Results tagged “Justin Weatherholtz”

12:06 PM
Rose Hardy Tattooweb.jpg
Rose Hardy tattoo above.

Todd Noble tattooweb.jpg
Todd Noble tattooing.

Pagoda City Tattoo web.jpeg
Joe Capobianco & co-organizer Justin Weatherholtz at the Kings Avenue Tattoo booth.

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Dream team Heather Bailey, Rose Hardy & Virginia Elwood judge the Saturday tattoo competition.

After back-to-back NYC tattoo shows, I was feeling a bit burnt out on conventions and figured I'd take a break this summer. I had a blast at those shows, of course, but big conventions can be intense with the crowds, cameras, competitions and general creative chaos. But after writing my post on the Pagoda City Tattoo Fest, I decided to drive down to Wyomissing, Pennsylvania this past weekend to check for myself what my friends had been talking up since last year's premier of the convention.

On the way there, I passed by billboards that promised damnation for abortion, special deals on rifles, and mega-mall retail therapy. And then there was the Pagoda City Tattoo Fest billboard--a good sign, literally, that all would be welcome to the party.

Just minutes after walking into the Crown Plaza lobby, filled with banners for the fest, I got hugs from friends who also traveled to be a part of it. At check-in, hotel employees were wearing the super-cool designed convention tees, just one of the many ways the hotel welcomed the tattoo take-over.

I dropped my bag off and headed to the convention area of the hotel, where I was warmly greeted by
Joe Johns and, soon after, Justin Weatherholtz, co-organizers and well respected tattooers. This was a hands-on operation, not run by an outside convention company, but by tattoo artists for tattoo artists and collectors.

The Pagoda City Tattoo Fest is a small boutique show with very select tattoo artists of the world's best. As I walked up and down the aisles, I kept thinking as I passed by the shop booths, "Woah, she's here, he's Wyomissing?" [The amount of talent is too much to name. You can check the artist list here.] And so many of them -- who have endless studio waiting lists -- were taking walk-ups. I wondered if those who just came in off the street knew how lucky they were.

While the focus was heavily on excellent tattooing, I also felt the strength of the show stemmed from the intimate community feel. I didn't just get to hang out with old friends; the way it was set up, with a great outdoor communal space by the pool and laid back vibe, I had the opportunity to meet new people, have a drink and share stories. It wasn't a bunch of posing tattoo models or reality TV tattooists holding court with fans. People were really connecting
. It was ... lovely.

That's not to say there wasn't some hardcore partying and 3am splashing in the pool. Dirty jokes, dirty laughs, & dirty tattoo tales will always be my favorite part of shows. [I never get tired of hearing veteran tattooer Mike Skiver keep telling the story of how he mistook my butt for his wife's at a convention 14 years ago -- a grab that began our friendship.] Sex, whiskey and rock-n-roll will never leave conventions (even if I, myself, went to bed sober at a reasonable hour).

Because I was having too much fun, I didn't take many pics, but you can see a few on my Instagram and Flickr album. Find more on the
Pagoda City Tattoo Fest Instagram.

Claudia De Sabe tattooweb.jpgClaudia De Sabe tattoo.

Zach Dunn painting web.jpgZack Dunn painting.

Me and Mike Skiverweb.jpgBooty out with Mike Skiver.

10:24 AM
wetherholtz tattoo.jpgTattoos by Justin Weatherholtz

Recently, on the SwallowsnDaggers blog, Justin Weatherholtz announced that he and co-founder Joe Johns are putting on the first annual Pagoda City Tattoo Fest (PCTF) in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. It's a planned East Coast extravaganza with a ton of talent and what Weatherholtz has already called a "no bullshit lineup." Slated for the second weekend in August, Weatherholtz already has top tattooers on board like Scott Sylvia, Steve Byrne, BJ Betts, Chad Koeplinger, and is showcasing talent from shops like Three Kings, Olde City and, of course, King's Avenue. We've got a few months until kick-off but we caught up with Justin to get a little more info.

You've stressed the East Coast a lot in getting the word out about PCTF. Is that a big deal for you?

It is, actually, I'm from Reading, and Wyomissing is basically the town right next door. Berks county is where I grew up, where my family and many friends still are, and it's where I served my tattoo apprenticeship under Joe Johns, who I'm organizing the show with.

So has this part of Pennsylvania had a convention before?

It has. When I was doing my apprenticeship under Joe at Wizard's World, there was a show put on every year but they stopped doing it a while ago. After I moved to New York to work at King's Ave., I'd come back for the convention and it always felt like a homecoming of sorts. Since then I'd always hoped it would return but it just never did. Joe approached me a few times about having one again but the time never seemed right.

Until now?

Until now, yeah. I've always had a strong connection to home, like so many of us do, and I've always thought that Reading was a great centrally-located part of the northeast with New York, Philly, Jersey, DC, and Baltimore all being so close. It's a good size venue and the caliber of artists that are coming and the seminars we're putting on is definitely reason enough to attend. We've already got seminars lined up with Bob Tyrrell, Joe Capobianco, Jime Litwalk. You know, it's funny because I never set out to be a convention organizer... but [PCTF] came about because we just wanted to bring a show back to my hometown. That was my motivation. 

The response has been great so far. What kind of feedback are you getting?

The feedback from tattooers has been really great. I've been hearing from tattooers that its refreshing to see that tattooers are putting on the show, not just promoters who are trying to take a bite out of tattooing's popularity and make a profit. The industry people who are involved seem really excited to be part of the show, too, and I feel like we can organize a show that will be a great weekend for all concerned -- the tattooers, the people attending the seminars, getting tattooed or just coming to hang out and be a part of it.  Pagoda City is just about bringing a positive show to the area that caters to the artists and puts the focus on where it should be.

