The Okanagan Tattoo Show & Brewfest 2018’was a great time, with invite-only tattoo artists, live music all three days, food trucks to keep us munching, and local craft breweries pouring their hearts out for thirsty tasters!
Huge thank you’s to Rob and Natalie Jobe, Good Guy Supply, and all of their partners and sponsors– for the hard work and dedication it takes to put on an event like this, you are putting yet another awesome BC tattoo scene on the map! Lefty Bastard and I will most definitely see you next year…
The Molina’s are back on the road, and back in Canada with tattoo tribe! We finally made it (after a ‘leave at midnight’ drive to SFO) and two easy flights, to Kelowna for the Okanagan Tattoo Show & Brewfest, July 20-22, 2018…my first time here, and Ed’s too! The show features 140 invited tattoo artists, thirteen breweries pouring, and live music at the Kelowna Curling Club space. Lefty’s spent some tattoo time in BC, and specifically Vancouver, but never Kelowna…so we get to do this show, for the first time–together!
So, keep your eye on the BoozyLife Instagram, FB, Twitter…and all the rest of my social medias, for blasts and snips of fun throughout the weekend and beyond. Follow along in real time! I’ll have a big wrap up post on here after the weekend, as always…
Back to the trip! After we checked into our hotel Thursday, we scooted to downtown Kelowna to meet up with our awesome hosts (and official convention organizers) Rob and Natalie Jobe, plus a crew of artists and friends that had started to arrive and hang out. Kelowna has an adorable little downtown, full of shopping, sidewalk cafes, and even a local distillery! Yeah….a distillery…
Okanagan Spirits distillery has a fun and informative tasting room down by the water. Obviously, there will be more on that…because they make a true Absinthe that is just lovely….and I chase green fairies whenever possible!
After our flights tasting local vodka, gin, and a absinthe, our hosts were lovely enough to rent two large pontoon boats, and cruise us around Okanagan lake for a few hours! Yours truly went out, but with my seasickness tendencies on top of no sleep and lots of travel, I did end up slightly green around the gills… but absolutely don’t miss City Park and it’s gorgeous views. I’ll definitely be grabbing a coffee or two to sit by the lake and relax (at some point) in the next few days! It’s going to be a weekend to remember….
***sidenote*** from the boats, we saw an inflatable obstacle course in the water…still working on getting there somehow!!
Moving to California has definitely been fantastic, but we’ve had to make some tough travel decisions and sit out some great tattoo events in 2017. We’re adulting! We’re not homeless! All the good things….but we miss our friends. Friends we enjoy running into and working along side, all over the world.
International artists like Rich Handford, who we see in Montreal, in the States, in Paris at the Mondial du Tatouage Convention–who, this time, had his own show, loaded with a roster of international tattoo talent in Winnipeg!
Organized and promoted in a CRAZY short span of time (about six months) by artist Rich Handford (Instagram @richhandford) and his incredible wife Sheri, they are also proud owners of Kapala Tattoo Winnipeg.
Two more friend and professional tattoo industry couples, Rob and Natalie Jobe (pictured with Rich) along with Lucas and Jaime Ford, are the force behind Good Guy Supply, the second show sponsor. Tattoo supplies for tattoo artists, by other accomplished tattoo artists, of the highest quality!
The dedication, hard work, and tireless effort that it takes a team to put on a convention is gnarly, but in a five month crunch, it would be hard to even imagine the logistics. These folks made it happen in a big way! According to tattoo wife extraordinaire and Winnipeg convention promoter Sheri Handford–
“We’re still married!! We planned an amazing show in 5 months–There was very little that went wrong, and we had an amazing team that helped make everything possible! We all worked tirelessly and it showed–We had plan A, B, C and maybe a D!! We can’t wait to do it again next year! Hopefully you and Eddie will make it, but also glad you’re not homeless!”
With a successful and well received first year behind them, we look forward to Winnipeg Tattoo Convention next year in 2018 for the Molina’s! Congrats to all of the Winnipeg Convention’s crew, team of volunteers, and sponsors for a hugely successful show– we can’t stop hearing glowing reviews from a weekend of tremendous talent–you guys killed it! See you out there!
