Limitless - The Expo Coverage
2018 has seen a lot happen for the United Ink Productions crew: a move to a new office in a totally different part of the country, an additional event was added to our usual 2-show-per-year line up (now including Queen City in Charlotte, NC), our regular show at The Cradle of Aviation on Long Island shifted over to the new NYCB Theater (formerly known as Nassau Coliseum), as well many other new projects, new team members and new environments to get accustomed to. It seemed that leading off 2018 with our busiest and most popular show, aptly titled: No Limits Tattoo and Arts Expo, seemed not only suiting but also ironic in a true cosmic type of way.
We have been holding No Limits at Resorts World Casino in Queens, NY for a number of years now. Both we and the casino staff had-grown comfortable enough with one another that a mutual understanding of what we could expect had developed. However, this was 2018 and that was about to change. Like teenagers in high school, the casino was going through changes, and like the parents of these adolescents, we had to adjust our usual methods to accommodate them. The biggest obstacle facing us was the addition of a dividing wall that cut off about ⅓ of the expo floor. This meant less space for booths, which subsequently meant less artists and vendors could fit in the room - great. We also were unable to book some entertainment acts that always drew an audience and would be real crowd pleasers - awesome. When it comes down to it though, these were just minor speed-bumps and we wouldn't let them be used as excuses for a poor show. Why? Because excuses are like assholes; everyone has one and they usually stink.
With the new event staff we had on board, we were able to sell out No Limits in record time (I know what you’re thinking, “Didn’t you just say the room was smaller? That’s why it sold out so quickly.” I know what I said. Don’t be a dick). We packed out the space we were given with over 300 of the worlds best tattoo artists. New sponsors jumped on board like our friends over at TatJak (@tatjack), creators of an innovative new app that makes the searching of specific tattoo artists and styles quick and simple by budget and location and Brooklyn Brewery(@brooklynbrewery), who had set up a really cool photo booth in their space for the crowds to enjoy, to the official United Ink musical act, Wolfpack Black(@wolfpack_black_), which features Dan Nelson formerly of Anthrax fame. We were baking a killer show cake and these are all required ingredients.Over the course of the three-day event, it was amazing to walk around and watch such beautiful and unique artwork being created. As someone who has a hard time even signing their name legibly, to be in the presence of amazing talent such as this, was truly a humbling experience. An added bonus of being an attendee at No Limits was to walk around and meet former TV InkMaster contestants such as Thom Bulman, Daniel Silva, Sarah Miller, Mystical Mike and Jon Ronzka, just to name a few. I’ve been a fan of Ink Master for a while now so I thought it was pretty cool that these artists were attending an event that I played a part in establishing.
Much to my surprise, Daniel Silva even recognized me from the United Ink Instagram account (@united_ink)! Throughout the show, our emcee Joey Tattoo kept the crowd informed on what was happening at the main stage, what the sponsors had to offer and of course he didn’t hold back with his jokes and smart-ass remarks. After all, we were in a casino and the show was 18+, so he could get away with a bit more than at an all-ages event. Speaking of being able to get away with things, Saturday’s entertainment included a very special appearance by burlesque dancer, Emily Shephard (@artistmnyc).
She enticed the crowd with her very impressive and provocative routine, moving and bending her body around the stage in ways that I didn’t think were possible naturally. This sentiment carried over to when the break-dancing crew took over the floor. Having never seen professional break-dancers in person before, it really blew me away what the capabilities of the human body can be when properly trained and conditioned.
Long show days turned into long show nights with plenty of after-parties to attend. If I learned anything from working in the tattoo industry is that these artists party just as hard as they work. You can’t blame them either. I mean, sitting down in the same spot, working on someone’s arm or leg or back piece for hours on end can really make one antsy and eager to blow off some steam. The bar at Resorts World Casino was able to accommodate all we could throw at them and more. The beer flowed like wine. There was live music and DJ’s keeping the momentum going well into the wee hours of the morning. I’m not ashamed to admit that I was one of the first ready to tap out on the night but seeing my friends and co-workers having such a blast made it hard to turn away.
What I really love most about United Ink events is the wide spectrum of art that is included and displayed. When you walk into one of these shows, you aren’t just met with conventional tattoo booths and supplies. There are literally dozens of artists and visionaries using all different mediums to showcase their talents. Everything from body painting, to beard trimming, to hand-carved jewelry, musical talents to nitro infused coffee. “No Limits” isn’t just the name of this event, it’s the creed and mentality.
Written by: Vincent Minichello