Sunday, May 19, 2013

Dispatch from the 16th Annual NYC Tattoo Convention, Part 2

The second day of the 2013 New York City Tattoo Convention flew by in a blur of images, fueled by the unlimited supply of free Rockstar energy drinks.

So Many Energy Drinks, So Little Time
What follows are some of the highlights, for me.

Hanging out at the Sacred Tattoo booth, I chatted at great length with Adam France, who tattoos out of Red Tree Tattoo Gallery in Columbus, Ohio. Adam was tattooing earlier in the week out of Sacred, in a guest spot, and was soaking in the atmosphere of the show. Aside from appearing in a recent episode of America's Worst Tattoos (in which he covers up something bad with something amazing), Adam is part of the organization that hosts the Hell City Tattoo Convention.

Here is the cover-up that Adam completed on the Worst Tattoos show:

Adam is a third-generation tattooer, whose father and grandfather also worked in the business, albeit in much different times.

As a disagreement between some a couple of female convention-goers broke out nearby, we laughed at the 21st century novelty of everyone's instinct not to intervene, but to document, as camera phones popped up like prairie dogs in the vicinity, trying to capture a whole lot of nothing, while convention security quickly diffused the situation.

Such activity was very minimal and high spirits abounded.

One of the first booths you see when you come in to Roseland is that of Brent McCown, of New Zealand.

He always has a crowd about, watching him tattoo in a traditional tapping style:

Close up, it's amazing to see...

Before the tattoo judging was held, there was a lot of activity up on stage, which included a lot of sideshow activities, like a woman dancing with a large albino boa snake

and this young lady, who had the crowd transfixed:

In case you couldn't tell, this performer is suspended and swing from hooks in her thighs and back. Ouch!

What is so often lost in these events, is that you can really invest time in watching talented artists at work. Of course, in the real world, tattooists don't have the luxury of editors to abbreviate their performances for the viewing audience. So, it is great to come back and see your own time-lapse version of a tattoo's transformation over the course of a day or, is some cases, years.

Take, for example, one of my favorite highlights from last year's convention - watching New York City's own "Bad News Becca" Roach at work on her client Kate. This was Becca in action last year:

I got a chance to say hi to Becca and then got a hug from Kate when we ran into each other later on. Kate has a back tattoo that was featured here last year on Tattoosday.

Yesterday, Becca had moved to filling in the top of Kate's back:

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Can't wait to see the final product! Bad News Becca tattoos out of North Star Tattoo in Manhattan.

Of course, one of the things I love to do is to interview people about their work, and there will be no shortage of convention profiles in the week to come. I captured a lovely back piece by Dutch artist Leslie Reesen, who works out of Mad Science Tattoo in The Hague, Netherlands, and was honored to interview a collector of body art by the mind-blowing Bugs, out of Los Angeles. Here's a taste:

I'll end on that stunning note and remind everyone that today is the final day of the NYC Convention, and Roseland is open from 12 Noon to 8 PM. It's a rainy day here in the Big Apple, so what better way to spend it than heading indoors and seeing some amazing tattoo work!

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