Sunday, June 7, 2009

Augusta Tattoo Expo

A huge shout out to Russ and the Ink & Dagger crew, Beth (Russ' wife), Melissa (one of Russ' clients and helper for the day), and Muriel (the adopted I&D artist). They were all amazing and not just because I was stuck with them for 10 hours yesterday. The arena was FREEZING and Beth went out and got me a heating pad and Melissa let me borrow her sweater. The heating pad was really the lifesaver. I was to the point where I was shivering so badly it was affecting the tattoo process. Not good.

Instead of both working on me at the same time, Russ and Muriel switched off for the first 5 hours. So it wasn't any quicker than if I were just being tattooed by one of them. They would pow wow when they switched, so it was interesting insight into how a tattooist's mind works. As Russ said, this is normally stuff inside their heads but they have to communicate it to each other. The toughest part was in hour 6 when they both started working on me. That was definitely a sensory overload experience. For the first time ever, I cried while being tattooed. We took a break around 6.5 hours so I could get it together, eat something, and just power through the end.

They were actually holding the tattoo of the day competition until we were done. I jokingly said it when they pushed it back by an hour the first time, but then the organizer came over and asked when we'd be done so we could enter. I thought that was pretty nice. Of course, from what I heard, there wasn't really much other competition and everyone had taken an interest in the piece. So it would've been silly to hold a tattoo of the day competition without the Russ Abbott and Muriel Zao collaborative piece entered.

As for the convention itself, it wasn't much to write home about. We had a little time to kill before I got tattooed, so we walked around, but there wasn't much of interest. The sound system also wasn't that good, so it was hard to tell what they were saying sometimes. I think at one point they were having $25 piercings and $40 something involving acetate, or at least, that's what we thought we heard. They had food, but it was pretty bad. The pretzels that were supposed to be soft were ridiculously salty and on the hard side. There's a distinct possibility they were left over from the last event.

Overall it took 8.5 hours of tattooing time, we won tattoo of the day, and I will have no problems taking a break after this. It was definitely one of the toughest things I've gone through. It was worth it, as the piece is amazing, and the crown jewel of my collection. Muriel suggested doing a full "sleeve" on my thigh that has a macabre circus theme. Hmmm.

Pictures will appear in Skin & Ink magazine, or so I heard. I'll have to confirm with Sylvia. She got a couple pictures of all of us and then one for winning tattoo of the day. After a good night's sleep and some real food, I'm really glad I did it. The experience was tough, that's for sure, but I made it. I think when I get back into it, short tattoos are in my future. ;)

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