me saying he was looking for people to be in a pilot on bad, stupid and funny tattoos. Was he talking about me? Did he know that being short I have a low center of gravity that helps knock idiots on their ass? Many questions were not answered. He was one of a number of people shooting pilots. There were also the girls from "Tattoo Wives." I'm going to become an alcoholic with all these drinking games we have to create.
What I missed was the United Ink Award Ceremony & Hall of Fame Celebration, which I heard was a blast. There was a red carpet walk-through, iconic tattooists were honored and awards were given out to tattooists in different tattoo specialties. [Alas, there was no tribal/blackwork category.]
Add all this to seminars, shows, and even a United Ink anthem by Quiet Storm (!!), it was a massive production and special props go out to Frankie Scorpion-Espejo, who worked tirelessly on this, and to the crew at Tattoo Lou's who put on the show.
For more of my bad pics, hit up our N+S Flickr (although there aren't many). Also on Flickr, Hardcore Shutterbug has way better images.
LI Newsday has a write-up & photo gallery as well.