The Third Convention for Iaint Nosaint this year… From axel grinding, to pop-punk bands, foot Tattoos and a photo realistic Barry Sheene thigh piece. See how we got on at the Wrexham Tattoo Show 2017…

After a difficult journey getting to Wrexham, North Wales on the Friday evening we arrived in time to get hold of our passes for the weekend, find the booth and then make some dinner.  Despite this being our third convention, I (Anna) still haven’t quite grasped the concept of organisation needed.  Unfortunately this meant that things were a little more difficult than they should have been which set our weekend up to be more stressful than it needed to be.

I (Iaint) used to be able to get two GSXR 1000’s, tools, wheels and complete race set up on to a home converted 7.5 tonne truck.  Drive it to any race track in the country, race all weekend, reload it, drive it home and be at work on a Monday morning.  Time has changed me; getting a stool, box and a bench on a professionally converted VW Crafter and driving to a tattoo convention seems to now be beyond me.  I need to sort my life out.

Waking up on Saturday morning there were lots of things to do : we needed to get ourselves ready, set up the booth and Iaint had to draw up the piece he would be doing on me that day.  So we went to the gym first thing in the morning and arrived to find that seemingly a lot of people in the North of Wales go to the gym at 6am on a Saturday morning.  They also appear to like everywhere (not just outside) to be freezing cold, which meant the gym and changing rooms were not the best temperature to get you energised for the day ahead, but at least we were wide awake.

The gym was the most expensive we have used so far, it was also the coldest both in temperature and reception.  The shower was invigorating.

We pressed on and got the the Venue for the first Wrexham Tattoo Show 2017.  It was being held in the William Aston Hall at Glyndwr University.  Being an auditorium with a Stage, the hall was sloped.  Of course to watch a performance this is ideal…to tattoo in, not so much.  We loaded all of our bits into our booth and firstly had to contend with catching Iaint’s light and stool (both on wheels) every so often… We then realised that the table which was the largest table we had been afforded at a convention so far.  Which would have been great if it didn’t take up most of the booth. But that was soon sorted by one of the very helpful event staff who swapped the table for two smaller ones which meant we were able to get the bench out and Iaint had room for his set up too.

By the time I had unloaded the van, got the awesome Wrexham convention staff to replace our giant table with two smaller versions and drawn up Anna’s ankle piece, I would not have cared if I was tattooing whilst abseiling down the side of the building.  Our booth looked cool, best effort yet…behind the scenes we remained a complete shambles of course.

Once we had set up it was time to stencil up the Scarab Beetle and Peony tattoo Iaint would be doing on my foot & ankle that day.  I have always wanted my feet tattooed and wanted something colourful and striking.  The Scarab beetle was a symbol in Ancient Egypt of the Heavenly cycle and of creation, rebirth and regeneration.  There are links to the Solar Deity Khepri who they believed rolled the sun through the day and into the afterlife when the sun set.  The sun therefore being renewed every morning before sunrise.  Peony’s are popular image in tattooing and are known as the flower of riches and honour.  Being a full, lush flower they symbolise romance and prosperity and are seen as an omen of good fortune. 

However, the placement we had picked proved that the stencil might not be the easiest to put on.  We needed the good fortune of the peony to prove true.  Iaint had to apply it in three parts…and did it in the first attempt!  Impressive enough for the artist in the booth next to us to comment on.

Thankfully we were finally set up, I had dug my heels and securing hooks into the slope, all I had to do was stick Anna’s stencil on and have a breather whilst it dried.  Looked at her ankle, looked at the stencil, offered it up and instantly wished that someone would beam me up!  It went on first time in three parts; the first thing to go my way all weekend.  I actually felt like I deserved some sort of stencilling award, a round of applause and a free pass to go home.

Having had long sessions on my thigh at the last two conventions I thought that this tattoo would be an easy enough sit… Well, it wasn’t terrible but the foot and front & sides of your ankle are pretty spicy!!  Fortunately Iaint got through the lines and power lines in an hour, and we were onto the colour.  The Wrexham Tattoo Show 2017 was really well attended.  Throughout the piece we had many spectators and lots of positive comments.  This was seconded when people noticed the table display of Iaint’s custom paint work.  An impressive few pieces after Iaint’s first month of picking up his airbrushes again, which looked great under the spotlights of the hall (but unfortunately isn’t the best lighting for taking photographs of tattoos – but this is normal for conventions).

Unbelievable : she actually has nerve endings!  I was beginning to wonder…at Blackpool a guy came up and poked Anna in the arm with his finger “to check she wasn’t dead”.  Anna sits really well, but a piece like this on the ankle is no joke to sit through, she only flinched twice!  It came over the tannoy that judging for the comp started at 4pm.  I think I am a bit long in the tooth to be the “next big thing” so I don’t really expect to be winning much BUT I do like a bit of competition (even if it is just against myself) so I decided we were hitting that deadline…and we did!

