View from the Keystone Lodge, and Johnny of 13 Roses Tattoo, Atlanta.
My trip to the Paradise Tattoo Gathering began even before my bags were packed. The party kicked off in beautiful Keystone, Colorado last Thursday, and I followed along in real time on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Most posted their images with #paradisetattoogathering so it was easy to follow. Check them here.
The photos highlighted the tattoos being created on the convention floor but also what was going on behind the doors of the many seminars -- like 3D works from Chet Zar's sculpture workshop, and portraits in progress from those lucky enough to get into Shawn Barber's sold-out painting class. And naturally there were VIP party pix. Horns-high group photos in various Instagram filters.
I flew out of NYC Friday afternoon. With enough frequent flyer miles, I scored a roomy business class seat. Once settled in for the flight, the grey-haired grandfather sitting next to me smiled and said, "I love your sleeves." Turns out his kids have sleeves of their own. We spent a good portion of our flight making fun of the freaks: the tattoo-free suits getting drunk off the free booze soon after take-off. But I guess I was the freak to some. Heavy tattoo work is not as common outside of coach, and I found myself having to answer (again) the question: What band are you in? Because, ya know, hot towelettes are only for tattooed hands with record deals.
But within hours, I was amongst our people at the Keystone Lodge, with tattoo's rock stars like Bob Tyrrell, Nick Baxter, Durb Morrison, Nikko, Noon, Jeff Gogue, Damon Conklin ... the list goes on. Check the full artist line-up.
Jeremiah Barba tattoo on Mr. Scary.
Throat tattoo by Tim Pangburn on the wonderful tattoo journalist Mary D'Aloisio.
The big buzz Friday afternoon was Adrian Lee's "Bloodwork: Bodies" exhibit. It is a stunning collection of backpieces and bodysuits created by 53 tattooers around the world and documented in meticulous detail. Adrian gave a talk about the work with a slideshow presentation and also signed copies of his must-have book.
The evening closed with a Drink and Draw party, compliments of Graceland Tattoo. Considering how Keystone's high elevation [9,280 feet] was messing with us, I gave props to those who could manage more than a couple of drinks. Lack of oxygen makes for lower bar tabs. I did find myself surrounded by three tattooists taking full advantage of altitude inebriation, and they suckered me in to judging a napkin art contest. There were a lot of animated penis drawings -- all artfully done of course.
Ashley's neck and backpiece by James Kern. Fantastic cover-up work.
Saturday was another full day of tattooing and seminars. One seminar that I found particularly interesting was "The not so secret secrets of the tattoo world" by Kris Richter of Beyond the Ink. The seminar (free to all with admission passes) focused on how to choose the right work and artist, and while beneficial to even long-time collectors, it was really a great primer for those new to the art and especially those trying to navigate the whole convention scene. One of the most popular seminars that day was James Kern's Advanced Cover-Ups For Tattooists. Artists completely packed the room to learn from and get critiqued by the cover-up guru himself. My Copyright, Trademark, and Licensing Seminar with John Kastelic followed James's class, and while far from packed, I had a blast talking tattoo law with a fabulous group of artists. [I was also honored to be included on the tattoo business panel Sunday night.]
Sunday rounded out with the completion of some large-scale tattoo works going on that weekend -- with so many fantastic artists from around the world, attendees took full advantage of the opportunity. But whether local or international, all tattoo artists working there had a reputation for excellence. This curating of tattoo talent is a key component of Gabe Ripley's events. You can't get a bad tattoo at Paradise.
Another component is community -- that friendly, laid-back vibe throughout the show where you feel you are a part of something, kinda like the Island of Misfit Toys except on a mountain and the dolls all look like Tim Burton creations.
We all closed down the lounge of the Keystone Lodge that Sunday night/Monday morning. It was filled with hugs and hook-ups, booming laughs (including my own notorious cackle), and wholehearted promises to connect before the next show. It was a tattoo Shangri-la. Paradise, even.
Gabe's next event is the tattooer-only Paradise Artist Retreat in New Mexico, March 25-28.
Tara's sleeve by Vince Villalvazo.
Thigh tattoo by Gene Coffey.
Gene Coffey himself.
While we all await the return of our editrix-in-chief - who has been at the Paradise Tattoo Gathering in Colorado, slinging books and lecturing on copyright - I thought I'd take the time to point you all once again to my blog documenting the progress of my backpiece by Mike Rubendall of Kings Ave Tattoo.
We just wrapped up sitting number 16 a few weeks ago (putting the total count at 51.5 hours of tattooing) and if you haven't had the chance yet to peruse the process, get clickin!
(WARNING: there are pictures of my booty up there, so you might want to consider the site NSFW)
John Anderton tattoo.
Last week, I mentioned that I'll be at the Paradise Tattoo Gathering -- one of my favorite tattoo events, not just for the stellar artist line-up, seminars and workshops, but because it's one of the few left where you actually feel there is a real tattoo "community." And it's a serious fun.