Tattoo Conventions are a huge part of the tattoo artist lifestyle-travel the world, build a name, and practice the craft on collectors that will appreciate their new wearable artwork. So, you’ve heard there is a convention coming to your city…now what? How do you go about getting a tattoo at a tattoo convention?
CHECK THE CONVENTION WEBSITE! Is there a particular artist’s work that you love, or that stands out? Are you looking for a particular design, or is it the style of the artist you’re looking at? Have an idea what you want for your tattoo.
CONTACT THE ARTIST! Most convention websites have an artist list, as well as an email address for them. Artists mostly take their own appointments and create tattoo schedules, so act fast or they might be completely booked.
SEND THE ARTIST A DEPOSIT $$ You are asking an artist to work with you, and booking some of their precious money making time. Deposits vary from artist to artist, but if you are serious about your work, this should not be an issue. DO NOT FLAKE ON YOUR APPOINTMENT! If you absolutely have to cancel, respect the artist enough to try to give them some notice–there are LOTS of other clients that would love that time, and might be able to fit in! A deposit covers the artist’s drawing and design time–if you no-show, that money IS NOT REFUNDED. SHOW UP FOR YOUR TATTOO TIME!
DESIGNING DEPENDS ON THE ARTIST. Some artists will prefer to do a pre-drawing and use a stencil, others might free hand a design directly on skin with markers. Depending on the artist, the process, the flow–DO NOT MICROMANAGE YOUR TATTOO ARTIST. The more free reign the artist is allowed, the better the work. You came to them because you like their style, right? TRUST THEM.
THE DAY OF THE TATTOO- show up at the convention on time, with no other plans or restrictions (gotta pick the kids up from practice at 4? Don’t plan your tattoo that day, or get some help.) Eat something, no empty stomachs, and make sure to grab something to drink during the process. WATER OR JUICE, NOOOO BOOZE! You will bleed more, possibly sit poorly, and get light headed or pass out. Sober sitting is always recommended.
BRING CASH. Your artist will give you a price or estimate beforehand, so there are no surprises or price misunderstandings. MANY ARE CASH ONLY.
SIT STILL! Sometimes, that is the hardest part…
TIP YOUR TATTOO ARTIST! Do you live your new ink? Show them! Extra $$ is always nice, but gifts can also go a long way…from a bottle of whiskey to a gift certificate for a massage, appreciation is always remembered!
Conventions bring some of the world’s top tattoo talent to you, and often help bypass a year (or longer) wait at their home studio. Enjoy the show, the culture, the vibe….and come out with a spectacular new piece of work. This is why we travel the way we do! See you on the road 🙂
A million and one THANK YOU’S to Kaija Heightland from BC, (@tattoosbymisskaija on IG) for custom designing and tattooing a lovely Luna moth on my calf–my new lil buddy is healed perfectly, and no one can believe how bright it is in person! A perfect little bit of tattoo therapy from a lovely friend and talented Canadian lady tattooer ❤️
The Molina’s made it! From SLO in California to Quebec City with a one day travel turn around…yikes, but with all these great artists and friends here, there’s plenty of good energy to go around! Last minute, I also get to add to my tattoo collection this trip–the talented Kaija Heitland! Have a look at her work on Instagram @tattoosbymisskaija 😊More soon! BoozyLife on the road again….or still…
We made it! Left and I landed at LAX and will be spending some time with friends in the LA and Lakewood areas, and then it’s off to SLO wine area for a tattoo guest spot at Traditional Tattoo in Saint Luis Obispo! I’ll be winery touring while husband is at the shop–any vineyards in this area you feel I MUST not miss? Tweet at me @boozylife or shoot me a comment, I’ll even be checking firstname.lastname@example.org while I’m out and about 🙂
On a side note, ate my first Animal style burger at In-N-on Out yesterday! It was totally delish, but I think left over Valium (nervous flier!) in my system from our flight made it hard work just to chew…excellent natural French fries, perfect and simple. Great start to the week!
The Roc City Tattoo Expo is Upstate NY’s only high end tattoo convention, drawing an impressive roster of international artists each year to our beautiful area.
2016 saw the 8th annual Roc City Expo in a different venue, the addition of more local artists and vendors, and a focus on artwork as opposed to entertainment and contests.
The Hand of Fate has attended every one of these eight years of shows, starting with the first event right after we had opened our business, and relocated to the Finger Lakes. Jet and his crew at Love Hate Tattoo have always focused on bringing the best artists in tattooing, to an area that is often overlooked for larger markets and cities.
Rochester is a fantastic town, larger scale than Ithaca, with an artsy, young, downtown crowd and a flourishing dining and entertainment scene. Due to local Finger Lakes wine trails, breweries, and distilleries being less than an hour away, the locavore movement is strong here, and local vintners and brewers are represented along side menu items, sourced from area farms.
Iron Smoke Whiskey, a small batch distillery located close to home in Fairport, NY, saw the opportunity to join in on the Roc City Expo fun! FINALLY, a local booze producer that saw the potential marketing frenzy that a tattoo convention crowd offers: exposure to an absolute rainbow selection of adults, from all walks of life, that enjoy quality luxuries. A whiskey tasting at a tattoo convention? YES. SO MUCH YES.
Let me say, the whiskey tasting was VERY well received, pouring staff were knowledgeable and answering questions, and I’m sure three days of sales reflected that!
Iron Smoke also seem to have a growing distribution to bars and restaurants in the Upstate area, so make sure to keep your eyes open, or request it by name at your favorite watering hole. Iron Smoke Distillery is run by a contact that goes by the name of Skully, and their labeling and merchandise feature a distinguished skeleton, in a suit, smoking a pipe. Very well suited to a tattoo crowd, to say the least. Lots of teeshirts went out the door with that whiskey….
Back to the actual whiskey tasting and my own impressions. Iron Smoke brought two products with them- Iron Smoke small batch Apple Wood Smoked Whiskey, and their Rattlesnake Rosie’s Apple Pie Whiskey. Both were surprising, and I was shocked that as a local booze hound I had never had the pleasure! Jet and the Roc City crew must have known I was coming, and planned the whiskey accordingly. 🙂
Iron Smoke Apple Wood Smoked Whiskey: small batch, locally sourced grain is mashed and smoked with an apple wood smoking process, before distillation and aging for years in charred, American white oak barrels. With a hint of sweetness on the nose, this smooth amber colored whiskey has a light, smoky, vanilla and apple flavor with a nicely rounded, deep oak finish. Lovely small batch spirit.
Rattlesnake Rosie’s Apple Pie Whiskey: Forbidden Apple Pie recipe of small batch house distilled corn whiskey, blended with all natural upstate NY apple cider, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Slightly sweet, with the tang of fresh apple cider and a bite of corn whiskey, this potion is delicious on its own, or as a mixer for some beautiful cocktails. Slightly sweet, bright, and luscious long finish. According to their Iron Smoke website, Apple Pie was the winner in the San Fransisco World Spirits Competition–for those of you that follow the medals and events scene!
Once again, huge thank you’s go out to Jet and the entire Love Hate Tattoo Rochester crew for all of the hard work and hoop jumping it takes to have such a great show turnout in this area! Hand of Fate has enjoyed the journey since the beginning, and there is always something surprising to enjoy, along with world class tattooing and artwork. This year, BoozyLife felt especially loved! Want to buy your own bottles of Iron Smoke Whiskey? Check out their website here : Iron Smoke Whiskey website –there are awesome cocktail recipes for your newly aquired local whiskey!
Paris is a magical city. The lights, the people, the wine…the art. The energy is unlike anywhere else, a joy for life and an appreciation for the beautiful things that borders on hedonism. Quality tattoos and tattoo culture are revered and celebrated here, possibly more than any other location. One of the largest and best international tattoo conventions, Mondial du Tatouage, took place the first weekend in March.
Last year in 2015, I was lucky enough to attend with my husband as well, to really get a taste of the insanity and the crowds. The Paris tattoo convention was completely unlike anything I had ever seen–Fender Guitars and MTV sponsor, lines that wrap around the convention hall for several city blocks the entire weekend, a well orchestrated madness of entertainment and artwork.
This year, due to business and life not lining up the way we had hoped, Lefty and I had to miss Paris for March 2016 . It’s such an incredible event, that there was no way I wanted to skip a post– so I asked a couple of friends and fellow tattoo wives to send me some photos from this year. One of the things that I absolutely love about being in this tattoo community, is the sharing and support that we often find! Thank you, ladies!! You rock. Truly.
