Results tagged “NYC Tattoo Convention”

08:34 AM
Austin tattoo expo.jpgLizardman Austin.jpgAustin tattoo expo2.jpgPhotos above from the Star of Texas Tattoo Art Revival in Austin by Brian Grosz.

I used to joke that, every ten seconds, a tattoo convention takes place around the world; these days it seems more like a reality. And that's good and bad. The good: access to artists and tattoo-related events in areas that normally would not have had that opportunity in the past. [For example, the super-fun Pagoda City City Tattoo Fest in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania.] The bad: top artists spread thin over different events, leaving convention organizers to fill booths with less-than-stellar tattooers. Plus, to me, it just feels less like a family freak show.

That said, I always enjoy seeing what goes down at the different shows, and over the past couple weeks, there were some big ones: the
DC Tattoo Expo, Star of Texas Tattoo Art Revival, and Tattoo Week Rio.

The most press went to
DC Tattoo Expo, which is in its sixth year.'s coverage was the most interesting, adding some discussion to their slideshow (although I wish there were more photos of tattoos than of the many pin-up shots). There first big point was that the DC show is actually in Virginia because, as organizer Greg Piper explained, the capital has become "increasingly inhospitable to the tattoo industry." He says that this largely stems from the D.C. Department of Health's proposed Tattoo, Body Art, and Body-Piercing Facility Regulations, which puts forth some irrational rules (but are still under review). Here's more:

Issued last October, the proposal for additional regulation currently under consideration is the third version drafted by the DOH since 2013. Previous iterations faced vehement criticism and underwent revisions that eliminated provisions such as a mandatory 24-hour waiting period in advance of getting a tattoo.

Among the latest proposal's controversial elements is a stipulation that all equipment and materials used in tattoo shops must be purchased from suppliers registered with the city's health department. An online petition opposing the rule notes that there is currently no method of registering with DOH, and argues that passing the regulation would make it difficult, if not impossible, for shops to legally furnish themselves and do business within the District. [...]

"This is why I do the show in Virginia, and not in D.C. proper," Piper said. "I can't invest in future shows and then worry when 2017, 2018 comes around, are we going to be able to have those shows? So, it keeps us out of the city. We'd like to have a proper D.C. show, but if the city doesn't want us, it's not a battle we're fighting. Arlington's happy to have our money."

DCist also interviewed Paul Roe of British Ink, who stated his belief that the current proposals were unfeasible logistically and could lead to unfair business practices, among other concerns; however, the article noted that Paul was confident that the proposals will ultimately be further revised. Read more here.

Also covering the DC expo, has an extensive slideshow from the convention floor.

Mashable had fun at the expo, interviewing attendees for "Tattoo artists and enthusiasts talk about tattoo triumphs and regrets," which featured a number of our friends. In the article, Keith Lane shoots specific tattoo pieces and has people offer a story behind the work. For one, Gene Coffey (show below), who is a fantastic tattooer and wears some great work himself, talked about his first tattoo: "It was a skull; a small little one-inch skull on my arm. I got it when I was twenty-four. I drew it myself and thought it was the coolest thing's really not the coolest thing. It's not very cool at all, actually." See more here.

Gene Coffey tattoo.png This blog's own Brian Grosz sent us the Mashable link and also a few pics from the Star of Texas Tattoo Art Revival, shown at the top of this post. The 14th annual show, which took place this past weekend, was packed with artists, including some internationally renowned greats. The Lizardman performed all three days, among other entertainment, and there was some stiff competition during the tattoo contests. Brian took home a trophy for his work by Mike Rubendall. You can see Brian without his pants, alongside an equally pantsless Madd Huero, here.

You can also check out the action via Instagram hashtag #staroftexastattooartrevival.

Outside of the US, Tattoo Week Rio, billed as Latin America's biggest piercing and tattoo convention, garnered lots of press, mostly in Portuguese and Spanish. Here's a video from the show (embedded below).  You can see more on Tattoo Week's YouTube channel. Sputnik Mundo also covered the event as did Venezolana de Television.

So, while these weren't the only recent events, they offer an overview into tattoo gatherings today, which are getting bigger and bolder in their offerings. Again, good and bad. But at least there are pretty pictures.

