I recently went and did a guest spot in Berlin, tattooing at the excellent studio AKA. I had been to Berlin before a few years ago and I have to say, never really loved it like most people seem to. I did feel like I had missed the best of it on previous visits though. This time I stayed in Kreuzberg, right by the canal – 2 minutes from the studio – and I loved it. It was definitely helped by being lucky with the weather too.
I love riding a bike around a city, it is the perfect way to get about and explore somewhere new and I am of the opinion that cars ruin cities. I hired a bike in Berlin and rode around all week, thoroughly enjoying myself. The infrastructure wasn’t perfect but way better than at home in Birmingham, and I prefer riding on bad infrastructure to no infrastructure at all. On the whole cycling seemed normalised, easy and accessible, the proof of which being the amount of bikes with child seats on. When people can ride about with a toddler on their bike like it’s no big deal, a city is doing something right.
The other thing I loved was the amount of green spaces and parks. Birmingham planners take note, we have enough bland “mixed use” developments. We don’t need anymore shops, can we have more trees, grass and public spaces?
All of my customers were lovely and spoke excellent English (especially the guy from England who was on his stag do). Here are some of the tattoos I got to do, followed by some city shots. If you want more, and frankly much better photos of non-tattoo stuff taken on this trip then check out A Birmingham Life, Eleanor accompanied me on the latter half of the trip and has done a more thorough blog about it. I definitely recommend it.
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: