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…
A tattoo convention, in the heart of Santa Rosa wine country? YES PLEASE! Hot rod car culture, live rockabilly bands, and talented tattoo artists…that was the winning formula for (a newly revamped) The 27th Annual Santa Rosa Tattoos & Blues Festival, held February 23-25, 2018.
Located at the old-Hollywood-glam-style Flamingo Resort Santa Rosa, packs of pinup girls in full regalia meandered through rows and rows of classic cars outside, eyes stylishly shielded from the sun in retro cat-eye shades…
Once inside, tattoo artists from all over busily buzzed away, while groups of tattoo collectors mingled, perused, and added to their ever growing collection of tattoo work-be it a new tattoo, art hanging, or a hand painted, one of a kind sign for the studio. This is not a huge crowd convention, but has a big main room featuring the bulk of the artists, with a couple of smaller, more private satellite rooms. Hardly any vendors selling merch, but lots of cool tattoo work happening- and the lounge was often jumping with live music, long after the show had ended for the day. Musicians performing included local favorite rockabilly bands “The Rev Tones”, “The Vintage Vandals”, and “The Aces”.Heads up, when the convention floor is overwhelming….the Flamingo Resort has a pool area (featuring two Olympic sized pools, with lap lanes), a gym (including hot yoga classes), massage therapy, and is the perfect place to get your self-care, pamper-time on! Too bad it was chilly outdoors, the water was quite nice and warm…not lay by the pool weather, even in CA.
Tip for the pinup buffs, hanging on the wall by the lounge, there are some really cool vintage photos of Jayne Mansfield in a bikini, posed by the Flamingo Resort pool in ultra pinup glam fashion, circa 1960.
The updated Flamingo hotel lobby design also features wine displays from Ehret Family Winery in Santa Rosa, which focuses on sustainable growing practices, growing Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux grape varieties. Sonoma and Napa Counties were hit hard during the Thomas fire, and there was structure damage in Santa Rosa–but less than three percent of local wineries were impacted! The best way to support the winery trails are to get out there, and visit tasting rooms. The Santa Rosa wine community is ready to welcome wine tasters and tourists back, complete with open arms and full wine glasses…the least we can do is show up and enjoy the world class hospitality they have to offer.
Full sad disclosure, I was still getting over a sinus infection, so my tasting tour for Sunday was mostly as a photographer–the mustard cover was in full bloom, and it’s on my bucket list to see! We stopped at Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate and Gardens to explore the property and frolic through a bit of ground cover mustard greens (*plus, I wanted to report back to our winemaker friend Nathan Kendall in the Finger Lakes that I had finally visited and toured the notorious behemoth KJ winery that has all the rights to his last name…).
Even with the sniffles, husband took me for a quick taste (and of course to grab a couple of bottles) of the delicious new 2017 Pinot Noir Rosé at Balletto Vineyards. The tasting room was hopping with guests, and our tasting host was nice enough to give me a complimentary pour of the rosé…even though I was sick, and already sold. Gorgeous light pink blush color, partial whole cluster crush, and juicy ripe fruit on the nose is what I have to look forward to once I’m recovered–a perfect way to end the weekend–with a haul of rosé….
A quick detour to Bohemian Creamery in Sebastopol led to the discovery of a boutique goat cheese spot, crafting some of the most lovely, delicately nutty, funky cheeses I’ve tasted this side of Corsica. We bought a chunk of delight home with us, especially to pair with the Balletto Rosé. Don’t miss it! Super fun spot, and a cheese tasting is always worth stopping off for.
A big thank you goes out to the folks that worked hard to put on the new incarnation of Santa Rosa Tattoos & Blues, from the entertainers and artists, to the security and convention center crew. It was fantastic to attend a tattoo expo, right in the heart of California wine country, bringing my two loves together in a way I’ve never seen before! We will definitely be back…and just maybe, next year, there will be an official BoozyLife booth!
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 ❤️
Occasionally, worlds collide in the smallest, yet most impactful of ways. The lives of incredibly tiny, but unquestionably strong individuals, and the actions that they cause, can touch so many.
