Villain Arts Tattoo Expo- Wildwood, NJ Aug. 12, 2016

A few months ago I was able to take my first trip down in South Jersey to explore what a tattoo expo was all about. Villain Arts hosts tattoo expositions every few months in a new city and new state about six times a year and luckily they hosted one in Wildwood, NJ which isn’t too too far from where I live.

I first heard about it from my friend who decided that she had wanted to get a watercolor elephant tattoo on her upper thigh and after researching artists she came across one in particular named Kate Tietz. Tietz is originally from Signaw, Michigan and travels around the country to participate in tattoo competitions and expositions for most of the year. It just so happened that she was going to be in Wildwood and after being invited I decided why not?

After about 3 to 4 hours of work in a large convention hall, my friend’s elephant was delicately done and the results were incredible!

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Done with Eternal Ink if anyone was wondering.

Another part of the experience that I loved was seeing all of the different artists from around the country that came out to support this organization and to show off their best talent. Below I have some pictures of the booklets that the artists were using to showcase their works. If they had a free spot there was a chance of being tattooed, if not one had to wait until the next day. It was a beautiful 3 day event!

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“Oh that’s what I had for breakfast!”

To start this off, my mother is my biggest inspiration, my superhero, and the most loving woman I know. In all honesty she is the reason I am still here on this planet today with all of the support she has given me personally from growing up as a little girl, to watching my family fall apart, to trying to put myself at the top in high school, to now putting myself through college while working a full time job; she has always had my back and been by my side through it all.

With that being said, obviously I wanted to make one of my tattoos 100% about her and all that she has done for me, but to make the situation just a little bit more sentimental, I promised her we could get matching ones for her birthday (though it was 8 months ago…better late than never!) Both of us know it sounds crazy but we got matching pineapples.

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Growing up my mother always decorated my house in primitive, country antiques and one of the biggest was pineapple….they were everywhere. As many do not know, pineapples are the colonial sign of welcome and that is where she fell in love with them. Now when trying to think of something that we could get, I thought of the first object that came to mind when I thought of my mother and immediately it went straight towards the yellow and green fruit. After many months of debating on designs and raising the money…we went to the tattoo shop. Below is a side by side as mine is on my right arm and hers falls on to her ankle.

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Below are going to be some pictures of the process of us going back to back on getting our tattoos. We of course went to my favorite shop, Electric Tattoo in Asbury Park, NJ and the artist of choice was Rich Heller who did an incredible job on both!

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This is Rich Heller putting up with another pre-tattoo photo from me

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This was the shading process of my tattoo when I was getting very irritated in the arm

Overall I am thrilled with how both turned out and the healing process is going smoothly on both parts! I am more than happy to have a tattoo in constant reminder of my best friend, my super hero, and most importantly my mother.

P.S. Rich Heller had pineapple for breakfast that same morning

The Little Lady

As I have mentioned previously, my friends and their support for my adventure and their love of tattoos is what keeps me going throughout this entire process. The other week one of my good friends won I guess you can call it an Instagram contest off of an artist I have mentioned before named Hans Ryan of Fast Times in Belmar, NJ. He posted a picture of a sketch of a woman’s face that was decorated with a floral head crown that if you contacted him via Direct Message and struck the best deal with him, you would be the only one with this custom tattoo. After seeing it, she had to message him and somehow struck such a cheap deal on such a beautiful piece. Below are pictures of her getting the tattoo, the mid process, and the finished product…

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The catch with the tattoo was that she gave full creative responsibility to Hans. He chose the coloring and how he wanted the shade the entire piece in how he envisioned it. Her sister and I were both in the room and he constantly asked us what we though would look good. Originally the flowers were to be different tones of reds and pinks but after really looking at the product we all came into conclusion that the roses should be a white, skin tone color because as he put it, “sometimes less is more”, and I can not disagree with that.

Overall the piece is beautiful and of course done with Eternal Ink that I have reviewed in previous posts. This tattoo is about 2 weeks old now and she is actually almost done healing after keeping her, “Little Lady”, moisturized, clean, and taking as much care of her as possible.

11th Month calls for the 11th Tattoo

As of yesterday, my best friends and I decided what a better way to celebrate Halloween and the beginning of the holiday season by no other than wasting our money on tattoos. As a back story I have two really close friends and since I have started the adventure, they have supported me and took me to shops, given me ideas, and came with me on some of my more recent tattoos.

Seeing as it was the first of the month we figured this was the best time financially to go into the shop and get a few small pieces to keep building up the art on our bodies. The go to shop was Electric Tattoos in Asbury, NJ where I have gone multiple times in the past and where 4 out of the 6 artists have tattooed me.

Because one of my friends was too eager for words about getting tattooed, we let her go first. Done by the artist Rich Heller, she got a few tiny bats around her ear because she was feeling, as she puts it, “spooOOOooky”, because of the season.

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Cute and small and honestly did not cost as much as others would believe. Rich priced it at $80.

I was second in line and mine was personal and had more meaning than the other two. Over the recent few years and growing up, I have always felt as though God was with me every step of the way through the good things and the bad things He was always watching out over me. Now I am not going to cause a religious debate here and I honestly respect anyways religious views on this Earth but personally I have a strong faith in God and what He has in store for me. My 11th tattoo was dedicated to my faith and a reminder of who is always watching over me.

