Some may recall my enthusiastic blog report last fall on the Paradise Tattoo Gathering... Well, I'm gonna do it again! The World Wide Tattoo Conference, brainchild of Italian tattoo artist Alex De Pase and co-hosted by Gabe Ripley and TattooNOW.com, is a new first in the tattoo world; a two-day seminar event for professional tattooers, boasting lectures from six highly respected and influential global artists. More than 200 tattoo artists from around the globe travelled to St. Charles, Illinois to attend this specialized tattoo conference...
It's difficult to describe to members of our community just how profoundly different an environment it is to be surrounded by nothing but enthusiastic tattooers eager to learn, grow and (eventually) make meaningful contributions of their own to the legacy of our sacred craft. It was a transformative experience for all involved, attendee and presenter alike.
On the first day, registration lines were already forming at 8:30 a.m. for the 10 a.m. start time. Even more amazing is the fact that they were there with smiles on their faces: no griping, no whining, nothing but pure excitement to be in attendance. The 10 a.m. lecture was by the WWTC's creator (Alex De Pase) who (with the help of an interpreter) covered some of the basics of drawing and tattooing the human facial structures. This was followed by a short lunch break and another two-hour presentation (this one by fan-favorite Bob Tyrrell) on his techniques for black and gray portrait work.
Bob's seminar (like all the others) ended with an enormous ovation from the grateful crowd. Guy Aitchison's lecture, "The Extra Mile is Never Crowded," received a standing ovation from the crowd and the other participating lecturers. But day one wasn't over yet! After a one hour dinner break, all six presenters gathered on stage for a two-hour Q & A session on the topic of, "Finding your own style," moderated by Jeff Gogué.
Day two opened with an amazing (and highly recommended) seminar on holistic tattooing by Nick Baxter, followed by Boris' discussion of photo-realism techniques and ending with an inspiring (and candid) presentation by Jeff Gogué on laying aside your hang-ups in order to achieve future goals... Another standing-O, dinner break and panel discussion, this time moderated by Guy. The excitement and appreciation in this room were palpable by the end of this groundbreaking event, with people standing in line at every break just to thank the artists for teaching them something new and for inspiring them to reach their potentials.
What was TAM doing there?
Well, we were invited! And I was very curious to see how a specialized event like this one went down... I've got to say… it's the hunger and humility of the attendees that made the show!
Besides... I've long been an advocate for showcasing all the things great about the tattoo world and the artists who have, and continue to shape it. Most importantly, one of our primary goals at TAM is promoting positivity within our community and the larger culture. It is my firm belief that our future depends upon our collective ability to mature and adapt to this quickly-changing tattoo world we find ourselves in, and to move ourselves individually, from chronic and ineffective talking to intentional and cooperative actions to affect change for positive results in the future!
Well, I caught another glimpse of our collective potentials during this event, and I will continue to invite and encourage as many as possible to join in and contribute in as many ways, with as many varied perspectives as possible.
(The WWTC will be in London on Sept. 26-27, 2012.)