08:38 AM
Dina Litovsky tattoo portrait 1.pngDina Litovsky tattoo portrait3.pngDina Litovsky tattoo portrait 2.pngThis morning, I came across an interesting profile in Wired, which looks at portrait photography of Dina Litovsky, specifically, the 40 people she captured getting tattooed at the NYC Tattoo Convention this past June and the Empire State Tattoo Expo (also in Manhattan) last month. Litovsky's focus was not documenting the shows or the tattoos, but the collectors' experience, and their expression of that experience, when getting work done. Wired explains: 

Surrounded by the sound of buzzing guns, Litovsky wanders around until someone catches her eye. She chooses subjects based on their facial expressions and body language, and any interesting props they use to distract themselves from what is occasionally a painful procedure. Some people thumb through their smartphone. Others chew gum or suck on lollipops to stave off nausea. "Many subjects go into almost a trance state, a mental zone where the pain sensation transforms into an emotionally euphoric state," she says.

As noted in the article, Litovsky shoots with a flash, "which captures her subjects and nothing more," making them look like studio shots. I'm just wondering how the artists felt about flash going off while they're trying to work. Well, maybe she wasn't in their faces.

Another interesting mention in the article is Litovsky's earlier work, Ink Girls, which are portraits of tattooed women, and the judgments viewers had of the women in her photos. She told Wired: "I saw how easy it was to stereotype certain types of tattoos and attribute character traits and social standing to the people that have them. [...] In a way, a traditional portrait of an individual with tattoos can be a dead end. We understand less, not more about the person."

Read more about her work, and see additional photos in Wired and on Litovsky's website.

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07:32 AM
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Jason's skull tattoo by Megan Jean Morris.

Gerhard Weisbeck.jpgBackpiece by Gerhard Wiesbeck.

Matt Ellis tattoo.jpgWork 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 sideshow.jpgAdam Realman offering some Coney Island sideshow fun.

NYC Tattoo Convention2.jpg Bill & Junii Salmon's buzzing booth.

tattoo books.jpgMe selling my books & being ridiculous.
02:14 PM
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The 18th Annual NYC Tattoo Convention will kick off this Friday, June 12th through June 14th, at its brand new venue, the Metropolitan Pavilion on West 18th street (off 6th Ave) in Manhattan. While the location is different this year -- after the heartbreaking demolition of its old home, the Roseland Ballroom -- what will stay the same is the finely curated line-up of artists from around the world, top vendors, and entertainment. It's gonna be a party.

This convention was the first for NYC and was held just after the city-wide ban on tattooing was lifted in 1997. Personally, this year marks my 15th attendance. Over these years, I've gotten tattooed at the show; I gotten an awesome ex-husband; I've gotten new looks [Thanks, Father Panik!]; I've gotten a little buzzed; I've gotten paparazzied; and most important, I've gotten to meet and keep some amazing friends.

I'll be there Saturday and Sunday signing and selling my tattoo book monsters, along with one of my favorite authors and historians, Michael McCabe.

You can buy tickets at the door or in advance online here. Also check the NYC Tattoo Convention on Facebook and Instagram.

Check my posts from last year's show: Post 1 & Post 2, and also my photos on Flickr. I'll be posting live this weekend on my
Instagram & Twitter accounts as well.

Hope to see you there!

08:19 AM
clayton patterson.jpgThe discussion of NYC's gentrification is nothing new, but it still stings every time I learn of another institution of art, music & grit close its door to make way for mega-store or "luxury" anything. One living institution, who has had a profound effect on NYC's tattoo scene, is documentarian, fine artist and tattoo artist Clayton Patterson. And, as the NY Times reported this weekend, Clayton will be shutting his Outlaw Art Museum and leaving NY's Lower East Side with his wife Elsa Rensaa, explaining, "There's nothing left for me here."

