The first annual Tahoe Tattoo Show wrapped up yesterday and it was amazing! Held in Harvey's Casino and Hotel in South Lake Tahoe, event-goers were treated to perfect weather, an excellent location, and a stunning array of tattoo talent. Why Tahoe? The promoters/organizers of this event - tattoo artist Ashley Racana and her husband, a tattoo addict who goes by "dats all folks" - are behind the internationally recognized Evian Tattoo Show. They realized that the locale of the Evian Tattoo Show, which is in the French Alps close to Lake Geneva, is very similar to the Lake Tahoe area, so they decided to set up a sister tattoo convention located in the US. I have always wanted to attend the Evian Show, not only for the incredible lineup of artists, but for the stunning location as well - and now we have our own version of it right here in the USA!
Some of the notable artists working at the convention included Nick Baxter, Teresa Sharpe, Kelly Doty, Andres Acosta, Mike Woods, Erin Chance, Jess Brown, Raptorlazer, Joe Caselart... the list goes on and on. Over 130 artists attended from around the world, making this a very talent-heavy show. I chatted with dats and he explained that most of the artists in attendance were there by invitation - many of them also regularly attend the prestigious Evian Show. The remaining slots were carefully awarded to artists hand-selected by dats after a jury process to make sure that every artist on the floor was excellent. When you walked the aisles, this level of quality control was on full display with every booth, featuring inspiring portfolios as well as awesome artwork for sale.
The convention is heavy on tattoo talent and light on filler. If you are looking for a "lifestyle event" with lots of entertainment, this is not the show for you. If you are a dedicated tattoo aficionado and want to watch some of the best artists in the world do their thing (and maybe do it on you), then this is the best show you could hope for. Many attending artists typically have waiting lists that are up to six months or longer, but attending fans were happy beyond description to find out that some of these artists had room for walk-ups at the Tahoe Show.
Another plus was the focused tattoo-related merch. No house blinds, fancy car chamois, or other crap that occasionally clutter convention floors as promotors try to maximize profits. Dats also carefully selects these vendors based on his belief in their products. Fusion and Eternal Ink, King Pin Supply, Quick Caps, and Saniderm were some of the handful of vendors present, making the convention floor a place for art and tattoos first and foremost.
A neat feature was the Saniderm booth offering to wrap any tattoo during the show with their amazing product. As I write this, my leg is covered in the stuff and healing beautifully. I was thrilled and honored that the original idea for my thigh piece by Teresa Sharpe was blown up into a full leg sleeve. We talked about placement at the copier and she asked the magic question, "How big do you want it?" I said the magic words, "As big as you want to make it," and now I am living my dream of being on Teresa's client list at long last!
Dats assured me that this will be an annual event every June, followed by the Evian Show in October. Make a note on the calendar for June 2017 and make sure you get out to this must-see convention in beautiful South Lake Tahoe next summer - I'll see you there!