You can’t truly be a tattoo lover unless you can see tattoo artists work in person. That’s exactly why we spent our Friday night at the Pomona Body Art and Tattoo expo. There were several artists there from all over the LA basin, Northern California and Arizona. Many left their inhibitions at the door, dropping their chonies to get art work done by artists from all over the country. They didn’t seem to mind the needles grazing their skin and we’d have traded places with them in an instant had we had a bit of extra cash.
One thing that did disappoint me about the expo, however, was the fact that anyone who wasn’t tattooing was on their phone, oblivious to the audience that passed by their booth. We glanced as their portfolios without so much as a hello and moved on. Imagine all the business they missed while updating their Facebook status? I understand if you have personal business to attend to, but leave it outside. How can I consider you a professional artist if you can’t even look at my face?
I’m all for social media and staying in touch with friends, family and fans online. But there’s a time and place for everything. If you can’t commit yourself to market your work in a face-to-face environment, then why waste your time at an expo? I’m sure having a booth there wasn’t cheap. What a waste of money! There were a few times I tried to get the attention of artists, to say hi and ask them about the tattoos they’ve done, but instead I was fighting for just a mere second of their attention, and the most I got from eye-to-eye contact was a nod and “Give me a second…” Overall, so many of the artists lacked enthusiasm and passion for their craft. Even if their art work was outstanding, I was turned off by their apathetic attitudes and I wouldn’t even think to get work done by them in the future.
When we originally went to the tattoo expo, we were expecting to see crazy things like a rowdy young crowd, laughter and interesting conversations abound, but instead it was so terribly quiet. After doing an initial walk through, we’d seen enough.
Luckily, we did meet a few really cool people who made our $20 a piece entry frees worth it. Like Kathy and her boyfriend Alex Delgado, for example. Kathy rides a Harley and her man is a very talented artist who was the only one to leave the safe confines of his booth and walk out to shake our hands, talk to us about our tattoo ideas and offer some suggestions on how he could bring them to life. I was so enamored by his passion and outgoing personality, that even though he did not work for a tattoo studio, he showed more promise than the majority of his counter parts.
We also met Rick Gomes and his buddy from Outlaw Threadz. I’ve seen them before at Arizona bike week and these guys were a riot to talk to. They were funny, friendly and more than willing to devote more than a few minutes of their time to talk about their apparel. They left a lasting impression with us and I can’t wait to pick up some new duds from these guys. Hopefully, we’ll see them again at future events.
Overall the expo was a bit of a let down. There were hardly any local artists from the surrounding Inland Empire areas, probably because the cost of the event was extravagant. Just imagine all the money the artists lost while absorbed in their phones. Also, of all the tattooed people who attended, hardly any of them rode a motorcycle. We asked about a dozen people if any of them rode or knew someone who did and the majority of them said no. I guess bikers aren’t much for expos.
But if I had to take away something positive, it would be having met Kathy, Alex and the guys from Outlaw Threadz. You guys freakin’ rock. Thanks for making our experience worth it.