In a time where our own tattoo community feels gentrified -- complete with "celebrity" tattooers working in glass cages -- it's understandable why Clayton and Elsa are leaving town and heading for Bad Ischl, in Austria, where, for almost 15 years, he has collaborated with the Wildstyle Tattoo Convention

Wildstyle is one of the many projects Clayton has worked on for tattoo artists and collectors. In 1986, Clayton and Ari Roussimoff started the Tattoo Society of New York (TSNY), with the assistance of Elsa, and the group was instrumental in working to overturn the NYC tattoo ban in 1997. When asked by Vice, what about the role of TSNY, he explained:

It was difficult to learn to tattoo in the city, but the TSNY changed much of that. Those interested in art and tattooing gathered at the Society meetings. The whole 1990s New York City new wave came out of the TSNY. The magazines came to the Society meetings. It is through the Society that Debby Ullman, who had worked at Outlaw Biker and Tattoo Review, moved over to Pat Rusians of Pink Coyote Designs, who was looking for an editor to start a new magazine. I introduced her to Jonathan Shaw, and they started, International Tattoo Magazine. At that time there were not that many photographers on the tattoo scene. Early on, there was Charles Gatewood. Then Steve Bonge started taking photos in the mid 70s. He was instrumental in getting photos of tattoos into Biker magazine. He became the lead photographer for International Tattoo.

When, in 1998, Steve Bonge and his partners, Lawrence Garcia and Wes Wood (Wes was a partner for the first year) created the New York City International Tattoo Convention, Clayton came on as an organizer and manager of the show, making it one of the iconic tattoo events worldwide.

Beyond the tattoo community, Clayton is renowned for documenting the culture of the Lower East Side since the late seventies, particularly the Tompkins Square Park Police Riot. One of Clayton's most well known work is his Captured film

The NY Times offers more on his background documenting this scene:

Almost from the moment he arrived from Calgary, Alberta, in 1979, Mr. Patterson's world has been the downtown demimonde of squatters, anarchists, graffiti taggers, tattoo artists, junkie poets, leathered rock 'n' rollers and Santeria priests. When he and his companion, Elsa Rensaa -- she, too, is an artist -- landed in New York, they took an apartment on the Bowery where their $450 monthly rent was paid by their jobs producing commercial art prints, and where one of their neighbors was the not-yet-famous painter Keith Haring.

Four years later, the couple bought the building where they live today -- once a dressmaker's shop, at 161 Essex Street -- at a time when Art in America magazine described the neighborhood as a "blend of poverty, punk rock, drugs, arson, Hell's Angels, winos, prostitutes and dilapidated housing." This was the culture that Mr. Patterson seized as his subject, wandering the area on endless expeditions with his camera and gradually acquiring an archive of ephemera that grew to include graffiti stickers, concert posters, images of tattoos, thousands of hours of audiotape and videotape and empty heroin bags he had picked up off the streets.
Clayton's collection of photos and several ink-on-paper prints, as well as Elsa's paintings, will be on view in a pop-up gallery in NYC's Meatpacking district (58-60 9th Avenue, off West 15th Street), opening next week, April 15th. The show entitled, "$16 Burger" (Clayton's taunt of the price of this city's food), will be a fitting send-off for such a force in the tattoo and art world.
02:21 PM
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David Sena's tattoo clients, above, including close-up.

Rods Jimenez tattoo.jpgRods Jimenez tattoo above.

We had an amazing time celebrating the 17th Annual NYC Tattoo Convention, in its final days at Roseland Ballroom, this past weekend. In addition to the pics I post on Friday, I posted some more images from the weekend, which you can find on our Flickr set and Instagram. [Many thanks to Pamela Shaw for taking a number of photos with her fancy camera as opposed to my iPhone shots.]

In the news, the Village Voice covered the show, particularly those with facial tattoos, in an extensive slideshow.

Looking forward to the next incarnation of my home town's convention!

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09:48 AM
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Yesterday, the 17th Annual NYC Tattoo Convention kicked off at the iconic Roseland Ballroom, and there were some amazing works of art walking around the show and being created by the stellar line-up of tattooers in attendance. This is the last time the convention will be held at Roseland before it sadly gets demolished, although the show will be back in new location. Because this convention has held so many great memories in this venue, I'm just taking it all in while I can.

I'll continue to be signing my books today through tomorrow, and also Tweeting and taking pics, which I'll post to Instagram and Flickr.  Meanwhile, I'll leave you here with some photos from yesterday, including Kevin Wilson of Sacred Tattoo modelling his hand tattoo by Peter Walrus (shown above). It was also cool to watch Brent McCown create Pacific Polynesian inspired work by hand, including this piece on Charles Boday's forearm (shown below).

More coming up!

