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Eight Year Tattoo Anniversary –My Road to a Backpiece

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From the time I was young, I had an infatuation with New York City. Maybe it was the fact that my uncle had cable, and after school I would watch cartoons that were littered with commercials for magical places like Toys R Us and Macy’s, where children played with toys that came to life. So much excitement, so many things to do! I needed to go there. My first trip to NYC was with my fifth grade art history club. We went to a few major museums, the Village, the World Trade Center (still have pics from the observation windows), and Chinatown, where one of my teachers was pick pocketed in the bathroom of the buffet restaurant by a tricky woman of at least eighty. By the time we made it back to the bus, I was in tears. I didn’t want to leave-there was the feeling that I was missing something, that I was leaving something behind. I would make many trips, always wanting to stay there, missing that other piece of myself when I left.

I finished my time in Upstate NY, and spent the next twelve years moving around the east coast for my job as an event photography manager for Kodak. When the eventual management spot opened in NYC, I fought to get it-and the spot was mine. I managed the Kodak imaging area for the new World of Disney on 55th St. and Fifth Avenue. I also started researching tattoo artists-I had decided to take the next step and start a traditional Phoenix back piece. After almost a year and change, I was introduced to tattoo artist Eddie Molina through a friend of a friend. His tattoo work fit what I had in mind perfectly, and he worked all custom on large pieces, meaning the piece would be drawn on to fit my body’s natural curves.

From outline to color-six months

From outline to color-six months

Eddie was in a transitional period where he was trying to leave the city for a while and get perspective on what he wanted to do in his future tattooing career. I sat for him once a week, sometimes twice, in the fear that one day Eddie would leave and I would have to find him to finish my back. It was an unfounded fear, but one that I had starting such a large piece. My first sitting we lined in the entire bird; second sitting was the entire tail and feathers. Progress was fast, and I was investing most of my spare time to it as well. A back piece is a huge investment, not only financially but emotionally as well as physically. Trust in your artist is paramount.

I was paying hourly for my tattoo, every session, but I often felt like I wasn’t doing enough to compensate Eddie for what he was giving me. My Phoenix is a symbol, my own forever talisman. It reminds me that I am a strong, fierce, powerful female energy, and completion would mark my journey towards being the woman I wanted to eventually be. The divine female power, forever etched in my skin. I became Eddie’s go-to gal, driving him to JFK and saving cab fares for multiple trips. After all, I was still stubborn enough to keep a car in Queens. We became friends outside the studio, spending too many hours trapped in traffic on the Grand Central Parkway, and Eddie came to recognize that he was as much of a shaman to me as a tattooer.

Finished main image

Finished main image

We started the piece in June of 2006. We were finishing the final touch up session on my bird November 22, 2006-just six months from the start of the Sharpie sessions. I could not believe how fast Eddie accomplished the goal, and how much the entire process had meant to me as a woman growing into her own skin, to decorate it with meaning. I was over the moon with my new work…and a few weeks later, already missing our tattoo sessions, called him to say thank you again. It turned out my tattoo artist missed seeing me too, and asked me out for dinner and a movie. We went to a lovely churrasco for dinner, then saw Happy Feet in IMAX. (Yes, the penguin movie. Don’t judge, that set me up for a marriage full of animated joys! Ha!) Afterwards, we walked to the train station through Central Park, wandering in the moonlight. Looking back, I’ve never had another night like that.

So, eight years later–We moved upstate, bought a house, got married, and adopted a few fur kids. Eddie built his dream tattoo shop, and here we are, making a go of it.20130423-112450.jpg We’ve both lost a parent, family close to us, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Eddie travels internationally for his tattoo career, sometimes going as far as Japan or Korea. Our life together isn’t always easy, there are challenges and balances and difficulties just like anything else. We have each other, and we figure it out as we go.

