I haven’t worked any conventions this year as I got a bit tired of them. I felt they were the not most productive use of my time; I get to do nicer work, more work, in a more comfortable environment in the shop. There is no financial gain; if I am lucky I break even financially, but not when you consider the money I lose from not being in the shop. I was also tired of the competitive environment which brings out the worst in peoples personalities: jealously, insecurity, sycophancy, etc. Unfortunately I am not above this myself and I hate to feel these things. Finally, I have worked some awful conventions where the size of the booth you are given is laughable, the facilities provided are minimal at best, getting enough chairs or tables or even electricity to your booth is a hassle, security are plain fucking rude as it nears the end of the Sunday etc etc ad nauseum.
Unfortunately you do drop off the radar slightly if you don’t put yourself out there so next year I will be dipping my toe back in the convention waters at North Lakes (13-14th April) and Liverpool (3-5th May). I would love to do some nice work at these so please get in touch if you want something cool. Emailing the shop is easiest; firstname.lastname@example.org
If you don’t already know about it, please take a look at a massive charity event we will be having at MBA in January. Follow the link here. I am planning on doing some small, simple musician portraits for £60 each. I am working on the designs for these and will publish a list of subjects closer to the time with more details.
Finally, here are a couple of new tattoo pics:
On Friday I went to see my friend Frank Turner play his first headline arena show at Wembley and tattooed the date on him between the main set and the encore.
It is usually completely dark backstage but I got one light to work with (rubbish for tattooing as you cast a shadow with your hand), he was sweaty, it had to be quick and I also had to match the lettering to the old Wembley tattoo he had done when he supported Green Day. Needless to say, this tattoo was more about the experience and the moment than technical perfection.
I met Frank a few years ago and have tattooed him a few times, including in the video for “I still believe”, also a stressful and difficult tattoo! He asked me about tattooing the date on him at Wembley and then mentioned the idea of broadcasting it on the screens between sets. I didn’t think too much of it as it wasn’t confirmed and then as the date got closer and it seemed to be more definite I started to think I had maybe been mistaken, maybe we would do it before the show and it would just be broadcast between sets? That seemed to make more sense, but no. It was live, right at the back of the stage, seconds after the last song. I had put the stencil on much earlier in the hope that he didn’t sweat it off and it had luckily stayed on so I just had to pick up my machine and go.
You can see more pics of the gig, by Ben Morse, here.
Morrissey said “we hate it when our friends become successful” but in this case I don’t. Frank works harder than just about anyone I know and he doesn’t seem to have changed one bit as things have taken off for him. When I first saw him play to a tiny crowd of people I thought “why isn’t this guy playing to massive crowds?”, and now he is.
I am no fan of tattooists who make a name for themselves doing average tattoos on famous people and name dropping is vulgar and unpleasent. I hope this doesn’t come across like that. It was an interesting experience to tattoo live at Wembley though and I wanted to share it.