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08:15 AM
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As we first posted back in October, the original the NYC Tattoo Convention will be taking place March 7-9, 2014 at the the historic Roseland Ballroom -- before this legendary venue closes in April (hence, why the show won't be taking place as it usually does in May).

And as always, we're stoked for the show, particularly for its finely curated line-up of tattooers from around the world, including long-time legends, and also traditional hand-tattooing booths. There are some great sideshow performances, and tattoo competitions that really present some stellar work. Plus, the kickass vendors offer badass merch. [Literally, "badass."]

I have been attending the NYC Convention for 13 years, and it has consistently been one of the most electric shows I attend. I'll be doing a book signing there this year for my latest monster, "Black Tattoo Art II." Just follow the loud maniacal laugh when you get to the convention and you'll find me.

To get a glimpse into the show, check this video (below) from our friends at Heartbeat Ink, who captured the scene last year.

It'll be a fun time. I hope to you y'all there!

07:20 AM
NYC Tattoo Convention freak.jpgOne of the most acclaimed tattoo gatherings  -- the NYC Tattoo Convention -- has brought beautiful freaks worldwide to New York in spring time, as it has been held each May for 16 years. However, with the sad news that the convention's venue, the historic Roseland Ballroom, will be shutting down in April 2014, I worried about the fate of my hometown show.

Thankfully, we'll still be able to party in this iconic spot, if not for one last time, as the convention dates for 2014 are MARCH 7TH, 8TH, AND 9TH, 2014 [updated]. While the news has been spread around social media, I've still been hearing people talk about making travel plans for May or even setting up appointments at that time, so I wanted to help get the word out there that the show will go on, but in March.

We'll be there and hope to see you too!  Check my bad camera phone pics from past shows on Flickr.
07:40 AM
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When I first began to get more heavily tattooed a little over ten years ago, the one great heartbreak I had as a result was the reaction to the way I looked when I would go back to Greece once a year to see my family.  Despite so much of my designs being influenced by ancient Greek motifs, it was still quite taboo for a woman to be covered in ink, no matter what the artwork. I even wrote in 2009 here about outright hostility in Athens toward me in a number of tourist shops in which I was ready to plunk down a lot of coin for some crap; one shop owner directly informed me that I was a disgrace when I spoke to her in Greek. I didn't get a tourist pass on the tattoos.

A lot has changed in a short time.

The country's renowned beaches have become more beautiful with the greater number of tattooed bodies, and the artwork that is being created from Greek tattooists has become renowned as well. In my 2009 post, I noted just a few of my favorite studios here, but there are so much more.

In keeping up with tattooing in Greece, I check HEARTBEATINK:  an online tattoo magazine in English and Greek with excellent photography and videos; interesting interviews with tattooists, musicians, and collectors; and equal objectification of tattooed men and women (eye candy for all!).

I met the magazine's fabulous editor, Ino Mei, at the NYC Tattoo Convention, and she explained that the goals of the magazine are to showcase the explosive artistry that is coming out of Greece, but also bring to the country news and features of tattoo culture around the world.

For example, she offers some great coverage of the Athens Tattoo Convention and the NYC Tattoo Convention, including the images shown below.  For the latest issue, Ino also interviewed Paul Booth, rockers Red Fang, and the Medusa Tattoo crew, among others.

There's a lot of tattoo goodness in HEARTBEAT INK, so check it for yourself. You can also find the mag on Facebook and Instagram.

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08:35 AM
mad huero.jpgThe NYC Tattoo Convention took place this weekend and, as usual, I took some bad pics and posted them to the N+S Flickr page. Consider it more reportage than fine art photography.

You can also find convention pics from other convention goers on Flickr, on the convention's Facebook page, and via #nyctattooconvention on Instagram.

It was wonderful seeing old friends and meeting many of you. Til next year!
08:34 AM
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We're gearing up for the NYC Tattoo Convention, May 17-19, at the Roseland Ballroom in the heart of Times Square. It remains one of our favorite shows because of the finely curated roster of international artists, the fantastic stage show performers, and because we get to see our traveling freakshow of friends who come into NYC specifically to be a part of this convention.  

This will be my 13th year attending the show, and the first time I won't be working it for a long time, so I can run around, watch the amazing art work being created, shop(!), and yup, hang at the bar. You'll see us floating around Saturday and Sunday. I'll have N+S stickers, pins, and bear hugs.