Because of The Gathering, many international artists will be stateside and doing guest spots at shops across the US. Our friends at Off The Map Tattoo in Grants Pass, Oregon and Easthampton, MA will be hosting many of these artists next month. Check out this insane line-up:
At the Oregon studio, renowned resident tattoo artist Jeff Gogue will host David Corden (9/4/12 - 9/8/12), Remis Tattoo (9/18/12 - 9/22/12), and John Anderton (9/18/12 - 9/22/12).
On the East Coast, the Massachusetts Off the Map crew welcomes Thomas-kYnst (9/1/12 - 9/3/12), Aurora Lancaster (9/5/12 - 9/11/12), and Fabian Danger De Gaillande (9/18/12 - 9/23/12).
I'm posting a tattoo by each of these artists here and highly recommend you check out all their work. Contact Off The Map for more info.
David Corden tattoo.
Aurora Lancaster tattoo.
Fabian Danger De Gaillande tattoo.
If you're a regular reader of this site, you're probably ready to run away. How much more can this woman talk about tattoo copyright, right?! It's almost a decade of this discourse, from my first article in 2003 on BME -- which was oddly quoted again today in Bloomberg's BNA blog -- to posts on this blog here and here and here ...
But I got so much more to say, and I plan to do it in a hands-on practical way that will help artists and collectors truly understand how copyright and trademark works, how to protect your rights, AND how to profit from your artwork through licensing. And I'll be doing it with fellow tattooed attorney John Kastelic at the wonderful Paradise Tattoo Gathering next month in Keystone, Colorado, September 13-16.
We'll be addressing these questions:
Who owns your tattoo? Is it you . . . or your client?
In addition, artists more and more are finding alternative avenues for
generating revenue from their artwork, image and even endorsements -
this seminar will provide information to understand how to
control the use and licensing of your work and image as well as
understand the issues you may confront and how to be prepared to
maximize your profits and best protect your interests before signing
away any of your rights.
The multi-media presentation will include real world examples, informative handouts, sample contracts, and a Q&A. I encourage participants to submit questions beforehand to marisa(at)kakoulaslaw(dot)com but any question during the seminar will be addressed.
Space is limited so it's best to book your spot now online. The cost is just $175, a bargain just for the sample contracts alone. It will take place 5-7pm Saturday, September 15th.
In September, from the 13th through the 16th, 120 brilliant tattooists from around the world will come together to share ideas, critique, create art, learn new developments in the industry, and of course, tattoo eager collectors.
The Paradise Tattoo Gathering is aptly named because it doesn't fit the usual "convention" menu. It's a place where artists and all lovers of tattoo can once again feel like we're a community, and to leave feeling better about the state of the craft despite the surge in its exploitation. It also doesn't hurt that it will be at the Keystone Resort, in Keystone, CO -- the heart of the beautiful Rocky Mountains. An excellent tattoo vacation destination.
What I particularly love is that the top tier of many of the schools of tattooing will be present. No matter what your preferred style -- from realism to biomech to blackwork -- there will be the very best to work with you. Check out the artist list here. While many of these tattooers book up well in advance, many save time for walk ups. Of course, it's recommended that you email or call an artist to set up a tattoo in advance if possible.
Fine art galleries and seminars are a huge part of this event as well. Chet Zar and over 20 live painters will be creating artwork onstage. Shawn Barber will be teaching three painting seminars. Adrian Lee is bringing his "Bloodwork:Bodies" art show and book signing. Chris Lowe is bringing "Still Standing: A Wounded Warrior Project" benefit art show with over 60 pieces of art for sale that will also go on prosthetic limbs for wounded vets. Al from Amped 3D is bringing his life sized 3D "Holographic" images and massive camera rig to document the best tattoos of the show. Ian McKown is curating a group art show of miniature paintings. And there will be a group art show from the tattooing artists.
Education is the big draw for the Gathering. For one, Stefano Alcantara is doing a seminar & workshop on realistic tattooing. [Correction:]
[Shameless plug: I'll be doing a seminar with another heavily tattooed attorney John Kastelic entitled "Controlling, Protecting and Profiting from Your Work: Copyright, Trademark & Licensing for Tattoo Artists & Collectors." All are welcome as we'll be taking about issues (in a way that's not lawyer speak) that affect everyone in the tattoo community and beyond. We'll be giving out sample contracts and informative handouts. You'll won't find lawyers offering so much for so little. Best to register in advance and feel free to send questions beforehand.]
It's also best to get your tickets for the show in advance to save some money and beat the lines. I'd recommend booking your rooms early as well before they sell out. Call 800-258-0437 with Code CF1PTG for Keystone Lodge reservations (the Gathering has sold out the New England resort all 4 years).
I'm truly excited for the Gathering and hope to see y'all there!
