Everyday at Good Vibrations Ink is exciting! Whether its a large scheduled piece, a small walk-in, or a fun piercing, the shop is always full of life and Good Vibrations! However, for Scott Martin and the crew the artistic ability and commitment to tattoo culture isn’t limited to the confines of our gallery walls! So, let’s talk about TATTOO CONVENTIONS!
Tattoo Conventions are always some of our favorite experiences, and give our artists a chance to grow and share their talents with people from across the globe! While Orlando has an extremely diverse culture, traveling outside of International Drive really immerses our shop in the tattoo culture of other cities, states and countries!
Good tattoo conventions are special; they encourage community, advance the craft, and they are focused on the fans, the art and the artists, not necessarily just generating income. Tattoo culture is on a meteoric rise around the globe, 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 per year being held worldwide! That’s an average of more than 7 tattoo conventions per week!
There are several benefits of attending tattoo conventions, whether you are an artist or a fan. From the immersion into tattoo culture, the social breeding ground atmosphere, or the sheer networking power you can harness, tattoo conventions are a significant boost to the industry as a whole.
You have the opportunity to meet and hang out with thousands of other people, in your own area, interested in tattoos! The tattoo culture itself is amazing and full of open-minded people who all want to express themselves.
You have the opportunity to get tattooed by exceptional artists from all across the globe! It could cost thousands of dollars in traveling expenses just to visit some of these traveling artists, let alone the cost of their artwork. Conventions are an excellent opportunity to get a tattoo by in-demand artists. Even if you don’t get tattooed by one of these extremely talented individuals, let yourself be exposed to the people and styles of tattooing beyond your local scene. Find out if these popular artists have availability ahead of time so they can plan their days out in advance! Some artists prefer to book appointments before the show, while others love to leave their appointment books behind, preferring the live interaction, creativity and spontaneity possible only at a show.
A great example of the pinnacle of tattoo culture at a convention is a Villian Arts convention! Held across the United States, Villian Arts shows are known for their big name artists, positive vibes and amazing energy. Originally based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, you’re sure to find a Villian Arts convention in a city near you!
For local tattoo artists, conventions provide an opportunity for networking and growth by seminars and workshops hosted by tattooers they respect. It also allows you to meet artists you respect and even have your own work critiqued and admired. For an artist, this is one of the most valuable tools you have to learn and grow as an artist. Not every tattooer has or will take the time to look at your work, but the majority of artists are very friendly and want to grow tattoo culture as a whole!
Don’t forget the party! At every show there will certainly be spectacle, entertainment, vendors, musical acts, food, art, and plenty of spirits. Tattooers work from open to close at conventions, sometimes well into the night, but once those gloves come off, it’s party time! Enjoy yourself. But also, be safe! As with any social gathering, maintain control of your environment and surround yourself with good people!
Here are some other hints to help make your first tattoo convention a great experience:
Book your rooms well in advance! These things do sell out and the farther away you are from the convention site the more likely you are to miss out on the fun. Be patient and polite to everyone at the convention, including other guests, the staff, and the artists. Everyone is in the same boat as you- if it’s crowded, it’s crowded for everyone; if it’s hot, stinky, loud, slow, etc, maintain respect and understanding for everyone around you. It’s a tough, inconvenient environment at times, but it’s always worth being considerate.
Research different artist styles and personalities through the use of social media, websites or recommendations. Every artist has their own unique style, whether it be neo traditional, hyper realism or tropical, and you should take that into account when searching for the perfect tattoo!
Contact the artist(s) you wish to get work from in advance. If you miss that opportunity, be at the convention first thing when the doors open on day 1 to try to get an appointment set up! Some of these artists can book the whole show in the first 30 minutes of the opening day. Don’t let the chance slip by, you may never have another opportunity to get tattooed by them again; artists come in and drop out of the convention circuit every day.
Unless you know which artist you want to get work on by, take your time at each booth, examine all the portfolios you can until you see someone with the talent to do what it is you want done.
Don’t haggle. In spite of the circus-like atmosphere, conventions are not flea-markets, and the artists in attendance aren’t junk-dealers or used car salesmen/women. They are professional craftspeople, with traveling expenses, who likely dropped a lot of money to come to your town and make their services available to those who want their work. If you don’t think their price is in your range, thank them for their time and move on to another artist. After comparing quality and prices you may be back!
Leave a deposit. This one always seems to surprise some people. If you are making an appointment to get tattooed, and an artist has to take time in advance to draw up what you want, then they NEED a deposit for that preliminary work, and to guarantee your spot on a busy day at the show. They are there to do tattoos and there’s only so many working hours in the day. The very last thing they need is to book a time slot and have a no-show.
Be on time for your appointment. And I’d say the same thing to the artists. Some people are notoriously late, some just simply move slow, but I don’t think there’s a valid excuse for not behaving like a professional, on time and ready to go at the time you agreed to start. It’s disrespectful, and it goes both ways.
Tip your artist. Whatever you are charged for you tattoo, if it’s done well and you are happy with the end-result, show your appreciation by leaving a tip.
Tattoo Conventions are a unique experience where you can find some of the worlds most prestigious artists all in the same room. They are truly an amazing way to immerse yourself in tattoo or art culture, and they are invaluable to tattoo society as a whole. We hope you take the time to read over our tips and tricks to make your convention experience a great one. See you at the next convention!