Voluta Tattoo attends the 15th Annual Motor City Tattoo Expo, Detroit, 2010

March 11, 2010  •  Leave a Comment

Detroit has not lost her fire!

Detroit is known worldwide for being belligerent. It has a long streak of anti-this and up-your that in its culture. Music, muscle cars, money, and mojo. Detroit runs hard and fast and it sometimes crashes, middle finger ablaze.

In the spirit of belligerence comes a man made from Detroit iron himself. Terry 'Tramp' Welker, the man atop the empire of Eternal Tattoo. Tramp is a man who generally does what the hell he wants. Ask around and you'll hear that no matter how you try to throw him, he will land on his feet.

In the face of Detroit's current hardships, Tramp did it again. He threw a fist at the gloom of Detroit, and he put on a tattoo convention. He pulled us together in the belly of the GM Tower to laugh and share and ward off the blowing snow. To Hell with the cold!

It worked like magic. Since this is the 15th Annual Motor City Tattoo Expo, Tramp and his crew are experienced at gathering the world's best tattoo talent. Eternal Tattoo hosts two annual conventions in separate states, formulates and sells brilliant tattoo inks, designs and manufactures solid tattoo machines, and houses some of greatest tattoo legends in her five shops throughout Detroit. All of that, in a breath, means that Eternal Tattoo is too damned mean to succumb to 'economic downturn'.

It's a good thing, too. We tattoo artists look to this show to remind us of what we're made of. The good tattoo artists of the world are busy. Very busy. Blazing our careers, covering the competition, and balancing rest and family. We lose track of time and the months click by. It's hard to find time to call or visit our contemporaries. This is why the Motor City show means so much to us. Stuck together in that monstrosity of a hotel (usually snowed in!) there is nothing but to pull up a barstool and share a pint.

And to share secrets! We swap gear to test out different technologies. We test prototypes, break them, tweak them, try them again, and things move fast. We help each other with shop politics, we whine, we tattoo each other, we share family albums, and we meet and greet the visitors who are tough enough to brave the cold to meet us. We teach and take seminars, swap wares, make videos, and raise oodles of money for many charities. We also move a few cocktails in the Volt Lounge. Thanks to Tim the Uber-Tender for keeping our glasses full!

This year Voluta Tattoo brought the finest crew yet to the Detroit show. Conan has three top-notch apprentices (count 'em!) who were well trained and ready for the hectic world of convention tattooing. Better yet, these are trustworthy artists who Conan is honored to call friends. This was Laura Black's second convention, Dina and Gerrit's first. Each tattooed all they wanted and had to turn away work. They met some great people and made lasting impressions on other industry artists. Voluta has a name on the convention circuit for elegance, diversity of portfolio, and professionalism. The three young artists premiered at Motor City this year were warmly received.

Conan got to see old friends and rub elbows with artists he's been working with for a decade. He was honored and floored when the lovely Caryl Cunningham (pronounced like Carol) of Eternal Tattoo asked him to tattoo her. They had a lot of fun inking and laughing, swapping tricks and techniques. Scot Winskye, the BOSS of tattoo in the Louisville, KY area, came around on occasion and directed Conan in how it's really done, and shared beers and fun with the Voluta crew into the wee hours.

Hew won an award for Best Sleeve! He and Conan put around 70 hours into his Patriot Sleeve and the whole world knew it when Hew pulled off his shirt. The award is for Top Three Artist Choice, as judged by a panel of the industry's great artists. Congratulations, Hew! 

Hew won an award for Best Sleeve! He and Conan put around 70 hours into his Patriot Sleeve and the whole world knew it when Hew pulled off his shirt. The award is for Top Three Artist Choice, as judged by a panel of the industry's great artists. Congratulations, Hew! 

Thanks to Holli and Neil for stepping off the Voluta turf into the fast current of the tattoo industry. Thanks to Bryan for helping with the booth and telling the world about Voluta. Thanks to Erin and Adam, tattoo aficionados, who had drinks and made us laugh until we were dizzy. Jerry, god love him, came to be tattooed by Conan for his third session at a major convention. By now the buzzing machines and the passersby are white noise for his tattoo naps! Ellorie and Jason came out to say hello, which is nice considering that we first met them at Detroit last year and have done a dozen sessions of tattoo since. Then Conan tattooed Jerry, Jason, and Ellorie for two days after the convention in Detroit. Thanks for great hospitality (13 flavors of Jenni's ice cream!) and priceless memories.

Thanks to Michele, Queen of Voluta, for being everywhere at once. She directs workflow, promotes synergy, remembers birthdays, sends faxes, talks to corporate, and makes everybody smile. She's the BOSS.

And every single one of us missed our dear Davey G. See you in Hell City brother!

All in all, this was Voluta's best year yet at the Motor City Tattoo Expo. We are proud to be on Eternal Tattoo's artist list and cannot WAIT to do it again next year!

BE THERE!

 


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