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Tag Archives: tattoo expo

Crash: My first tattoo convention, San Diego,1993


This post is the story about my very first tattoo convention. It was (gasp) 1993 (I think; it could have been 1992); I was a fairly inexperienced, young tattooer and my new boss, “Painless” Paul Nelson (of Atlanta’s famous Ace Tattoo Studio), decided to attend the San Diego “Tattoo Tour”, (an early convention circuit put on by JD Crowe and his partner…both tattoo artists). Paul was scheduled to get his chest worked on by Gil Monte, a leading black and grey artist of the day who specialized in these awesome fineline, black and grey skulls with eyeballs…and, most importantly, Paul insisted I come with him and try to get tattooed while we were there. So COOL! Here I was– new job, new boss, first trip, and I was hungry to learn everything I could about tattooing. It was a big deal, my first convention…and most exciting was when I learned that all the superstars of 1990’s tattooing were going to be there. Now I wanted a tattoo. Not only that, but I wanted a GOOD TATTOO, from one of the artists who was inspiring me. It was great realizing that I could actually be getting a piece from one of my personal tattoo heroes! I saved money for a few months and began trying to figure out how to get an appointment, and who with, once I realized there were a lot of choices– Jack Rudy, Eddie Deutsche, Guy Aitchison, Aaron Cain, Marcus Pacheco, Paul Booth, Kari Barba, Gil Monte, and so many more…(I ... Read More »

The Pros and Cons of Tattoo Conventions

Feature Tattoo Conventions

Thinking about attending your first tattoo convention? Here are some suggestions for getting the most out of your convention experience, and a few warnings to consider before you go. The very best tattoo conventions in my experience, (for fans and pros alike), are those hosted by actual tattooers. I’ve been involved in tattooing for 25 years now, and I remember back in my early days the sheer excitement of attending one of the perhaps three or four tattoo conventions being held per year. My first convention experience was magical. (*Read about here-)  Good tattoo conventions are special; they encourage community, advance the craft, and they are focused on the fans, the art AND the artists, not the money. In the beginning, conventions were exclusively put on by art-ists, not corporations and not event professionals. Today, more numerous than ever, conventions seem designed for the green more than for the ink, and definitely more than the actual art or craft of tattooing. So many of them are getting known for gouging the artists working the show as well as the thousands of attendees, at every opportunity, charging outrageous amounts for tickets, food, beverages and the like, while they rake it in, hand-over fist, capitalizing on tattooing’s meteoric rise in popularity. Tattooing doesn’t matter to these people, it’s just an opportunity to make money. And it’s no wonder, tattoo conventions have become a multi-million dollar industry over the last several years, with more than 400 tattoo conventions being held annually, worldwide!   That’s an average of more ... Read More »

The Pacific Ink & Art Expo: Hawaii’s First Ever Tattoo Expo Breaks New Ground


By Danny Claser In 2009 I was free and clear from break-up with a female tattoo artist who was on the show LA Ink. In the time we were together we spent a lot of time traveling the world doing tattoo conventions. I fell in love with the atmosphere and the people who attended these expos. It reminded me of being on Warped Tour when I was a traveling musician. I think I connected to this messed up, chaotic, yet beautiful carny way of life where nothing had stability yet it was stable in the storm. I missed being surrounded by people the world looked at as weirdos or circus freaks. The musicians life is not that far off from the tattooers lifestyle and somehow porn stars and gypsies all seem to fall under that umbrella as well…  Read More »

Jeff Gogué: Tattoo Expo Napoli, What An Experience…


By Jeff Gogué When I first agreed to attend the tattoo expo in Napoli, Italy… Honestly, I had doubts I would make it. It would be my third trip to Italy in less than a year. I, of course, am honored and grateful to be invited anywhere and would continuously be on the road if it wasn’t for my responsibilities at home. I love adventure and with an ever-present awareness of my own mortality, I want to experience as much as I can before the bell tolls. I wouldn’t call myself a thrill seeker. I hardly call myself a traveler, but I do what I can to make new friends and see new places. Napoli was a new place. Different than the places I’ve been before in so many ways…  Read More »

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