One of my favourite Tattoo Conventions kicks off this weekend in Toronto – and that’s the Northern Ink Xposure (NIX). In it’s 17th year, NIX has long showcased the talents of some of the worlds best tattoo artists and this year is no exception.
Conventions are a great way for collectors to pick up work by artists that don’t reside in their city, and also from artists whose books are normally filled up for months. Often attending Artists will have flash pieces designed specifically for tattooing during the convention.
Last year I got tattooed by Hilary Jane during the Northern Ink Xposure, and since then have acquired several additional pieces during other conventions.
So if you’re thinking about getting tattooed at a convention like NIX, here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your convention experience!
1. Find Out In Advance Which Tattoo Artists Are Attending.
With any large convention like the Northern Ink Xposure, it can be hard to know where to start sometimes. Luckily, the NIX site lists all the attending Tattoo Artists. Time to get your creep on and do some research in advance! Though many artists have professional portfolios available online, don’t neglect to have a look through their Instagram accounts! These are often more frequently updated, and it’s an easy way to get an overview of an artists range of work.
2. Try To Book A Tattoo Artist In Advance Or Go Early To The Convention.
Some Tattoo Artists will take bookings in advance, so if there’s an artist you’d love to get work done by, drop them an email! It can’t hurt, but don’t be disappointed if you don’t hear back as many will be inundated with messages leading up to a convention.
And while some artists will book ahead of NIX, some prefer in the spirit of a convention to take walk up’s at the show itself. In this case, it’s useful to go early and have a wander round to check out artist books and work in person.
3. Don’t Settle.
This is a big one – just because you’re at a tattoo convention doesn’t mean you *HAVE TO* get a tattoo. I know, I know – you hear the machines buzzing and tattoos are seriously addictive. But if you don’t find a piece you love or the right artist with time available don’t settle. Pick up some killer art prints or merch instead from an artist you adore!
4. Eat Before You Get Tattooed.
Dude. Do not get tattooed on an empty stomach. For reals. And no, coffee does not count as breakfast. Go get an awesome burrito or something before hand. You don’t want to tap out in the middle of a convention. It’s a different experience from getting tattooed in a shop – there’s a lot more noise, people walking around, a variety of distractions, and it can get warm with all those bodies in a room. SO EAT. And bring some water with you and easy to consume snacks to help you through.
5. Cash Is King & Tip Your Artist!
This may seem like a no brainer, but often this is something many tattoo newbs take for granted. Your artist will most likely be taking cash payments only. No Interac & certainly no Visa for the most part. People can be shy when questions of cost and money come up, but ask. Know in advance exactly how much your piece will cost and what payment methods your Tattoo Artist is able to accept at the convention. And most importantly – tip your artist! Whether a bottle of Jack Daniels or an extra $50 – it’s up to you what and how much, but it’s generally good form to tip your artist.