Empire State Tattoo Expo.

A weekend ago there was a tattoo expo a block from my house. Now, I don’t have any tattoos but I love every kind of art and did I mention it was a block from my house? I called up Snorth and off we went to the tattoo expo.


I didn’t take any pictures while I was there because I really wanted to focus on looking at all the displays and I took the risk that everything I saw would be on the internet. Luckily I was right, so all the pictures you see here were pulled off of the artist’s/company’s Facebook pages. We’ve all seen a great many tattoos in our lives and I was bracing myself for some unfortunate artwork. This guy I saw once comes to mind. I don’t think I saw any sub-par work. Every single artist I saw was above-average to out-of-this-world amazing. I could not believe the level of skill I was witnessing. I’m going to talk about three artists in particular, but here’s a quick glance at some of the other artists.

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The talent, it was awe-inspiring. The first artist I walked past that knocked me out of my socks was Nathan Mould. He hails from Pittsburgh and his work is mostly black and white geometric using pointillism to create gradations.

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He was selling a t-shirt and he could have charged fifty bucks for it, I would have bought it anyway.


Then the next two artists were focusing mainly on the vibrantly colored watercolor technique incorporating a computerized collage feel. I saw Ivana Belakova, originally from Slovakia, now working in L.A. She’s on the right.


I loved that she could tattoo any subject, but always in her very distinct style. You want a car? She does a car.


You want a portrait of your dog? You got it.


Or your kid? No problem.


How about a beet? Now everyone will want a beet. I sure do.


I loved her bird and animal work most, though.

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And the last artist I encountered was Justin Nordine (on the left). His studio is presently in Massachusetts. Snorth and I ended up talking to him while he prepared to tattoo a rainbow chameleon on a man’s thigh.

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Later when I went to his Facebook page, I saw the drawing of the rainbow chameleon and the finished piece! (No surprise, it came out brilliantly.)

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Here are the websites of all these artists. If you want to get something done by them, be prepared to wait several months. They have a long list.




While weaving up and down the aisles, I noticed an enormous inflatable something-or-other in the middle area. When we circled back around I realized it was a booth with giant jelly jar of moonshine on top from the Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine Company. I found a picture of the booth elsewhere, you’ll need to imagine it in a big open convention hall.


I asked if I could buy a jar and they said no, the law prohibits them from selling the jar. What I could have was a shot. A shot of moonshine. I don’t really drink ever and it was 11:30 in the morning, but when an opportunity presents itself you take it. I was given the choice of original, lemon drop, cherry or charred.


I voted for cherry, hoping that the fruit would mellow the inevitable burn of the 100-proof moonshine.


I said I just wanted a taste, but the nice man poured me about two shots worth and then threw four cherries in. Hoo boy. I sniffed it. It smelled like something you would clean a hospital with.

I took a sip. Have you ever drank poison? I imagine what happened is what would happen if you drank poison. First, my chest got all warm on the inside and my left eyelid decided to close. It was done for the day. Then I ate a cherry. My nose-bridge began sweating and my tongue went numb. All I could taste was metal. I am not exaggerating. Snorth was watching me, she can attest to all of this. I politely handed my still-full cup back to the nice man, said thank you as best as I could with my tongue (“thakkoo”) and tried to continue on my way. I turned to talk to Snorth and she said, “Yeah, you reek of rubbing alcohol.” Fumes were coming off of me. But now I can say I’ve tried moonshine. Another thing on my list of things to impress youngsters. “Gather ’round children, lemme tell you about the time I tried NyQuil-flavored-propane.”

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