By Larry Brogan
Courtesy of Tattoo Road Trip: In part one of Tattoo Convention Booth Set Up we touched on things such as having promotional items such as business cards and stickers, proper banner size and good overall lighting. In part two, I’ll talk about keeping your items safer from theft, helpful display tips and a continuation of proper lighting…
I always wonder how so many artists can tattoo without good lighting. I have always preferred and used a table mounted goose neck style lamp that lets you move your lighting where you need it so you can always see what you are tattooing and it can only increase the overall quality of your tattoos.
At conventions I bring a small light weight lamp that clamps to the side of a table. One of the problems with this is you never know what type of table you will be provided with and many of them are too thick or configured in a way that you cannot use the clamp that holds your lamp. My solution is to bring a Phillips screwdriver and a couple 1 inch drywall screws. Simply screw the part that holds the lamp to the top of the table. If this piece of the clamp does not already have holes in it you may want to drill some before heading to the convention.
This method will solve the problem of your clamp coming loose and falling to the floor or onto your client in the middle of a tattoo session. I bring a CFL compact fluorescent bulb when I travel because it is more durable than a traditional incandescent bulb with a delicate filament and puts off less heat. If you break your bulb, borrow one from your hotel room… wink-wink.
If you are displaying tattoo flash or prints you will do best by having a set laminated so you can use it again and again without risking damage to paper copies alone. I like to use clear packing tape and affix several prints end to end accordion style so I can hang them up from the pipe and drape at the back of the booth and easily fold them up when packing at the end of the show. The packing tape also works well for hanging the flash or prints from the top of the back drop or you can punch holes in the top piece of laminated artwork and use banner hooks to hang them. Always be sure you bring plenty of banner hooks. It is just a simple piece of wire bent into an S shape, sometimes provided by the convention promoters but not always. Save the hooks that you find at a convention, they will always be handy and the artists in the booths around you will always be looking to borrow some.
Clear packing tape to the rescue again… I use it to tape my portfolio to the top of the front table to discourage people from stealing it. I have known many artists over the years that have had their portfolio and other things stolen so you must do what you need in order to protect your belongings from dishonest people.
Your backpacks, purses and even large suitcases can also be pray for thieves when stashed under the table or in your booth. I bought a roll of 2-inch Velcro and stuck the two halves together creating Velcro straps that you can cut to any length and use for many purposes such as strapping the handles of your bags to the legs of the table. If someone tries to run off with your bag they may take the whole table with, in which case you will know whose ass to beat. I will talk more about the handy Velcro straps in a later article about packing for tattoo conventions.
(Larry can be found at Tattoo City Skin Art Studio in Lockport, IL.)