Dawn Danroth, wife to veteran tattoo artist Clint Danroth and owners of Craftsman Tattoo Parlour, BC, kept me updated on what stood out to her-for her first time at the show! Dawn’s highlights were GOOD red wine in food courts (!!), excellent red wine EVERYWHERE, a gift of Pinot Gris from Alsace and Steph at Octopus Tattoo, and reportedly some of the best French Onion soup she had ever tasted at a café on St. Denis!
The lovely Ellen Chaboya also ran a booth with her multi-talented tattoo artist husband Nick Chaboya ( Nick Chaboya private studio, San Fran Bay Area) and sent me some awesome photos of the crowd, the custom Mondial Nissan Juke by Tin Tin, as well as shots of the Fender guitar Nick customized especially for the show! We spent a bit of time together last year, and it’s always a blast.
After years of hearing the stories, I finally got to see for myself– Puerto Rico is a beautiful, rich, lush, tropical paradise that lives life and loves to take it easy. This post has a little bit to do with wine–but there was more rum, adventure, and seafood to be had than grape growing! Not to mention that our first morning, husband found a Taste NY spot right down the street from the tattoo shop!
They’re waiting on their alcohol license, and after that, I hope to bring some of the Finger Lakes to Old San Juan! Get in contact with me if you’re interested in more info….
We stayed in Old San Juan for a week, while Lefty did a guest spot at Senzala Tattoo — the only tattoo shop in Old San Juan, and a solid spot for old school tattoo work, as well as a long list of fantastic rotating visiting artists. Eddie (or The Molina as I heard him called on several occasions) was booked pretty solid, but if you missed the chance to get tattoo work from him, he’ll be back soon.
I had a set amount of time to myself in Old San Juan for shopping, walking, and touristing (awesome little boutiques, local flavors, tourist traps, forts, museums) on foot- all very walkable, wear the good sandals or comfy flats.
It’s also relatively hot and humid, so billowy sundresses were the preferred threads. I showed a lot of tattooed skin, and passed out a LOT of business cards–good for me, good for everyone!
A few days into the trip, we escaped for a day of nature. Rainforest bound, we had to make a stop at Bebo’s BBQ. It’s an open air, pork bbq spot, right across from the airport. Bourdain knows about the porky goodness-I had to find out….it did NOT disappoint…
Venturing out of Old San Juan, we rented a car (CHEAP) –and the driving is nuts (no blinkers, zippy passing on the right shoulder kind of stuff), but I was with a semi-local, so….we had a day in El Yunque National Rainforest.
I wasn’t completely geared up, but just from the roads and a few light hiking paths I saw some of the most gorgeous natural rock formations, waterfalls, and wild . Next time we go back, I’ll have my Ithaca style hiking gear, for sure! The paths aren’t all maintained, but the views are spectacular, and the swimming holes are local treasures.
Later that evening, we drove about half an hour to Fajardo and the bioluminescent bay–an experience I will never forget! We kayaked with a group through mangrove groves in pitch darkness, only to come out into a sparkling bay–the winds were light, the glow was definitely there although low, and I got to hold a glowing, bioluminescent jellyfish. Next trip we will explore others as well! You can find more info here: Bioluminescent Bays in Puerto Rico.
Way too much for only one post, lots more we ate, saw, and tried to do– but what a first visit for me! I’ll always remember rum, pirate friends, parrots, serious pork, Demian and the Sick Of It All evening of hardcore bone breakage, bioluminescence, beauty, and loving the entire experience with my Puerto Rican husband.
Lefty and I are in PR for about a week, while he does an artist guest spot at Senzala Tattoo in Old San Juan! Many talented tattoo artists travel extensively, working out of shops around the world.
Lefty has international clients, and when we met years ago, he was spending a lot of time on the island of Puerto Rico–enough to have a client base and following here. Still does!
It’s been roughly seven years since he’s been here (owning a shop will unintentionally tie you down for a bit), but I definitely foresee trips becoming more frequent. I love seeing the pirate Lefty in his native environment! This is my first time, so I’m getting the full tour from the entire gang of characters here–gracious group of artists, every one.
I have a few boozy excursions planned, not to mention incredible foods, rainforests, and a bioluminescent bay to visit…stay tuned…
Follow along on my BoozyLife FaceBook page, on Twitter as @boozylife or on Instagram @missusmolina 🙂