From September 15-18th, one of my favorite tattoo events will take place in Western Massachusetts, bringing in renowned tattooists from around the world to share information, paint together, and of course tattoo attendees:
The Paradise Tattoo Gathering is unique in this focus on education, creation, and recreation.
The Gathering takes place at Jiminy Peak, a ski resort in the Berkshire mountains on the border between New York and Massachusetts. This is the last time the event will be held here before it moves west next year. There will be 35 different offerings of tattoo and art seminars, workshops, and discussion panels covering a wide range of the art over the course of four days.
Many seminars have sold out already including the Nick Baxter, Craola, Shawn Barber, and Workhorse Irons machine building seminars. But there are still places left for seminars with Chet Zar, Bob Tyrrell, Tommy Lee Wendtner, Alex Depase, Joe Capobianco, Robert Ryan, BJ Betts, Big Gus, Hunter Spanks, Liorcifer, Bez, Chris Dingwell, Larry Brogan, and so many more. There also also seminars for the kids, as well as organized childcare for Friday and Saturday nights.
The hotel rooms are sold out too; however, there are still condos available for a limited time and the resort across the way still has rooms. Links on the website will get you what you need.
I had a blast at the Gathering last year, and I'm sure this year it will be equally exciting. Check my blurry pics from the show here.
When Moscow tattoo artist Oleg Turyanskiy comes to the States as a visiting artist, collectors rush to schedule sessions for his color and black & grey realism work -- tattoos that not only capture a likeness but the energy of the subject.
The thirty-three-year-old describes himself as a "traveling tattoo artist" as he spends most his time on the road, although he does keep a home base in his native Moscow. Oleg says that he needs to travel to charge his creativity. In addition to guest spots at top shops around the world, you can find Oleg at a number of international tattoo conventions throughout the year. He says:
I adore attending tattoo conventions. I really love the atmosphere and spirit of such kind of events. I don't like working at the same place with the same people around for months in a row. I need to change my surroundings from time to time.
An art school graduate, Oleg has been tattooing since 2001, preferring realism, although he says his fine art work is largely fantasy driven. His trippy illustrations are like the Brothers Grimm on acid but he's quick to say that his work is not a product of drugs or alcohol--a question he gets a lot when people view his art. He's currently working on fairy tales himself in the form of a sketchbook, which will be available for purchase. [We'll update you on its release.]
Oleg's travel schedule is updated online here. His next US guest spot will be at Off The Map Tattoo in Easthampton, MA in August and September. During those months, he'll also be attending the Hell City Tattoo Fest and the Paradise Tattoo Gathering. Appointments with Oleg are made in advance. You can reach him via his contact page.
I've been a long time fan of Italian tattoo artist Alex de Pase and his realism and surreal tattoos. I just received images of his recent work for my next book project and couldn't wait to share some with you.
Alex is a self-taught tattooist who has had a passion for the art for over twenty years. Today, he has his own studio in Grado, a small island in northeast Italy, not far from Venice. He says of his early start in tattooing:
At age fourteen, I met a guy who had many tattoos all over his body, which meant one thing only twenty years ago: prison. In fact, this fellow learned how to tattoo in jail, and when he told me that he knew how to do them, I begged him to teach me everything he knew. He taught me the basic skills for tattooing by hand with a Bic pen melted with needles. It made quite on impression on me because, ever since, I have not stopped tattooing.Eventually, Alex learned to work a tattoo machine, and studied everything he could get his hands on. After some years of doing every type of tattoo, he started focusing on realism and portraits.
This kind of style has the artistic expression that I prefer. It has no limits on technical improvement, although one of the most fascinating aspects of realism is not technique. It is more than a mere reproduction of something already existing. It also encompasses the artist's sensibility, personal interpretation, perception of colors, and so on. Each artist brings to the tattoo their own experience, imprinting a bit of themselves in the work.
Check his site to view more more work as well as his Facebook page for updates on his convention and guest spot schedule. He'll be in the US at the Paradise Tattoo Gathering, September 15-18.
Special thanks to Marco for his help with the images and biography.
The above is a screen cap of my tattoo Tweets from the Paradise Tattoo Gathering. You can see all my Twitter updates here.
Just another reminder that an important tattoo expo, vacation, learning experience begins Thursday: The Paradise Tattoo Gathering in the beautiful Berkshires.
The world's greatest artists will descend upon Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort for a long weekend of seminars, panels, workshops and general merriment. And yes, most (around 60) will be tattooing, so join me in this tattoo vacation and relax with some fine art poking. Check the artist line-up, which includes Mike Cole who's work is shown right.
There's too much going on to list it all here so check the events page on the schedule.
For an idea on what to expect, view these videos from last year's gathering.
I'll be there from Friday afternoon through the weekend hawking my Black Tattoo Art book so look for my table. If I'm not there, I'm probably in the hot tub.
[Also on sale there: Guy Aitchison's Reinventing the Tattoo. It's a tattoo tome on everything from design to execution.]
Can't wait to see ya there!