Normally I write all my blog posts in swedish but this being a post about a very exciting and fun Tattoo Jam convention in England, I’ll write in english. It’s not my first language so some grammar and spelling mistakes may occur.
I’m going to dissect the convention from the start to the end, and this post is going to be very picture heavy, so you probably have to wait a while for all the images to load. There’s also going to be some edits I guess, as I remember more stuff I want to add. And remeber that one click on the image and it’ll open up full size (and every image is a lot bigger than shown in the blog).
So the rest of this post will be the journey towards those two awards , ”Best of Saturday” and ”Best of Convention”.
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Thoughts before the Jam
I never ever competed with anything on a convention before. The usual classes to enter never fits my style, being this black-line stuff. So when I found out I was going to the Tattoo Jam 2011 I thought it would be fun to compete with something, so I contacted a regular custumer and friend Robert and asked if he and his girlfriend Anna would like to come with me: I was also taking my fiancee Catrine and my six-month son Valter. I didn’t want to be without my family and I knew that I probably needed some company for my girl and some help getting everything together at the convention.
The Tattoo Jam:
When we got into the convention I was impressed with two things, the size of the venue and the professional staff. We were guided to our booth in no time at all, and while we were looking at the booth Dee (real nice girl) asked us if we needed a bed. So five minutes after arriving at the convention we had everything needed. I was also amazed by the other artist sharing my row, and the booths nearby. I knew that working or not I would enjoy myself very much.
I was a bit nervous about the pack as most of it was baby stuff and the thing needed to tattoo was packed on a real small space budget. But when we were finished building the boot not a single thing was missing.
Friday was not open to the public but I managed to squeeze in one of the organizers, starting a full underarm, with one raven out of three. And see, the escalator passed just over the booth :).
And the finished result:
Click for bigger image
We hung out a bit with very talented swedish artist Henry Pyykkö, (well, you can tell that’s a finnish name, lovely spelling :)) working at Big Slick Tattoo in Örebro and his girlfriend Mia, trying out strange tradional english dishes.
Sadly we missed out on the Tattoo Masters Ball, having a small baby that needed sleep.
When we got back to the hotel we also realised that a nightclub was seated in the hotel’s basement, so I can tell you that we didn’t miss out on the music. The floor was literally shaking.
We arrived at the convention around twelve and started preparing for Roberts tattoo, putting the print on and after that we started tattooing. The whole sitting took six hours , not counting a small break for a beer and pizza. Robert was a real trooper, and did’nt complain. Not even when we did the lines over the knee, which I know hurt like hell.
I worked next to Remis Tattoo from Dublin , Ireland, who did a really beutiful owl with on of the best murky forest backgrounds I’ve seen. Check him out!
So this is the tattoo Robert entered in the best of Saturday competition. I was real happy with how everything turned out. I didn’t think I had a chance in the competion though.
When the awards for all the other categories, like small colour tattoo and so fourth, was started to be handed out I realised there was just one price in each category. My hope of winning was so very small even before so I just relaxed knowing there was no chance in hell I was going up on that stage. So I was just talking to people at the booth, hanging out.
Then Dee (the girl who arranged for us to get us the bed, and frankly, without that bed the tattoo couldn’t be done) came and fetched me. I had the same feeling when you are in the pub and someone from security wants to talk to you; the ”Oh, I must have done something wrong” feeling.
And then Roberts and my name was called as the winner of ”Best of Saturday”. My legs turned into a wobbly gelatine state straight away, and I probably wnt up on that stage in a slightly staggering way:). There’s absolutly no photos of this from me as I never saw it coming.
I was really happy and really really confused, and my wonderful Catrine actually cried a bit when she welcomed me down from the stage. And the rest of the evening was a bit confused as well. Actually I’m not sure if it has sunk in yet 🙂
A note on the competitions
The Tattoo Jam competitions differs a bit from the swedish ones. First the client only has a number, the artist name is unknown to the judges and you actually get a penalty in point if you wear a studio T-shirt (trying to tell the judges who made the tattoo and playing on friendship etc to get more points.) This system is very refreshing as it eliminates studio reputation and everything else than the quality of the tattoo. Also the winner of ”Best of Saturday” competes against the winner of ”Best of Sunday” for the ”best of convention”-award.
On sunday I was actually nervous for the competitions as I would be in the finals of sorts.
Well, started tattoing a portrait of the drummer of the band ”The Police” in my woodcutesque style.
And back to the competitions. I was very nervous at this point, and the winner of ”Best of Sunday” was an amazing tattoo. as expected.
Robert was called up for a second wieving for new judges (but the points as I understand was given on saturday, but maybe they could add points or something.)
I probably sweated like a gallon (haha) at this point. Mr. Sion Smith of Skindeep Magazine came up on stage and announced the winner and the suspension was over. I won ”Best of convention”, got the wobbly legs again and walked up on stage. Completly surreal.
Announcing the winner
After the covention we headed for the after-party but we were’nt allowed inside bcause Valter was under eighteen. Well. about seventeen years and a half under age. Something about the alcohol permits. So we went to a resturant instead, with the baby and alcohol as well, without any problems. A bit dissapointing not be allowed to go the the afterparty, but I guess that’s stuff that happens when you chose to travel with a baby.
Really nice weekend and everything was so friendly and professional and … well, great! This is without a doubt the best organized convention I’ve ever been to and I’d love to go next year as well. And the artist on the convention were nothing less than aweinspiring. Got loads of stuff floating around in my head, things to draw , new projects forming …
Cheers and see you all next year!