FYI: for your first tattoo convention: Motor City Tattoo Expo 2015

Re-work in process

IMG_5206Last year was my first Tattoo Expo experience.  IMG_7070 It wasn’t what I expected (Thank goodness. I have issues.Duh. ) What I experienced was art and families and fun and community. I loved it.

So… I’m going back again! Get ready Detroit! This time I’ll be helping with a friend’s booth. You can see some of her incredible art work here: www.artbyceejay.com. 

I thought I’d write up a newbies guide to tattoo conventions…

1) Dress in layers (The temps vary in all convention places… Be prepared for inking and showing your ink if you’re so inclined.) Last year I was the sweaty chick. Artists need lots of light. Some of them are hot. You’ve been warned.

  • 2)Bring cash. Most vendors accept credit cards…  cash is always good.

3) Research the artists and vendors  before the show. You won’t want to miss any favorites. You can find them here: Motor City Tattoo Expo. Click through to the artists and vendors.

4) If you’re interested in getting some work done- contact the artist  and set up an appointment in advance. Or, come early and be prepared to wait or come back. Expect to put down a deposit to hold a spot if you want to get something done. Then show up when the artist tells you to.

  • Taking a couple of OTC anti -inflammatories an hour before your appointment helps.
  • I suggest bringing an instant cold pack for after the piece is done to minimize swelling.
  • Booze and other drugs- don’t make for a good tattoo experience or outcome. Justsayin. They affect your body in addition to your brain. Bleeding etc. can be a problem. Don’t be stupid. Actually- don’t be stupid is a pretty good motto for life, in general.
  • Listen to your artist recommendations for aftercare. The healed tattoo is your end result. aftercare is YOUR job. Do it.
  • Hydrate before during and after your tattoo.Water is hydration. booze is dehydrating. It doesn’t count.
  • Eat a little something before getting your work done. (I’m bringing some energy bars so I don’t get Hangry during the show. Hangry ain’t fun or, nice.) Blood sugar issues can make for a less than fun- up close and personal experience with the floor. I don’t recommend it. (I also don’t recommend being tattooed in a neck brace. Been there. Almost passed out. Oops.)

5) Art isn’t like microwave popcorn. It’s not always done in exactly 2 1/2 minutes. You might need to wait for a bit beyond your appointment time.  Be patient. It’s like at the doctors office. YOU want them to spend time with YOU, right? Then be prepared to wait while the artist spends time with others. It’s worth it. *also- artists need to eat. Let them. You don’t want a hungry artist.

6) Bring clear, decent sized reference pictures (Not wadded up in your pocket.) to help communicate what you’re looking for in a piece. *Don’t expect your artist to copy exactly someone else’s work. That’s stealing someone else work. Artists aren’t fans of that. A convention may not be the time to complete a full sleeve or backpiece- if the artist suggests that what you want, would be better completed at the shop- don’t be a jerk. Book the appointment. You’ll be happier than trying to get a rushed piece.

7) You get what you pay for. Shopping for the cheapest deal on a piece of permanent body art will get you: the cheapest body art.  What’s your body worth to you? remember: You only have: 1.

8) Ask for your artist’s input. Listen to it.

9) If you aren’t happy- stencils and sketches are the time to fix it.  Speak up. Don’t be a jerk- just explain the changes you’d like. It’s much easier to fix before it’s on your skin.

10) Don’t try to micromanage the creative process. Let your artist do their thing. Depending on placement- bring a book to read or someone to talk to. SOMEONE does not mean every person you’ve ever met. There is limited space in a booth. Don’t crowd your artist or, others.

11) Don’t be creepy. If you bring a camera- ASK before you take pics. That goes double for people’s art on display in their both. BUY a print. Don’t just snap a pic. #artistsneedtoeat #dontstealtheirwork also- if you want a pic with a favorite artist- probably don’t try to get one while they’re in the middle of someone else’s tattoo.

12) Happy? Tip your artist. Booth space, tattoo supplies and convention costs are expensive. Also: don’t forget to tip them through social media. Post pics and tag your artist. Word of mouth is a powerful way to help your artist.

Tattoo convention dont’s:

  • Don’t be a table hog. Standing in front of someone’s table forever because you’re being  some kind of weird groupie-and not purchasing or setting up an appointment is rude. Move along. This is business. (I my have kind of done this last year. Don’t be like me.)
  • Don’t interrupt someone else’s tattoo session. You wouldn’t want someone interrupting yours. There is usually someone at the table to answer questions while the artist is working. If not- ASK if it’s ok to ask a few questions while they’re working.
  • Don’t gawk. Seriously. Complimenting someone on their ink is fine– staring like they’re an alien or a piece of meat-is always : rude. So is being a creeper about their ink. Respect people. Duh.
  • Don’t rip on someone’s work or pricing just because YOU don’t like it. Artists are people. People with body art have it for reason. (Even if the reason is they got drunk and tattooed. It happens.On the other hand- If you ask my about my ink- there’s a meaning behind every single part. Be prepared to listen:) ) Remember that.

**Save yourself some aggravation and just valet park at the Marriott. It’s worth it.

Be nice. Smile and have fun. Meet people.  Your experience at the Expo will be what you make it.

Be safe. See you there!

PS: Stop by Cee Jay Inky Jones Booth-say “Hi”. better yet- Book an appointment and get something inky-amazing.

One thought on “FYI: for your first tattoo convention: Motor City Tattoo Expo 2015

  1. As I read this I couldn’t help but laugh. I love your sarcasm. Most of these things happen to alot of people and these things are EXACTLY what happens at Tattoo Conventions. Thanks for sharing this article. I fond it very useful. If you’re into Tattoo expos, then you should definitely come down to No Limits International Tattoo Expo this year. It will be in New York at Resorts World Casino. Over 250 World Famous Artists will be there! Hope to see you. Thanks!

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