It has been a VERY frigid February in the Finger Lakes, with temperatures falling below zero for extended cold snaps lasting multiple nights. The Finger Lakes themselves are freezing over, with only Cayuga and Seneca not completely iced over. Seneca has not frozen over for generations, and the view of the lake with ice crusts floating on the surface is stunning. Time will soon tell if the temperatures have caused damage to grapevines along the shores of the Finger Lakes. The lakes create microclimates that help keep temperatures just a bit higher near the deepest bodies of water (Seneca and Cayuga are deepest), but this February has been brutal. Although the cold is difficult to bear, the beauty of a frozen winter here is beautiful.
Today Is February 22, which means in ONE WEEK I will be headed to Paris, Corsica, Rotterdam, and Amsterdam with my husband Eddie-I’m a lucky bitch. Keep checking in on this BoozyWife, things are about to get interesting!
Hey kids! Check out the new video promoting the Paris Tattoo Convention! It’s a short spot, highlighting what’s so great about this show–amazing artists, tattoos, music, culture, and a high-end, selective representation from the best in our current tattoo community. Have a look, BoozyLife will be there in exactly ONE MONTH from today!
Tattoo Conventions are a huge business, and show numbers are growing exponentially worldwide. Promoters compete for the best weekends, and to host the biggest names in tattooing. Larger cities and markets often have the highest regarded shows- Paris and London are long running, premiere events that artists try to plan their schedules around. Serious tattoo collectors often follow favorite artists on social media, and travel hundreds of miles for a sitting with an artist they might not otherwise have access to. Sites like Facebook and Instagram help artists to gain exposure internationally, and connect first hand with potential clients. So, what happens at these things? Why would a tattoo artist go out of their comfort zone and hit the road?
NETWORKING- Conventions are a great place to expand your circle. The best of the best choose only particular shows- if you’re good enough to get in, you’re hanging with the top percentage of artists practicing the craft.
Meeting other artists and connecting on a personal level sets up future growth potential. ‘Guest spots’ are essentially invites to work at another shop for a small amount of time, which enable artists to learn from each other and work in a different space. Give and take to build and grow within the circle.
TATTOOING- YES, tattoo artists tattoo at tattoo conventions. Seems like common sense, right? Artists pay for a booth that has all of the necessities to work,- tables, chairs, electricity, and basic supplies are provided (paper towels, electricity, etc.). Artists vary in setup: some bring a banner and their equipment, others can enjoy more showmanship and decorate the booth with a bit more flare. Convention promoters for high end shows focus on safety, for clients as well as artists. If you want to get tattooed by a particular artist, it’s always a good idea to communicate with them first! Email usually works best, and setting up an appoint will guarantee that you’re not left out of getting tattooed. Saturday is usually the busiest day of any show, so plan accordingly.
EXPOSURE- Getting out there builds a tattoo artist’s name as well as client base. The more people that see you on the road (artists and clients alike), the more familiar you become within the tattoo industry. Magazines and media cover larger shows, and now it’s pretty common to see TV cameras too. Nothing like a good freak show! 🙂
TRAVEL- If you had a job that allowed you to see the world, and it required your dedication and energy and study to continue to improve and grow? Would you? Tattoo artists take advantage of these opportunities, absorbing reference and details from touring like sponges. Artwork is a living process, and the work these artists produce is even more so. Seeing this great big world adds a level of a different consciousness, and a tie to the world history of tattooing.
LOCATIONS- So, where the hell are these tattoo conventions? Damn near everywhere! If it’s a major city, there is at least one major show. If there are no shows near you, chances are you’re not living in a metropolitan area! Want to go to one? TRAVEL!! Drive, fly, however….don’t stagnate and wait for one of these shows to come to you in the stix. Make a weekend of it, spend a day at the show, and then enjoy the area you’re in! That’s where I came up with the BoozyLife–conventions are fun, but unless you’re getting tattooed CONVENTIONS ARE BORING AFTER A FEW HOURS. YOU CAN ONLY WALK SO MANY LAPS AROUND THE FLOOR BEFORE YOUR EYES GLAZE OVER. Head to a city, catch a convention, and see what that particular city has to offer! I focus on mostly wineries and booze, but tattoo artists LOVE to eat at the highest rated gourmet restaurants– also a tradition for Sunday night dinner at the wrap of the show. If you see a gang of heavily tattooed, usually slightly loud men and women headed into your restaurant after eight on a Sunday night? LET THEM IN. They will make it worth your while (servers LOVE these guys!)
