I'm writing this while on the return flight from London. ( yeah i did write it then, but haven't had the chance to post it till now....over a week later ah well) I've watched some flat out awful movies, and figured I'm much better taking the next few hours thinking back on the week that just passed. As usual leaving a trip like that one has left me with mixed feelings. To start with, I had a pretty damned amazing time with the fellows I stayed with. Turk, Safwan, Jee and I all shared an apartment in east London. It would make me the fool to come out of that without at least wanting more out of myself. Conversations and the quiet time drawing at the apartment were as inspiring this trip as touring the city had been previous trips. We of course got out a bit to see the city and made the best of what little chance we had. On Monday we got out to the Freemasons' Hall, the United Grand Lodge of England. It certainly leaves a person with a sense of wanting to be better. When seeing the dedication and work that went into the construction and decoration of the hall, I had to come out of there wanting to be a better man. A similar feeling came last year while visiting Washington's chapel in valley forge, PA. It's funny how history can bring that out simply by showing what is possible with hard work, determination, and the desire to do something properly.
As for the convention itself, I was lucky enough to stay busy all weekend. There were a few new customers and a few I had worked with in previous years. Establishing the friendships with those folks really makes me count myself lucky. I could go on and on about how much I enjoyed sitting with each of the folks. Instead I'll post the photos of them and save you the long winded recount. I do however want to get into one of them, not to play favorites, but to express a particularly gratifying experience. As I've written in the past I have been conflicted with the idea of developing and even pushing a particular look and approach in my work. I have slowly been leaning more in that direction and this weekend one of my customers really allowed me to embrace that aspect. I tattooed him last year and we had talked about the more illustrative approach to my work. It
apparently struck a chord with him, and this year he really gave me something to sink my teeth into. He comes from a long family history of coal miners in Yorkshire England. To represent that he explained he wanted a zombie coal miner. There were a few specific elements he wanted to see somehow worked in, but left the overall design up to me. After sketching out some ideas, I had come up with the thought of having the miner holding a bird cage with a dying canary exhaling his last song. I had researched the history of English coal mining and saw that they had used the canaries as gas detection as recently as 1987.
That cinched it to me and I drew up the design. I was really excited when showing him the drawing he was into the canary idea. Especially since it sort of became a major element in the layout. By the time we finished our 6-7 hour sitting, he expressed that the bird and cage was his favorite part. We unfortunately didn't get the entire tattoo done, but we will surely finish next year. Heres some shots of a few of the tattoos from the show. most of the tattoo photos didnt come out very well, so here are the ones that at least look ok:
In another facet of last week, I got a call from Holly as soon as the plane landed in London. Apparently there was a leak in the middle of our waiting room. There are apartments upstairs, and there was a pipe issue from one of them. Thankfully Holly and the guys at the shop were able to deal with it without me. There was limited damage, but waiting for the property owner to act on putting things right may take too long. Awesome.
On top of shop issues, Holly had a ton of other responsibilities as well. We agreed to dog sit for some dear friends while they get married in Italy, and honeymoon in Spain. They have a rad young Boston terrier named Milo. Also she recently started back at school, so she was pretty overwhelmed while I was out enjoying myself. She's pretty awesome for supporting me so much and making it possible to take these trips.
So to Sum up and end this post, clearly my thanks are due. To the fellows I spent the week with, to the folks that were kind enough to let me work with them, to the guys at the shop for stepping up and taking care of the leak, and lastly and importantly to Holly for holding the the whole home front together.
Here are some more random shots from the weekend :