Larry Brogan: Tattoo Convention Booth Set Up (Part I)
By Larry Brogan
Courtesy of Tattoo Road Trip: Most tattoo conventions provide a space for two working artists approximately 10’x10’ but they can vary by a couple feet in either direction. You will usually have two long narrow tables, one to tattoo from and a front table to showcase and display your tattoo portfolio, original artwork, paintings, prints, tattoo machines, t-shirts or any other items and promotional material you choose provided they are permitted by the promoters and local law…
Always be sure to have an ample supply of business cards or stickers with your name web address and contact information printed on them for people to grab. People always love free giveaways such as pens, stickers, CDs and even candy so having any of these can help draw more potential clients to your booth.
Bringing your own table cloth can be a nice touch to help give an impressive presentation that will be more eye catching and make you stand out among the many other booths in the isle. A trip to a local fabric store will give you countless options for colorful and crazy table cloths and be sure to check into the Halloween fabrics where you will find some fun and festive designs.
Your booth normally contains two artist chairs and two client chairs as well as at least 1 garbage can. The quality of the provided chairs varies from padded stackable banquet chairs to flimsy plastic folding chairs which are mostly useless and very uncomfortable. The padded banquet chairs can be used in many configurations such as stacking two or three high in order to reach a clients leg or lower back more comfortably or side by side to lay someone horizontally for areas such as ribs, underarms and hips. If you happen to by driving to the show, bringing your own office chair and or client chair or even a massage table can be very helpful.
Many convention halls are very dark or you may be stuck in some dark corner of the room. I often bring 2 small clamp on halogen lights that I attach to the top of the pipe and drape behind the booth. You will need an extension cord at least 6 feet long with at least two outlets to be able to plug them into your power strip. Your booth will be much better lit than most others making it stand out more amongst the rest. You can buy these simple lights at hardware stores and home improvement stores such as Home Depot for around $10 each. Warning, they get extremely hot so unplug them at night and especially a bit in advance of taking them down at the end of a show or you will burn yourself.
Your convention banner is the equivalent of flying your counties flag overhead and having something awesome and eye-catching will bring you more exposure. When sharing a booth with one or more artists you must keep in mind that there needs to be enough room for each artist to display their banner and enough space for items like flash, prints and t-shirts if necessary. I have found that a banner ‘2 to 3’ wide by 4’ to 5’ high is the best overall fit for a booth containing two artists. Any longer, you will loose the lower portion behind the work table and any wider runs the risk of crowding your booth mate. While it is quite easy these days to get inexpensive banners printed with any images and info you need, as artists hand painting yours will help show your own artistic talent and just might earn you a little more respect from your peers.
(Larry can be found at Tattoo City Skin Art Studio in Lockport, IL.)