Walking down the aisle, showing my artwork

Walking down the aisle, showing my artwork

As for my Phoenix? It took six months to finish the main image of the bird, and the last seven years working on background elements. No rush anymore, so we’ve taken the slow and steady path. My background is now a collaborative effort with our good friend Cory Ferguson , owner of Good Point Tattoo Oakvile ON.

Eddie n Cory, my magicians

Eddie n Cory, my magicians

This. Is. SPAAAARTAAAAAA!!

This. Is. SPAAAARTAAAAAA!!

Husband's turn

Husband’s turn

The piece has been a reflection of my journey into the tattoo world, so I’m excited to also have a close friend add to it.

progress

progress

IMG_1302I’m not sure how much longer we have to go with my back. Hell, it might never truly be finished, which is now a reflection of my life in the tattoo world. Strangest thing though, whenever I leave NYC now? I never feel like I’m leaving part of myself behind anymore….I think I took him with me. <3

Us.

Us.

TasteCamp 2014 -the Hudson River Valley Tour

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Tomorrow, I’m headed to TasteCamp! Check out the link for more info! TasteCamp New York Cork Report

Our starting point tomorrow is Millbrook Winery , so keep your eyes peeled for BoozyLife posts here, and of course on FB, Twitter, and Instagram! Hasta mañana kids

New York Apples and the Hard Cider Revolution (and how BoozyLife was ahead of the curve)

Harvest season

Harvest season

Last week, the New York Times posted an article that really caught my attention. Article link: Sips from a Cider Spree in New York State. The local hard cider scene has been jumping since we moved to the Ithaca area eight years ago-what’s different is that people are more open minded and willing to taste local creations.

Local hard ciders have a special place in my heart. Personal boozy story: On a visit home to the upstate NY area almost ten years ago, my mom wanted to take me to a new winery that had opened relatively close to our neck of the woods. Black Bear Winery is a spot off of the beaten path and ‘wine trails proper’, but they specialize in hard ciders, meads, and fruit wines. After a tasting, I concluded that I liked the ciders, and particularly the Cracklin’ Maple Hard Cider was delicious. Hard apple cider, blended with house made maple syrup. Tart, mellow, slight sweetness, autumn in a glass. I bought a couple of refillable growlers, and have refilled them several times since. Black Bear has grown from a by appointment and event farm rental spot, to open year round and quite successful! At least five years after that first tasting at Black Bear, I married my husband at the end of September, here in Ithaca. We served Black Bear’s Cracklin’ Maple Hard Cider for the toast at our wedding, instead of the traditional champagne. The cider had more meaning, and it was so reminiscent of the fall in upstate NY that I wanted our guests from all over the world to experience that flavor; champagne was too formal for our outdoor waterfall ceremony, and the cider was truly a hit!

Cracklin' Maple Hard Cider from Black Bear for our toast

Cracklin’ Maple Hard Cider from Black Bear for our toast

In the NY Time’s article I mentioned, the author Freda Moon tours the Upstate NY Apple growing areas about five hours from NYC. She hit several local cider stops, and even gave a quick run down of her time spent in Ithaca:

“Ithaca was a decadent couple of days in which cider seemed to appear in every possible form. We had a cider flight with dinner at the too-popular Just a Taste tapas restaurant, where our wait was over an hour. The next day, at Maxie’s Supper Club and Oyster Bar, I ordered a Cider Sidecar of Maker’s Mark, Cointreau, a Finger Lakes Distilling’s Maplejack liqueur and an unspecified local cider before a spectacular three-course cider pairing dinner at Hazelnut Kitchen in Trumansburg.”

The guys at Finger Lakes Distilling are also making some incredible products, and I was glad to see she sampled some of their wares at Maxie’s Supper Club, one of our favorite spots in Ithaca. The Cider Sidecar is a drink that is an anxiously awaited seasonal cocktail, signaling that fall has officially arrived. Sweet and tart, with a mellow maple kick, sitting in Maxie’s listening to live music on the outdoor deck, watching the world go by. I love living here in fall.