At the same time, and just to make life more difficult, I had decided to actually pull my finger out and do some old school custom painting, which was on display at the show.  It created a lot of interest and there were more than a few questions asked.  I think Anna did her best to answer them all but I was in my zone and of little help.  Please don’t think me rude and please do email through any questions that you may have re commissions.

Iaint finished the piece in under 4 hours (despite contending with the sloped hall!) and we entered it in to the competition for Best Small Colour.  Despite not winning, I received some lovely comments from the Staff at the convention and we went to go and find dinner.  Both being Vegans with food allergies, we find it a chore to find places to eat.  I thought we had cracked it when I found that the first (and possibly only) Vegetarian Take Away in North Wales was only 8 minutes around the corner.  They offered a Vegan, Gluten Free menu so we jumped in the van and Iaint sent me in to pick up a feast.  Unfortunately I walked out empty handed.  Clearly every Vegetarian and Vegan in the surrounding areas were getting a Take Away for their Saturday night dinner and the Restaurant had stopped taking orders for the night. 

Needing something (anything) hot to eat, we went for the last option – chips.  I Googled the best Chip Shop in Wrexham which (surprisingly) turned out again to only be a few minutes away.  Perhaps this should have rung alarm bells but no one thinks straight when they are hungry, do they?  We picked up a chip supper and went to settle in for the night.  Only to open our chips and find that they were possibly the worst, greasiest mush of starch I’ve ever encountered…Looked like dinner that night would be a selection of the snacks we still had in the van.

Hit the deadline, worked my quads and core dealing with the slope and a wheeled stool, sent Anna hobbling off to the stage and cleaned up.  Now I was hungry.  Having recently become a vegan this is not as straight forward as it seems, so I leave the organisation of food to Anna.  After a quest we found a chip shop, I did not question the appearance of the shop, the man behind the counter or the very drunk dude in the corner.  I obtained chips, drove back to the uni, opened the chips and could have wept.

The next day Iaint had a regular customer (Pops) booked in for a thigh piece.  This customer usually travels from North Wales to get Tattooed at I Ain’t No Saint.  As soon as he heard we would be attending the Wrexham Tattoo Show 2017 – which was just 30 minutes away from his home – he booked himself in for a full day session.  The piece?  A photorealistic image of Barry Sheene – right up Iaint’s street.  Sized and stencilled straight away Iaint began Tattooing at 10.30am.

The convention seemed even busier on the Sunday which was a real success as this was the first Wrexham Tattoo Show 2017!  We were treated to fire performances, with axel grinding and the bands were a little less heavy this time: it seems that pop-Punk music did not die in 2005 as I had thought and was a reminder of my alternative, angsty teenage years… In fact, there was a duo that did some great acoustic guitar and voice covers of 90s music.  These were certainly a change from the usual Burlesque and questionable Heavy Metal attempts of other Convention entertainment.  Although we have now seen someone hammer a nail into their head, eat a sword and thread something through their nose and back out of their mouth about 10 times in the last 4 months (All at conventions – we don’t tolerate this behaviour in the Studio)….despite every performer claiming there are only a handful in the country that can do so…

The Barry Sheene Tattoo was regularly drawing a crowd, with lots of people returning at intervals to check the progress and the piece was done before judging began.  Fortunately on the Sunday we managed to find the Vegan Mexican food stall from Mex it Up, which was a bit of a godsend and we packed up with our bellies full for a 4 hour journey home.

On Sunday Pops drove the 30 minutes from his house to come get a Barry Sheene piece we have been discussing for a long time.  Clearly loving the fact that I had driven four hours to do this tattoo instead of him driving four hours to get it done as is the norm.  Again we decided to hit the 4pm deadline, Pops sat like a champ and we smashed it.  Although I think it was possibly life changing for both of us.  I finally smashed my face into a plate of Tex Mex vegan food and some vegan cheesecake, some form of humanity returned to me and I could once again function mentally…just in time to load the van.  Drive home was lush, no real problems and people are generally courteous enough to get out of the way of a fully mapped crafter.

Despite the difficulties, the weekend proved to be an interesting one.  Not only do we now know that Iaint can do extreme incline tattooing, but we got a chance to showcase both Iaint’s Colour and Black and Grey work.  The Wrexham Tattoo Show was our last one for 2017 – we will now be concentrating on the Christmas period, with lots of specials on Vape and Piercing and Gift Vouchers arriving soon.  We are taking Tattoo bookings for December so do get in contact as appointments are filling up.

The next adventure for us?  We will be off to Holland in 2018 to attend the Maastricht Tattoo Expo!  If you fancy getting away for the weekend and booking in with Iaint for a new Tattoo why not get in contact with us now!

We are crossing water next time…well going under it….this should be interesting to say the least.  An extra obstacle and a language barrier?  We could turn up anywhere, but wherever we do turn up the coils will still be singing!