Raven Poe Tattoo.jpg You've been at King's Avenue for the better part of a decade now. You've obviously evolved from Wizard's World but also evolved with King's Ave...

Serving my apprenticeship under Joe was great. I was fortunate enough to accompany him on a lot of convention trips, where I was exposed to so much in the tattoo world and met so many talented people just by being associated with Joe. So when I was looking to leave PA, it was based solely on the idea of being in a new town and new environment. Getting that call from Mike made the decision easy.

[Working at King's Avenue] has been such a game changer for me in so many ways. My tattooing and drawing has matured exponentially working around Mike, Grez, and the crew and the guest artists we have coming through. I've made friendships with so many solid people from the industry I otherwise might not have ever met. And I work among some of the most dignified, funny, and creative people on the planet that I have oceans of respect for.

If you want to learn how to handle yourself as a man, spend some time at Kings Avenue. Seeing the shop grow and being a part of something that you can actually feel the magic in, is pretty awesome. Especially since the Bowery location opened. Being a part of the energy of the city has been great for Kings Avenue and myself.

What do you find yourself tattooing these days? Traditional has become super popular but you seem pretty comfortable across the board.

One thing that I've always made a point of is not going too far in one direction. Versatility is a priority. If I see my schedule going too hard in one direction, I'll lean the other way and post different styles online or on Instagram just to change it up. I would hope that my drawing style is the one constant that comes through no matter what I'm tattooing... and that's what makes it mine.

Where is there left for tattooing to go?

It's like music. For example, take rock and roll. There will be genres and sub-genres and styles that grab the general public's attention for that moment in time. But a solid, well-drawn tattoo or well-written rock song always holds up. If there's sincerity in it, it comes through.

Travel plans coming up for folks not on the East Coast?

I've pumped the brakes a bit on traveling since we started organizing Pagoda City. After Pagoda City, I'll be attending the London convention in September.

And, of course, I just want to say a huge thank you to my business partner and the guy that brought me into tattooing, Joe Johns. Also a big thank you for all the support from tattooers that are a part of this, and to the many hands we have helping through this whole process. It's gonna be a great weekend!

More info available at See more of Justin's tattoo work on the King's Ave site and Instagram.

Justin Weatherholtz tattoo.jpg
08:40 AM
Legendary NYC artist/tattooist Thom deVita (featured in a five-part series from Tattoo Age) will be a part of a major event at Kings Ave Tattoo NYC in conjunction with VICE all this weekend.  There will be an art sale of Thom's work featuring books, art boxes and stencil-rubbings - plus, Thom himself will be there all weekend! 

If that weren't enough, a crew of heavyweight artists will be tattooing on location all weekend. Scott Harrison will be there will be tattooing deVita-inspired tattoos on Saturday and Sunday and we'll witness the work process of Chris O'Donnell as well as the stellar King's Ave crew: Mike Rubendall, Grez, Brian Paul, Justin Weatherholtz, Jason Tyler Grace and Frankie Caraccioli (check out the whole Kings Ave team's portfolio here).

PLUS, should you want to get tattooed, some of the guys will be taking walk-ins all weekend and Grez will be taking walk-ins all day Sunday.

What: Thom deVita Pop Up Gallery with VICE's Tattoo Age
When: January 11th-13th
Where: King's Ave | 188 Bowery (at Spring St), NYC - 2nd floor
Time: 12-9pm daily Friday and Saturday, 1-7pm on Sunday

(Full Disclosure: Marisa and I will be there on Friday around 6pm should you want to stop in and say hello to two blogger-dorks)
11:50 AM

Vice TV continues kicking ass with it's Tattoo Age series by profiling my main man, Mike Rubendall of Kings Avenue (and, yes, the first still they display is of my fu-moobs).  We've sung Rubendall's praises before on this blog, but now we get a chance to hear from his peers and co-workers, including Grez, Chris O'Donnell, Frank Romano, Justin Weatherholtz and Matt Beckerich, et al.

Oh, yeah... Steve Guttenberg also makes an appearance.  For serious.  Steve.  Friggen.  Guttenberg.

Stay tuned for parts 2 & 3 and you can read my accounts of getting tattooed by Rube here and here.
10:38 AM
kingsavenuenycflat.jpg[Logo by Ryan Begley]

As a loyal client of Mike Rubendall and an admirer of the superlative tattooing that occurs at his Massapequa, NY shop, Kings Avenue Tattoo, news like this comes as a blessing for all of us City-Rats: Kings Avenue will be opening a location in downtown Manhattan.

With his associate, Grez, Rubendall has decided to open a shop in New York City, "for the simple fact of wanting to be a part of the energy, life, and creativity that Manhattan possesses. We have always been tremendously motivated and inspired by the people and art in NYC, and felt it was time for Kings Ave to grow."

Personally, I look forward to seeing their new space (their Long Island location is a beautiful, relaxed and sanitary sight to behold), not to mention a much shorter train ride home as I'm wrapped in plastic and reeking of green soap.

Tattoo collectors and enthusiasts can look forward to work from Rubendall and Grez in addition to the very talented Matt Beckerich, Justin Weatherholtz, Brian Paul, Shaun Nel and Sarah Schor (see the Kings Ave Artists Page for their portfolios).  Kings Ave NYC will also host gifted guest-artists, having previously opened their autoclave doors to the likes of Chris Nunez, Chris O'Donnell, Kat Von D, Henning Jorgenson, Juan Puente and Tim Hendricks.

Kings Ave NYC, located at 188 Bowery (at Spring St) will open this Friday, April 1st.  The shop will be open from 12pm-9pm on Monday through Saturday and 12pm until 6pm on Sunday.

For more information please visit or friend them on facebook.

rube.jpg[Backpiece by Mike Rubendall]

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