Montreal Tattoo Art Show 2014 ~ Smoked Meat & Graffiti With a Style All Of It’s Own

Inside Art Tattoo Montreal 2014

Inside Art Tattoo Montreal 2014

Ah, Montreal. I really love this city. It holds vague memories from my college days, partying across the border, and all night revelry in drag bars. I know a slightly different Montreal these days, full of amazing artists, galleries, tattoo shops, and most of all a sense of community and hospitality. Pierre Chapelan and Val Eamond of Studio Tattoo Mania Montreal took over running and hosting the entire show themselves this year, and it was a fantastic weekend with inspiring artists–and the addition of a full service espresso bar was a very appreciated amenity by myself as well as MANY others during the super busy weekend.

Chris Nunez at work

Chris Nunez at work

 

Tin Tin from Paris

Tin Tin from Paris

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Hennig working on a side

Gare Windsor

Gare Windsor

The location for the show is the Gare Windsor which is a beautiful location full of natural light for the artists. No detail was too small to be overlooked, and the crew (as well as Val and Pierre) made the show one of the most efficiently run I have ever been to.  If you needed ANYTHING, no matter how small, they had you covered and quickly. Lines of tattoo fans stood outside in line to get in to see the artists buzzing, and stroll the rows of artwork and booths full of inspiration.

Contests

Contests

I definitely spent a bit less time at the show this year, but I spent much more time walking around the city. Her is one of me cheesing in the booth, though.

In our booth

In our booth

Evan Dowdell-Time Will Tell Tattoo

Evan Dowdell-Time Will Tell Tattoo

After a very successful show, Monday was the day for Lefty and I to hit the town together, which meant smoked meat, poutine, and a Frankenstein combination of the two from Schwartz’s Deli. We stop here every time we are in Montreal, and if you’re a pastrami fan, don’t miss it! We always grab a sandwich and sit at one of the community tables, then head next door to the take out side for stuff to take home (the poutine is only available on this side–DO IT.)

Happy, Hungry Lefty

Happy, Hungry Lefty

Schwartz's Deli goodness

Schwartz’s Deli goodness

Meat and more meat

Meat and more meat

Montreal also has a graffiti scene that has a style and flavor–everywhere you look, there is amazing artwork. Stroll the alleys, search it out. Keep your eyes peeled or you might miss something extraordinary! The street painting is everywhere, and these guys are straight painting with their cans. I took several shots of some of my favorites, but photos really do them no justice, and they might be gone with the blink of an eye.

On plain brown paper

On plain brown paper

Mason mural

Mason mural

In an alley

In an alley

Insane detail

Insane detail

Such an amazing piece

Such an amazing piece

Angles

Angles

Details

Details

Details

Details

Rat

Rat

Details

Details

Mural

Mural

Details

Details

Details

Details

Details

Details

After a day of running around exploring the city, we headed back to Studio Tattoo Mania to say our thank you’s and goodbyes. There was quite a group of artists there, exchanging ideas and working on new tattoos. The energy was everything that tattoo artists and tattoo lovers enjoy–the free exchange of ideas and love for the craft. Thank you to Pierre and Val for hosting a wonderful show yet again–we will see you next year or even earlier!

Studio TattooMania, Montreal

Studio TattooMania, Montreal

Iced Hard Cider from the apple region

Iced Hard Cider from the apple region

Artist huddle at TattooMania

Artist huddle at TattooMania

Outside of TattooMania

Outside of TattooMania

Show Poster 2014

Show Poster 2014

Repost: Needles and Sins Tattoo Blog | Demetra Molina: Berlin 2013 and Riesling

I’ve started a guest blogger series on Needles & Sins Tattoo Blog, give it a read! Coming soon to a convention near you…BoozyLife…..Needles and Sins Tattoo Blog | Demetra Molina: Berlin 2013 and Riesling.