I recently had the opportunity to get a preview tasting at Damiani Wine Cellars for a very special limited release Riesling – totaling only 192 cases. The wine is made from Riesling grapes from a single field, that survived difficult conditions, but produced something incredible. A hail storm damaged much of the crop, but what was left hanging had truly unique character.
From Damiani notes– SPECIAL NOTE: In late July of 2014 our DWC Riesling vineyard was struck by hail, badly bruising more than half of the fruit, but we were determined to do our best to save the damaged grapes. After fermentation with native yeasts, we found that not only did the fruit survive a seemingly catastrophic event, but the juice thrived and became something truly different and unique. In deference to this miraculous transformation and as a heart-felt thank you to the countless medical professionals who had a hand in the healing of our winemaker’s young son Rhys, who was born with a congenital heart defect, a portion of the proceeds from each bottle sold will be donated to help fund children’s cardiac research.
The wine truly is something special, with such elegant floral and peachy notes that sing through, and a beautiful golden color. I was very impressed with the delicate structure, as well as the sentiment. It was the perfect Finger Lakes wine to share with another very special part of our extended tattoo family in Canada, that also had a pediatric cardiology journey of their own!
Lucas and Jayme Ford are an incredibly visually talented couple, he a tattoo artist/ machine builder and she a photographer in Red Deer, Alberta Canada. They are the owners of Classic Tattoo Co. and also the proud parents of beautiful boys. Recently, their little guy Hudson went through his own cardiac journey…and the folks around him rallied, came together, and created the Hudson Heart Project. Classic Tattoo Red Deer –Hudson Heart Project blog post excerpt from mama Jayme’s 2015 event, that raised over $30k–
Hudson is a very special little boy and he would not be here had it been for the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation. I stood back a few times during the event and was completely overwhelmed by how much everyone put into this…how much time the volunteers put in to set up, how far some of them drove (up to 4 hours one way), the incredible tattooers that drove long distances and donated their talent & 15 hours their time (one of whom had just got back from France, slept and then drove up from Calgary to help), the volunteers that took time out of their weekend, the local businesses that donated food, coffee, snacks, hair cuts, etc….just completely overwhelmed with love. Haylen’s Ice-Cream Shop raised over $250 selling $2 popsicles for the Ronald Mcdonald House here in town, bringing his total to $1255!and last but absolutely not least….YOU. All 180 of you that got tattooed & the ones that simply donated out of the kindness of your hearts. To everyone that got up early, drove hours, waited in line patiently, you ALL are just so incredible, the vibe at the shop was so happy and every one was there for the right reasons. There was not one complaint.So again, I want to express my gratitude to everyone involved. We did it…..$30,459!!!!!!- Jayme Ford and the CTC CREW
These two little boys have brought so much love, fight and support to this world! Rhys and Hudson are responsible for helping many other children and parents, in two different countries, on separate coastlines–and will continue to bring hope to others on the same road. I absolutely had to grab a couple of bottles of Dry Rhysling from Damiani…which are now on their way to Red Deer, and the Ford crew! Perfect way to connect my love of the Finger Lakes wine community, and our international tattoo family….they have more in common than I ever could have realized.
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 🙂
Finally, after years of being the airport drop-off driver for this very commonly repeated trip, I’m tagging along to Puerto Rico with the husband! Early December, my man Lefty will be back at it, doing a guest spot at Senzala Tattoo in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico–one of the oldest existing cities in America. I’ll be blogging along the way, hanging out at the tattoo shop, trying local delicacies and boozy beverages galore–when I’m not touring rainforests and a bioluminescent bay…..and beaches, and hiking….
Have any recommendations for stops along the way that I absolutely shouldn’t miss? Leave a comment here, on my FB page, or tweet at me on Twitter @BoozyLife 🙂
Aaaand, if you’d like to schedule a tattoo appointment with Lefty while we’re in PR, get a hold of Senzala Tattoo for any tattoo availability and booking (follow the link above)!
The official videos from Holiday Ink 5 are starting to come out! Have a look at these YouTube links to see where we were, and what we were doing when we travel to distant lands! Cameos from Lefty and myself in both, but you’ve got to watch closely….and the knuckles being tattooed as the first video starts–you all know THAT artist and his fancy letters! Links below, have a watch and see what we do out on the road….see you out there!