Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Born on the Third of July (Dispatch from the Urban Tattoo Convention, Part 2)

When I went to the NYC Urban Tattoo Convention last weekend, I was expecting a lot, but I wasn't anticipating walking out with a fresh new tattoo. It was an early birthday surprise, to say the least.

My night changed for the better when, turning a corner, I ran into Phil Phlash aka Phil Sheridan aka inkone aka Flex Sinatra. Phil and I worked together years ago, before he left for bigger and better things. He left the office and picked up a tattoo machine, but before he did, we had many office conversations about tattoos, and he was an early fan of Tattoosday.

Fast forward to Saturday night at the UTC, Phil and I were catching up, and he asked me if I wanted to get tattooed. I knew he had recently started working at Tuff City Tattoos and was trying to figure out how to make it to the Bronx, when he clarified, "No, tonight."

I've been following Phil's work on the various social media and have seen his talents develop over the years. It had always crossed my mind that, one day, he might be adding to my collection, but it was not in my immediate plans. Until now.

Phil brought me back to his booth, and he showed me a flash book of some classic old-school traditional designs. If you check him out on Instagram (under Flex_Sinatra), you'll see that his traditional work is solid, and his tattoos are done with confidence and passion. My head was spinning as he suggested designs, I kept wanting to defer to his better judgment. This wasn't going to be a tattoo with great, complicated meaning. It was, however, going to be my first tattoo inked by a friend.

He turned a page and showed me an eagle. His face lit up. Mine did as well. It was decided. We figured out the particulars and the placement, and when I came back a bit later, the stencil seemed to have grown. This was no little Sailor Jerry shark; this was a big piece going on the side of my calf.

When all was said and done, this was the final result, a traditional American Bald Eagle:

What better way to celebrate my upcoming birthday, on the eve of Independence Day, than with a traditional  piece of American flash?

I even captured a snippet of the convention chaos while getting tattooed:

And, after we were done, Phil and I went around showing our work off to fellow convention-goers. Despite his expression below, he was fairly pleased with the end result:

Self-Inflicted Photo with Phil Phlash
I still have lots more to report from the UTC, so stay tuned. This moment, however, was the high point of the show, for obvious reasons.

Thanks to Phil Phlash for this awesome new tattoo in my collection!

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