Jeff Gogué: So you started the Worldwide Tattoo Conference. Can you explain what that is?
Alex de Pase: When I thought about the Worldwide Tattoo Conference, I thought about what’s really needed in the tattoo industry. There are many kinds of conventions but I would like to something where you could exchange experiences and exchange knowledge with the best tattoo artists in my opinion. I think when you tell your story people can understand much more than they can by just watching you work. That’s why I thought about the Worldwide Tattoo Conference being different from the normal seminars. I wanted to bring the artists together and have the audience listen to them. In this way you can exchange more ideas and you can have more input. When I saw the feedback of the people who went to Chicago or Rome it made me very proud and very happy. My hair stood up like this because these people really kept what I had in mind before I started the Worldwide Tattoo Conference…
I’ve tattooed for 13 years and I think my second year I started taking seminars, because I also had no help. Well, very little help – I found a couple friends like Cory Norris – he helped me. I would get tattooed and he would answer my questions – he was nice. That helped me a lot and I saw a role model in him. I saw an example in him of someone who had integrity and they wanted to do it right.
You were lucky because my example was an asshole! (Laughs) You had Cory Norris.
I do feel very lucky. I thought, “I want to be like this guy.” I knew that he had mentors. He had somewhat of an apprenticeship but more a group of experienced tattooers that held him accountable to do things well, to do things right and to treat people with respect in the right way. So I started taking seminars. I knew there must be seminars out there so I’d go to conventions and there were. I took some seminars – maybe ten over a couple years – and at every one I felt like I didn’t learn very much. I felt like it was a waste of money and a waste of time. It made me angry because I needed more.
From then on I felt like I wanted to get good enough so that I can try to do a better job. Not arrogance, not in a prideful way, but I didn’t want other people to have the same struggles I had, which I think are the same as yours. Long story short, after doing seminars I worked years and years trying to gain the credibility, trying to promote my name and get known and respected enough that somebody might want to listen. Putting together information that I think would have helped me earlier. I started the seminars and they’ve gone great. It’s really just one seminar I’ve done this whole time – five or six years of telling my story. It’s evolved, it’s changed – I’ve found the things that are more important to talk about and the things that are less important. All that to say that the Worldwide Tattoo Conference has been the best experience for me. I’ve seen the most response from it and I think that it’s just a great, amazing idea and concept and I’m very grateful to be a part of it.
I guess this question has been answered – I was going to ask what you hoped to accomplish by helping other people with things like the Worldwide Tattoo Conference.
This is a strange question because I probably have no answer to it. The only thing I can say is that it makes me proud and happy. When I saw people in Chicago giving a standing ovation it was amazing for me. For me, for you, and I think for all the guys there.
Yeah, it was moving – powerful.
More about Alex below: