Happy New Year!!! I am looking forward to 2019. It is the year of the pig in the Chinese zodiac and as a wood Dragon, the year of said pig is supposed to be very lucky for me. Unlike 2018 which was the year of the Dog. A dog which bit me repeatedly.
I used to be quite up to date on my Chinese horoscopes. Somewhere along the way I lost interest. I decided to google it this morning just out of interest. Upon reading it again my interest is renewed, what I have just read is quite uncanny. Fingers crossed that it is correct. It certainly described 2018 accurately for me in hindsight.
2018 was a test, thats for sure. Histamine intolerance was identified as my allergy of choice, so whilst you were more than likely enjoying your fermented beverage last night I had a coffee and an early night. Visited the family tree, turns out its a poison Oak. On the tattooing front we started 2018 with a break in and cancellation of all our convention plans.
As a result of said break in my Marine Tank went into shock and I lost my little underwater family, a major factor in my decision to close the iaintnosaint Tattoo Studio in Abbots Langley. The fish really had become the soul of the studio in my mind. It was not the same without them.
Dog year 2018 played one last prank on me. My beard fell out, along with my eyebrows and all of my hair, a result of alopecia universalis. I am not completely devastated, as something of a miser I am happy to have saved a few pennies on haircuts. My theory is this: Now that my diet is histamine free, my immune system has nothing to do. Traditionally it has been busy attacking histamine, now there is little or no histamine it has decided to take out my hair follicles. The human body really is an interesting contraption. The more I listen to my body the more I learn.
Was the year of the dog also the death rattle of the one man tattoo studio? I don’t get out enough to be sure but from a personal point of view it felt like it. There are so many tattoo studios now and so many artists, the industry has changed dramatically and at speed. I am neither an “Old School” nor “New School” tattooer, as a late starter I sit on the cusp. it was not I who gave tattooing secrets to big business thereby turning the craft into just another “game”.
Expect to see amazing art on skin in 2019. The technology is now so advanced that it cannot be ignored. It comes at a cost of course, knowledge and skills will be lost because the machines will do it for us, so no “elbow grease” is required. We don’t even make a noise anymore.
Tattoos from the On The Road Studio
So its been quite a sad year for my tattooing, with the realisation that as much as I loved my old machines and swore allegiance to the coil. The machines were actually holding me back, in particular with my colour work. The manufacturers who now run the tattoo industry have made sure that in order to use the wonderful needles that they supply we have to have the matching machine. It’s a machine with a lifespan, unlike my traditional machines. When it breaks, which it will, I either buy a new one or pay the manufacturer to repair it. A bit like a modern car, who said romance is dead?
Don’t get me wrong, 2018 was not a total write off. I did have a lot of luck with the new mobile studio. The year ended very well with some pretty cool adventures that highlighted the tattoo race truck’s potential. Christmas morning in London in the early hours provided some great shots and I cannot wait for some of the summer adventures to be had in the truck. Having done little more than what you see on the website by way of promoting the truck, my diary for 2019 has some nice big gaps in it. The question is, how will I fill them? Perhaps it’s time for some resolutions.
Truly I am desperate to get out to the Isle of Man TT this year. My ultimate goal is to turn it into an annual working holiday. Both the TT and the Classic TT. I am already in discussion with the authorities on the Island. This is not a simple venture, a company may need to be formed and work permits obtained. Having checked out the Isle of Man Steam Packet ferry costings I may need to find a partner or sponsorship from another company.
I shall be writing to Red Bull, Monster Energy, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha and just about anyone else that I can think of. To see if they would like the truck to attend one of their promotions. Hopefully I can get the truck to a few British Superbike Races this year for the weekend, superbikes by day and a bit of stealth work by night perhaps?
Having contacted a couple of motorcycle related brands already, confidence is high. People like the race truck a lot. Having decided to avoid festivals due to my “no shoes in the truck” policy. I am hopeful that some Tattoo Conventions will pick up on my new venture.
My first enquiry to a well known convention was met with a rather condescending “why would we want a mobile tattooer at our convention?” a typical response in this creative and visionary industry I fear. Seeing is believing and I think a few invitations will be forthcoming as word get around.
The positives were few and far between in 2018 but I will take what I can get. On The Road Tattoo is most certainly a positive. With all of the hard work done. 2019 is set to be a lot less stressful, a lot more fun and an ongoing adventure. Exactly, in my opinion what tattooing should be about, having fun. Happy New year to you and yours!
Images of the On The Road Truck – inside and out – including all of the locations we have been to…
Don’t Get Left Behind!