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In the color purple, the meaning behind the symbols is, “God is Greater than the Highs and Lows.” My artist was no other than Rich Heller as well who has done now 4 of my tattoos. He has a steady and light hand with very clean line work.

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This is a picture of Rich Heller and I of Electric Tattoo in Asbury Park, NJ as he was getting ready to do my 11th.

Last up was my other friend who has such a fear of people touching her feet, yet she was so insistent on getting her foot tattooed she allowed the other artist on shift, Evan, to tattoo honey suckles.

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They were done beautifully and actually in very fast timing. Evan told us he learned how to tattoo in New Brunswick, NJ where it was always a busy area where tattoos needed to be done fast and well done.

Our tattoo adventure was very awesome seeing how my friends this far have supported me in my decision to travel and ink up my body. Their loyalty to me as well in getting themselves tattooed is always a blessing and every day is another adventure.

Stay tuned because there will be interviews with my artists and if you could not guess….another one at the end of the week!

Geometric Tattoos

Okay since I am bias and a human being I wanted to talk about how the appearance of geometric tattoos is so pleasing to the eye. Keeping the designs intricate or even simple but in all black give such depth and perception in the tattoos. I personally have a goal of geometric leg sleeve that though I have started, I only have 2 pieces done for it and will be getting another one in the next few weeks and trust me….I will be posting about it. I am traveling to Black Iris Tattoo in Brooklyn, NY for my next addition to the leg piece.

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I will be honest and tell you that they do cost more than the typical tattoo because of the radical designs and intricacies that need to be put in place. There is a need for artists that can work in straight, black lines. Let’s be real, no tattoo is ever perfect and if you think it will come out absolutely perfect…I hate to break it to you it won’t. But there are some artists near the New Jersey and New York ¬†areas that come pretty close to it.

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The picture above is geometric work done by John O’Hara of Black Iris Tattoo in Brooklyn, NY. Now he is the next one I want to work on my leg because as you can see the lines are consistent and the designs are beautiful and almost match flawlessly with one another though they were done at different times. His specialization in geometric tattoos shows true talent and this is something the world of tattooing needs more of.

Tips on How to Not Annoy Your Tattoo Artist

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Alright, going to that tattoo shop especially for the first time is a nerve wrecking experience all in it’s own. Now many do not understand the etiquette that comes with going into the shop. As every business, the artists are professionals and this is where their career lies. So as a fellow lover of ink I comprised a list of ways not to annoy your artists.

  1. Please shower before hand. Tattooing is a very intimate where the artist is basically on top of you and do you really want to wreak up the entire shop because you did not feel like showering that day?
  2. Try your best not to move. Moving only interferes with the artist and nobody wants a random line going across them. Keeping still has its advantages and sometimes being a good client can actually reduce the cost of the tattoo especially an hourly rate artist. Without moving it gives the artists an ample amount of time to complete the tattoo without interruptions.
  3.  Friends. Bringing one maybe two is okay for emotional and moral support when getting tattooed, but bringing your mother, father, brother, sister, best friends, boyfriend/girlfriend is not cool at all. Overcrowding the shop does not only distract your artist but the others working in the shop as well. With constant talking and nagging on the artist, it will only piss them off in all honesty and making such an exciting experience disappointing.
  4. Try and keep quiet unless the artist asks you questions. Even though talking only requires mouth movement, there is still a risk of your body language changing as in shrugging or moving your hand and if your artist is on your arm for example, it puts more of a strain and need for concentration from the artist. Keeping quiet and still just helps so much.
  5. Do not take too many breaks. Now if you are going through a tattoo for 3+ hours then yes you need a break because of pain, swelling, a quick stretch or a cigarette. But a tattoo that should not take too long, do not ask for a break unless it is an emergency because news flash, you are not the only person in this world, and the artist does not have the time to spare so you can make multiple bathroom trips. They have other clients and other deadlines to make after your tattoo and prolonging will only cost more and irritate them.

White Ink…what about it?

There is a social stigma and craze about white ink tattoos. Though they are sophisticated and are easy to hide, there are many more concerning factors before you go out and get one.

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The first issue is that white ink is quite thick and is hard to work with. Having a thinner consistency in ink is what helps tattoos get done faster (advantage if you have an artist that charges at an hourly rate) and come out clean looking. There’s another issue, with wanting your tattoo to come out perfect with crisp and clean lines, it is exceedingly difficult to accomplish when using white ink because it is difficult for an artist to see what they are doing exactly while the skin starts to get irritated, swell, and bleed.

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As these photos (which are not mine and I do not credit them) seem to appear clean, if you look closely upon them you can see inconsistencies in the appearance of them. Line work tends to be much more shaky and patterns do not seem to match too well with one another. With this being said, many artists refuse to work with straight up white tattoos because the artist knows their capabilities and can tell you whether or not it would even appear to come out on the skin nicely. Also another factor is one’s own skin; fairer skin seems to not show white ink as well as skin that has more melanin in it. The issue at hand with more melanin would be using more and more of a thicker ink into the skin which can lead to scarring and permanent raising of the tattoo which no one really wants do they?