Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Aftermath: Visionary Tattoo Arts Festival

One of many giant posters of my flyer for the show!
Holeeeey crap whatta weekend! 
The Visionary Tattoo Arts Festival in Asbury Park, NJ was a fantastic experience!
This show was on par with some of my most successful comic conventions and I look forward to designing the flyer for and attending next year's show.
(Which means I need to top this year's flyer, which is one of the best things I've designed ever- but no pressure. ;P)
Asbury Park by the way is ADORABLE. I'm by no means a beach person, but I absolutely must come back and enjoy the sights on an actual day trip (and it's only 1.5 hours away by NJ Transit!). Not only is the Asbury Park Convention Hall a beautiful, grand building but the boardwalk has cool stuff like a pinball museum (that I regrettably was too tired to go into after the show). 

The beautiful and historic Asbury Park Convention Hall
Taking place right on the beach at the Asbury Park Convention Hall, the Visionary Tattoo Arts Festival  was a helluva show. This being my first tattoo show I attended professionally I was set up with a booth right at the entrance of the show and right in view of the stage where they had burlesque, suspension, sideshow and a pinup contest that I actually got to judge in for the title of Miss Asbury Park! They even blasted rock music on the show floor and served beer and liquor at the concession stand. HELL YES. It was a welcome little break from comic shows (not that I don't love my comic shows...) and recharged my batteries creatively and gave my confidence in myself and my work a much-needed boost after a few not-so successful shows this year.

My booth!

My artwork and merch was incredibly well-recieved. Which when you consider how 'scary' all the bikers, metalheads and heavily modded folk at a tattoo show would be (and some were at first glance) it was great to see how happy and friendly everyone was. Moreso even than some comic shows I've attended. I brought a 4" thick stack of postcards, 100 moo mini cards and 200 stickers and they were ALL GONE by Sunday evening. It was crazy! My booth location was beyond cherry. Everyone who entered the show had to pass by me and my wares. 

The shirt for the show featuring my artwork!

It was kinda like this at the show:
(not really but it's hilarious anyway...)


I def want to thank Shannon and Jon Jon of Triple Diamond Tattoo in Brooklyn did an AMAZING job of putting the show together and inviting me to take part in the festivities. Seriously I can't wait til next year. I'm already planning on having Little Asian Sweatshop as my booth buddy so we can just tag team the show floor with our super sales powers. And I can take more breaks, cuz omg 12 hour Saturday shifts physically destroyed me. But made the 8 hour Sunday shift a piece of cake. Go figure.

12 hour Saturday shift: Before

12 hour Saturday shift: After
It was also strangely freeing being at a tattoo show compared to a comic show- other than my friends directly involved with me at the show and a handful of artists I had no idea who anyone was. And other than me plugging the fact that I did the poster for this year's show no one had any idea who I was either! No childhood heroes to stalk? No established comic artists to win over? No editors to pay mind to? No worrying about what potential job creator just watched me be a jerk to a table barnacle? No cosplayers? No FANDOMS? NO CON DRAMAZ? 
(At least not from my perspective. I'm sure the regulars have all sorts of inside info on what happened after hours and at the hotel bars and after parties, but I was in a fool's paradise. Which was a welcome change of pace to the 15 years of anime and comic conventions I've attended.) 

Tattoo show hours DO NOT FUCK AROUND
It was also awesome to be at a show where everyone who attended had a point of reference for familiarity with my work already coming into the show, with the flyers, tshirts, coasters and billboards all emblazoned with my sword-swallowing mermaid, tattooer Tillie and victorian-styled logo. As opposed to the underlying feeling I constantly had something to prove as I tend to feel at comic shows, I was able to relax, hang out and enjoy the scenery. It was interesting too to be one of the few artists attending who wasn't a tattoo artist and thus was free to interact with walk-up customers instead of hunched over a person's leg or back to the rear of the booth. I definitely would like to look into even more tattoo shows in the future to vend my merch at, as it seems a perfect crossover for me.

So yeah, any tattoo shows interested in a swanky flyer for themselves get at me! Maybe we can work out a deal? ;)

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