Check my bad photos from past shows on Flickr, including the ones below. I'll also be Tweeting the event and posting photos on Pinterest and Instagram.

You can also follow news on the convention on their Facebook page.
Japanese Demon Tattoo.jpgTattoo by David Sena. 

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12:53 PM
nyc tattoo convention.jpgIt was a wild, wonderful weekend at the NYC Tattoo Convention, and we are still recovering. Instead of trying to formulate sentences, I'll let our photos from the show speak those thousand words.

See them all on our Flickr Set.

More convention coverage on The NY Daily News, DNAInfo, and Times Union. Oh, and also hit the The Village Voice for shots by Nate "Igor" Smith of the "Ladies Ladies Art Show."

David_Sena_Tattoo_low.jpgTattoo by David Sena.

pierced.jpgThis photo cost $5. Worth every penny!

Heather_Sinn_tattoo_low.jpgHeather Sinn tattoo on TattoosDay's Bill Cohen

tattoo by dan dimattia.jpgTattoo by Daniel DiMattia.

damien echols tattoo.jpgDamien Echols next to the tattoo he did on Sacred Gallery's Kevin Wilson. More info on how to get a tattoo from Damien coming soon.

02:00 PM
Photos by Clayton Patterson

In the Villager, artist, activist and documentarian Clayton Patterson offers some history on the NYC Tattoo Convention, which runs this Friday through Sunday at the Roseland Ballroom. He also notes in the article what you can expect from this weekend's show, including traditional tatau by Brent McCown. There will also be other artists doing hand tattooing in addition to buzzing machine work from stellar artists from around the world.

I'll be there Saturday and Sunday. Hope to see y'all there!
02:52 PM
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One of my most favorite tattoo conventions is soon upon us, and I'm giving y'all a heads up so you'll join us for another awesome show:  Mark your calendars for the NYC Tattoo Convention, May 18-20, at the historic Roseland Ballroom in the heart of Times Square. Can't get any better than that.

One of my favorite things about the show -- in addition to an impeccably curated list of international artists -- is the feeling you get that there is still indeed a tattoo community. Lots of people trading tattoo stories, picture posing with friends and strangers, and hell, you just may meet your future ex-husband or wife there! Or at least a colorful one-night stand.

Also part of the fun will be performers, tattoo contests, and an array of merch and book sellers ... like me! Look for my table Saturday and Sunday by the stage, where I'll be selling discounted copies of my latest tomes and giving away free N+S buttons and stickers.

And if you don't see me there, I'll probably be by the bar because, ya know ...

Here are some pics below from last year's show. Hope to see you there!

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04:18 PM
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A belly dancing sword swallower. A professor of body modification. A biker bouncer getting his nursing degree. And a balloon clown dressed as a rabbit named ToTo. They are just some of the beautiful tattooed attendees and performers at the NYC Tattoo Convention who -- along with top tattooists -- made this fourteenth year of the show such a success.

[For more photos of the show, see Brian's Flickr Set.]

It's hard not to be biased, however. It's my hometown convention, one that I have attended for over a decade. So much has changed over this time in tattooing, but the organizers keep to a solid formula that works:  well respected and experienced artists in a variety of genres, from tebori to blackwork; off-beat entertainment; quality vendors within the tattoo community; and good bartenders. That formula attracts collectors from around the world who come specifically for the convention.

From Stockholm to Staten Island, they arrive at the historic Roseland Ballroom on Harleys, in wheelchairs, on top of stilts, and in strollers. In various states of undress, they are on view before hordes of tattoo paparazzi. When not under the needle or vying for the next appointment, they push towards the stage to see acts like Natasha Veruschka, a six-time Guinness World Record holder, swallow 22-inch swords while shimmying.

sword swallowing.jpgAnd whether preening or gawking, attendees are interacting. Strangers become good friends, even if just for a few hours, and love connections are often made. For such a hard city, New York's convention is one of the world's friendliest tattoo shows.

Y'all proved that to me. I had put out on Facebook and Twitter that rewards would be bestowed upon those who come up to my Black & Grey book signing table and say, "Marisa, you are so much *taller* in person than I imagined." Mere Needles & Sins stickers and buttons cannot convey my ego's gratitude, dear readers (especially after so many years of hearing the opposite). You rock.

It especially rocked having a table next to Marvin and Doug Moskowitz who were signing copies of The Last of the Bowery Scab Merchants, a beautifully packaged, two audio CD set that holds the amazing stories of their father, Walter Moskowitz. At their table was also the legendary tattooist, anthropologist and author Mike McCabe, whose tattoo books line my shelves. It was an honor to be in such company.

During the tattoo competition (which seems to grow longer each year with full body work), I left our table by the stage to shmooze, shop [thank you, Father Panik!], and ensure my next tattoo appointment with Dan of Calypso Tattoo, who is shown below briefly trading personas with Brian.

brian and dan.jpg You'd think in this time I'd manage a decent photo or even a Tweet, but I was too busy playing with ToTo and his balloon animals to come through. I'm sorry. Thankfully, Brian picked up my slack for Needles & Sins, and two of my favorite fellow tattoo bloggers also have convention coverage:  Check out Bill's photos and review on Tattoosday, and be on the look out for updates from Nathan of

I haven't found much on the show from mainstream media. NY1's video is the only one worth a quick look. I also did a Flickr search and found great shots by Veronica Ettman. Hit me up if you have video and photos you'd like to share.

I'll sign off today by sending much love to the new and old friends made at this convention. You make these events so much fun.

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04:52 PM
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French born, Los Angeles based tattooist, painter and sculptor BUGS will be exhibiting a new body of work entitled Purity in Motion at Sacred Gallery in SoHo. The opening reception is 7-11PM next Thursday, May 12th -- the night before the NYC Tattoo Convention, where Bugs will also be tattooing. The show will run through May 29th.

I talked with Bugs about his upcoming exhibit in our Q&A for Inked Magazine and learned that he had just returned to sculpting, a medium he was exited to get back into. When I further asked him about it, he replied:

I'm sketching new cubic women, starting small. I'm going to make them in bronze. Near my house is a foundry that deals with a lot of artists. I think it will be interesting to see my work in 3D, to see my work freely with all the angles of my design. I don't know if it will be popular or will sell but I don't care. I do it for me.
Bugs will learn soon enough how the sculpture is received with this first unveiling of the work. The sculpture will be on view along with paintings that "reflect a mix of different techniques showing images of nudes." He adds, "Also included will be other subjects close to my heart from my background in France."

If you can't make it to the show, you can appreciate his distinct cubist and modern abstract style (like the work below) in his tattoo portfolio online. Bugs works at the Tattoo Lounge in LA, Thurs-Sat, and Victory Electric Tattoo Co., in Studio City, CA on Wednesdays.

TONIGHT AT SACRED:  There will be a special one-night only Benefit for Japan in which all artwork will be priced at $200 or less, and all proceeds go to the Red Cross. Prints and original drawings from a stellar line-up of artists will be available. More info here.

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01:17 PM
I've been a long-time fan of Nathan Black's, which focuses on the finest of career killers and the stories behind them.

Nathan will be coming in from Austin to hang with us at the NYC Tattoo Convention, May 13-15, and take photos of special hand tattoos for an upcoming book. Follow him on Twitter for updates.

He's also got a fun app that let's you make your own faux knux. Here's mine.
Get your own knuckles at the knuckle tattoo gun.
02:00 PM
Still in recovery from the NYC Tattoo Convention, which took over the historic Roseland Ballroom this weekend and the better part of my liver. [I've gotten to know the bartenders well over the past ten years.] 

Brian and I managed to shoot a few photos, which you can check here on Flickr. They are the kind of photos you've come to expect from me--that is, pretty sucky--but you'll get an idea of what went down.

