Sunday, June 17, 2012

Coloured Folk Invade Downtown Toronto

The 14th annual Northern Ink Exposure rolled into Toronto this weekend, held at the downtown Hilton, and brought a wave of coloured people to the event. This is the place where the audience is also the attraction with the vast majority of exposed skin being all sleeved up.

Malefic Tattoos had a booth this year and Fabien was tattooing up a storm. When he wasn't working hard he was playing harder at the after parties with the likes of the Detroit's legendary artist Bob Tyrrell.

If you have never before been to a tattoo convention and are a lover of ink
or wish you could only be so cool, it's worth checking it out. Most major cities have annual tattoo conventions with artists flying in from all over the globe.

Not only do artists come from all around the world to attend the convention, so do some of their clientele. Kai Uwe Faust of Kunsten pa Kroppen came from Denmark and his customer flew in from Florida to get inked by him. Yes, that's a stick he's tattooing with. But of course there's needles in the end of it.

Kai has a traditional celtic norse style that is entirely hand poked. The sleeve he's working on here in the pics was done over a two day period. Definitely impressive work that he does.

Artists came from as far away as China, Japan, the UK, Australia, Germany, all across the states and Canada.

HoriHui of Taiwan was showcasing some mad oriental skills. Some very impressive work. I wouldn't mind having something done by this guy one day. I'll have to save some space on my skin.

I don't think he speaks much English though so I wonder how well "ouch" translates in other languages. I'm sure I'd be fine as long as I could learn some primo Mandarin swear words while getting tattooed.

Another tattooer that came from far far away was Erin Chance of New Zealand, inking some wicked original designs at the show.

I was really impressed and inspired by Erin's work. She's got this fantastic style that's kind of a combination of old school tattoo art with a Victorian flavour. Erin is another artist I would love to have some ink done by. And this is the problem with going to tattoo conventions. So many great artists, so little skin.

Nikko Hurtado who does hands down the best colour portraits in the entire industry, apparently did a portrait of Bob Tyrrell on someone this weekend. Now that's true love right there, getting a portrait of someone on your flesh. People just love Bob that much it seems. Everyone in the industry knows who Nikko is, but if you've never heard of him, you have to check out his work. You'll be blown away.

Update July 18th: This is a picture of the Bob Tyrrell tattoo that Nikko did at the show. Pretty sweet.

And while we're on the topic of tattoos, here's a sneak peek for all you noir and crime fiction lovers of the cover art of Noir Nation's tattoo issue.

If you're at all like me, then the combination of ink and gritty noir fiction is like total perfection. My two passions unite for what promises to be a spectacular event. This issue should be out very soon on a digital bookshelf near you, and I'm pleased to say I've got a story in there, along with some other fantastic writers.

For more info on the Toronto NIX convention and to see some of the other phenomenal artists who were in attendance, check out or vist their Facebook page.

In the meantime go get something inked!

Monday, June 11, 2012

My Daughter The Tattoo Artist...

Meet my daughter Sam. She just started tattooing a couple of weeks ago. After doing a few small free ones on her friends, she decided to tattoo herself. It's a strange thing to tattoo oneself. I know, I've done it before just to see what it was like. I did a very small bee on my foot and it was definitely weird.

So when Sam said she was going to tattoo herself and showed me a picture of a rather large bee that she wanted to put on her leg, I gave her that mother look. You know the one, that one-eyed squint with the slight disapproving raise of a perfectly penciled on eyebrow. That do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do look? Yeah, that's the one she got from me. The old reproachful, and at the same time, completely hypocritical look that moms are ever so skilled at executing.

After trying unsuccessfully to convince her to make it smaller (I don't think I've ever said those words in the shop. We always suggest bigger), Sam would not be swayed. Sadly, the mother look has lost all it's power! She is 19 after all, and can do whatever the hell she wants. But you know mothers, we don't always acknowledge this fact not when it comes to our precious little babies.

So I helped her place the stencil on her leg (hard to get it on straight when it's on yourself) and said, "Well, I can always laser it off another time." Because we offer laser tattoo removal, which is quite effective if you want to divorce your tattoo. Who says it has to be forever? And after an hour or so of steady concentration, this is the outline she did on herself . Impressive? Most definitely! Aside from tattooing grapefruits, pig skin and synthetic tattoo practice skin, Sam has previously done maybe three or four tattoos on other people. So it was most impressive that she brought this level of skill this early to the tattoo on herself. Mother is proud.

Here is Sam tattooing her nephew John today who is a year younger than her. This is perhaps her seventh tattoo. All the free ones were quickly scooped up. Starting next week she will be charging for her work at a reduced rate. If you're in the Toronto area and want Sam to tattoo you, drop by Malefic Tattoos and have a chat.She's usually around Monday to Saturday between 1 and 7pm. Except for this weekend when she'll be with us at the Toronto NIX Tattoo Convention downtown.

Take a look at this picture of Sam and John taken in 1995 when they were both babies. My how they've grown. All that sweet innocence, where did it go? Lost somewhere between the baby formula and the tattoo ink.

Check out A Tattoo And A Review With My Daughter Sam where I tattoo her while she reviews one of my books. It's kind of awesome.