Jason's skull tattoo by Megan Jean Morris.
Backpiece by Gerhard Wiesbeck.
Work in progress by Matt Ellis.
I think I just about recovered from this past weekend's 18th Annual NYC Tattoo Convention. With friends descending on my hometown to work or just enjoy the show, it was another great party -- with some new twists.
While I'm still mourning the demolition of the Roseland Ballroom (the show's former home), the convention's new sleeker spot at the Metropolitan Pavilion offered greater space on the ground floor for more artists and vendors, as well as a second floor for bands and burlesque.
Organizers Bonge & Butch set up the book signing table for me and author/historian/tattooer Michael McCabe in a prime location, right in front of the main floor stage, perfect for surveying the action. People watching is what makes this convention, and the crowd was as diverse of NYC itself: the 5 foot tall Dominatrix-in-training wearing head-to-toe latex; the Rockabilly couple pushing their mini-Greaser in a stroller; the tattoo reality TV reality star (and reality star hopefuls); the cool grandma; the guy straight from the set of Mad Max wearing his pet lizard; the preppy crew who missed their ride to The Hamptons ... and the tattooed lawyer shilling books and scaring people with her maniacal laugh.
Oh, and all the photographers -- professional and otherwise -- trying to find that perfect shot to encapsulate the event. As I am unable to take any successful picture, I just threw my iPhone camera lens around and took these pics here. You can find more of my pics on Instagram and in this Flickr Album.
PIX11 also did a TV piece on the show.
It was wonderful to see legends like Jack Rudy, Paul Booth and Bill & Junii Salmon continuing to inspire generations of tattooers. I also had the opportunity to flip through portfolios of artists I hadn't known before but became an instant fan upon seeing their work.
The sideshow acts drew crowds. In addition to sword swallowing, phone book shredding, and razor blade eating, performer Adam Realman also squirted whiskey -- through his nose -- down the gullets of convention goers who stood by the stage with their mouths open. Granted, drinks at the bar weren't cheap, but I this was not a suitable alternative. Nevertheless, if was fun to watch.
What I thought was particularly interesting was Sacred Tattoo's booth area where a doctor demonstrated corneal tattooing to repair cosmetic eye damage. There was also a laser removal section to help lighten up old regrets and make tattoo coverups easier.
And, of course, I spent a lot of money shopping at the vendor booths, which included everything from brass knuckles rosary necklaces to Japanese sex figurines.
Most important, I got to hug a lot of y'all in person. Till the next show!
Adam Realman offering some Coney Island sideshow fun.
Bill & Junii Salmon's buzzing booth.
Me selling my books & being ridiculous.
Celebrity portraits are common tattoo odes that pay tribute (whether seriously or ironically) to someone whom the wearer may not have met, but feels a connection to. What if the person being memorialized on one's body is not on the A-List, but instead, has been marginalized and often ignored by society? Tattooist Matt C. Ellis uses his particular skills in tattoo realism and offers clients a chance to make a connection with those who are forgotten, shedding light on the issues of poverty and homeless.