Another October, another Bay Area Convention of the Tattoo Arts. We have been traveling to this convention in South San Francisco from Sacramento for the last six years now. It is easily one of the best tattoo conventions in the world. No bands, no contests, no bullshit. In the words of tattoo legend Chuco Moreno, the Bay Area Tattoo Convention is 100% TATTOO!
Taki and his wife Molly who own the famous State of Grace Tattoo in San Jose are the coproducers of the convention and each year they do an impeccable job curating an absolutely exceptional show. As a collector there is no better place to be. The roster of artists and shops involved is like combining a list of the best tattooers and shops in the world and putting them under one roof for an entire weekend.
This year we were lucky enough to collect from the Smith Street boys, all the way out from Brooklyn, NY. My wife collected a bold 'skull & dagger' from Steve Boltz while I was fortunate to add a solid reaper from the talented, Chris Howell.
Our second night was all about Jessica's appointment with the world renowned, Greggletron. Originally from New Zealand, Greg Whitehead has been tattooing at Atlas in Portland, OR for about the last five years. His bold, traditional style is out of this world while it honors the rich histories of Japanese and 20th Century American tattooing. Jessica was able to collect a massive panther on the inside of her left thigh, unlike any you have seen before. While she was under the needle for over four hours I was lucky enough to wander around and catch Olivia from Everlasting with some free time to collect a small filler.
It was one hell of a experience to walk the convention floor and catch up with several tattooers we have collected from over time. You had Temple Tattoo in the house, the Classic Fullerton boys, Idle Hand's whole crew, Rubendall, Grime, the Elm Street fellas, Sacramento's Ian Carder, and so many more incredible artists and tattoo shops. Not to mention you could catch pure legends trotting around like Junii & Bill Salmon, Ed Hardy, Good Time Charlie Cartwright, and BJ Betts.
Another awesome part of the show was the formal debut of The Bird Book published by LLL Books and curated by Isaac Starr. The Bird Book is the fifth edition of a five-book collection filled with tattoo flash from some of the best tattooers in the world. Before The Bird Book was; The Cat Book, The Girl Book, The Skull Book, and The Rose Book. To collect all five is a must for any tattooer or true collector.
Outside of collecting tattoos and books there is a huge market for art and t-shirts at the convention! We were fortunate enough to collect prints & shirts from the likes of; Forever Tattoo, Flying Panther, Em Scott, Paul Dobleman, Secret Sidewalk, Temple Tattoo, Smith Street Tattoo Parlour, and more. When it comes to collecting tattoo merchandise there is no better place to be!
The 2017 Bay Area Convention of the Tattoo Arts was certainly one to remember. Thank you Taki, Molly, and everyone who helps to put this show on. You guys rule! Until next May...