Now that you have all that info, where is a show near you? Well, we landed in Ithaca because it’s rural, but about four hours central to several hubs we use a lot. (NYC, Toronto, Montreal). Rochester is now home to the Roc City Tattoo Expo, best upstate NY convention by far– this year May 1st-3rd! http://www.roccitytattooexpo.com
We also use the website http://www.worldtattooevents.com This comprehensive calendar lists conventions in the US, Europe, Canada, and damn near everywhere else in the world. No matter where you are, Waldo….there’s a show (and probably a winery or two) worth checking out. Keep reading BOOZYLIFE to see where we end up next…catch you soon kids!
Well, it seems appropriate that my last tattoo sitting this year will be with my husband, in our shop, and will complete the fancy lettering above my knees–BoozyLife. Why appropriate? Lefty traveled to Europe, Korea, and Japan this year, almost exclusively known for his fancy lettering. Now, I will finally have some of it on me to show off! Plus, I’m pretty invested in my new career path of beverage aficionado, so why not? Beverage aficionado, tattooed lady, dog mom. Sweet!
I’ve met some interesting wine writers and professionals that are intrigued by tattoos, and wino tattoo artists that want to tour wineries and distilleries. I’m looking forward to bringing my two favorite things together for another round. Stay tuned, there should be a YouTube channel coming soon…there will be things you need to SEE, not just read about. Trust me, kids.
So, what’s on for 2015? More Finger Lakes wine and spirit recognition, lots more travel, more tattoos….and who knows…who would buy a BoozyLife wine bag? I’m thinking it’s time to start a BoozyLife revolution 😉
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
I’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
Ah, Cornell. We in the Finger Lakes have often heard of cold temperature tolerant grapes, created hybrids by Cornell Agriculture. Some of these hybrid grape varieties, such as the Seyval and Vignoles, have become stapes while on our wine trails. The hybrid grapes are less delicate, can withstand our growing climate, and often need less pesticides to be protected.
With that in mind, I’ve heard the Finger Lakes described as the Wild West, where anything can still happen, and the risks are taken along with gains and losses. Dave Peterson, owner of Sweedish Hill, Goose Watch, and Penguin Bay wineries, decided to take one of those risks in 2005. He planted Aromella in one of his Cayuga Lake vineyards–and it took eight years for those vines to produce fruit, plus another year in production before the wine would be released. The Aromella release is a limited two hundred cases, and can be found ONLY at Goose Watch Winery on Cayuga lake. Great reason for me to take a quick drive up the lake! I love trying things that are out of the mainstream, and what better wine to try than one that is made exclusively in one place?
Just so you, reader, know what we’re dealing with, Aromella is a white hybrid grape, and parents are also hybrids-Traminette (of Gewurtztraminer lineage), and Ravat 34. It is similar to a Moscato, but less sweet and as more grapefruit and spice characteristics from the Traminette parentage.
The 2013 Aromella from Goose Watch run down: 2.7 percent RS (residual sugar), 11.5 percent alcohol. ONLY available at Goose Watch, 200 cases limited run. Tasting-Aromella was light, with notes of peaches and lychee (I’ll say tropical fruit because I am slightly lychee obsessed!). I was surprised that at 2.7 RS, the wine still wasn’t sweet, and the balance of the wine was crisp and pleasant. A really nice sipper, actually. I love my dry wines, but Aromella has enough Traminette influence to take the fruity notes and mellow them with spice and citrus. Quite lovely, and I’m very glad we took the little adventure. A few bottles came home with us, along with another favorite of mine-Dry Cabernet Franc Rosé, because, well….wine.
Living in a fast growing wine area like this is exciting, and there are new grapes and experimental wine creations happening all over the Finger Lakes area. These vinters have talent, balls (especially the ladies, ahem) and are ready to take risks to forward the craft. How could you not think that the tattoo and wine worlds are very complimentary to one and other? Gotta love the risk takers, they’re the ones that really make strides.
Read more about Aromella on Syracuse.com, Aromella is the Newest Finger Lakes Wine. If you get the chance to try it, let me know what you think in the comments below! Enjoy 😉
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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!