Here are my personal highlights of the show, in no particular order:

* I LOVED meeting Batso, formerly of Rescue Ink, shown above with his wife. [Yes, that's a tattoo of him on her back.] He told me that he, and a couple of other members, left the group because it became less about saving the animals and more about money with their reality show. He is just as passionate about animals as shown on TV, warm and very kind, but I would never want to get on his bad side. [He said that when he finds men who have tortured animals, he wants (has?) to torture them so they can know what it feels like). He continues to do animal rescue, work on his cars, and now he makes special soap that he says will keep us all looking as young as he does at 77 years old. Check his personal website here (although it doesn't seem to have been updated recently).

richie magicsmall.jpg* Another great character I met was Richie Magic (best to turn your sound off if clicking). Richie is the world record holder for extinguishing 200 lit cigarettes in his mouth in 6 minutes and 37 seconds. Here he is on the right with his tribute tattoo, to himself. Richie is also a master magician, sideshow performer, and part of the Ripley's Believe it or Not family (often working with his wife of 25 years, Barbara; check them on The Marriage Ref show). Richie and Barbara were a lot of fun, and I may just follow his advice to one day become a target girl for knife throwers impalement arts practitioners.

* The tattooists all seemed to be working on interesting pieces.

* There were many of the under-ten set in attendance--most with temporary tattoos from a special kiddie booth.

* There were also less people getting drunk, although the ones who did, clearly made up for the rest. We salute you drunken girl with the super-sized fake breasts who kept yelling, "I can pay you in tits!" when given her bar tab.

* And of course, I loved meeting all of y'all who came over to the Father Panik booth, where I was held captive, and proved my theory that N+S readers are the smartest, hottest, beautifully tattooed, and most forgiving people on this planet. I kiss you.
12:53 PM

In an hour, I'll be heading to the NYC Tattoo Convention, one of my favorite shows--with its diversity of top tattoo artists and crowd of beautiful freaks--all in the historic Roseland Ballroom in Times Square. For the past ten years, I could easily be found at the main-floor bar, but this weekend, I'll be spending most of my time at the Father Panik booth, off to the side of the stage, selling my Black Tattoo Art tome alongside their kickass clothing and jewelry.

To get a preview of the show, check the Cool Hunting Video above from a few years back, which has great shots from the convention floor as well as stellar sound bits from Lucky Diamond Rich, the world's most tattooed person. I also interviewed legendary tattoo artist and activist Spider Webb who offers his infamous Webb-isms like,  "Once you drop the whole idea that you care about something, then you're really free."  I feel this way about pants.

Also check Daredevil's booth-eye view of the convention from last year.

If I wasn't staying in NYC, I'd be in the Motherland for the Fourth Annual Athens Tattoo Convention in Greece. The economy has tanked but tattooing is booming and it's very exciting to see all this wild new art in a country that is just experiencing its tattoo renaissance. When I'm there this summer, I'll add more to my Tattoos in Greece posts--found here and here.

Next weekend, we'll be heading to the Hell City Tattoo Fest in Killumbus, Ohio. Once again, Durb and the HC crew gather the very best tattoo artists from around the world, offer seminars, art shows, music performances and tons of tattoo goodness. It has really become one of the best shows in the country. Looking forward to it.

Other upcoming conventions we love:

Art shows opening this weekend...

Tomorrow, at the Last Rites Gallery in NYC, the second Flesh to Canvas group show featuring the fine art of renowned tattooists opens at 7PM. Artists include Paul Acker, Alex Adams, Guy Aitchison, Nick Baxter, Aaron Bell, Paul Booth, Joe Capobianco, Joshua Carlton, Mike DeVries, Chris Dingwell, Little Dragon, Alex Garcia, Goethe, Gunnar, Anil Gupta, Ryan Hadley, Robert Hernandez, Phil Holt, Nikko Hurtado, Brian Murphy, Roman, Juan Salgado, Stefano, Toxyc, Kurt Wiscombe and Phil Young.  

tattoos by Bill Canales.jpg
Also opening tomorrow is Masterworks of Body Art. The exhibit at the Oceanside Museum of Art in North San Diego, CA will feature a live tattoo runway show where 45 collectors will model the work of about ten tattooists while Master of Ceremonies Jade Winn will discuss the symbolism and history behind the tattoo imagery. Artists featured include Fip Buchanan of Avalon Tattoo, Rob Benavides of Flying Panther Tattoo, Roy "Loy-Loy" Leyva of Classic Traditions Art Company, Opie Ortiz of World Famous Tattooing in Long Beach, Louis Perez II of Will Rise Tattoo in Hollywood, and Bill Canales of Full Circle Tattoo. Bill's tattoo work shown above--which we first posted here in February--will be part of the exhibit.

More events listing coming up next week.
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