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Fresno Tattoo Convention 2007
Editors note: We weren't at the Tattoo Convention. But Joey Young was. He brings us a couple of cool interviews, some great photos and some big Fresno news.
The annual Fresno Tattoo convention happened this past weekend. Lots of fun stuff went down, Timothy got a new tat, biggest news of the weekend is Mike Ferguson of First Amendment Tattoo is opening up a Fresno location! Browse the snapshots and check out some of the interview I got.
Interview with The Enigma
The Enigma is just that, a mellow guy who just happens to have his entire body covered in a puzzle.
J-OK April 29th, 2007, we're here with The Enigma. So what are your first impressions of Fresno?
I-It looks OK to me.
J-Have you been over the freeway to the West-side yet?
I-No I haven't.
J-How long have you been doing these tattoo conventions?
I-I started doing more of them last year. If I go on a website and it looks like someone needs me, I'll give them a buzz, give them a call, see if they want me. It's all good, you know.
J-What is your feeling about getting full facial tattoos, I mean, you have a puzzle on your face?
I- Well, it's not exactly supposed to be a tattoo, it's supposed to be the color of my skin, you know make the impossible possible.
J-Why the puzzle?
I-It's a way to become blue, piece by piece.
J-have you ever gotten crazy feedback from normal society?
I-What would be crazy would be not to have extreme situations.
J-Have you traveled the world?
I-Oh ya. I've been everywhere except Asia and South America.
J-Do you want to go to those places?
I-Sure, why not. I think it really expands your mind to see how other people live.
J-At what age did you get your first tattoo?
I-I got my first tattoo when I was twenty, a little doodle on my arm. This is my second tattoo, the larger one, the puzzle. I did all the lines in January of '93. It was a hard month. I've had over 200 artists throughout the world, South Africa to Switzerland, all wanting a piece of the action.
J-How many tattoos do you have total?
I-Well, I've just got this one big one.
J-Any shout out's?
I-My website is theenigmalive.com, so if you happen to be browsing around the Internet and want a cool homepage. There you can see where I'm going, what I'm doing.
Interview with Mike Ferguson
Get ready, Mike is opening a shop in Fresno
J-Your name is Mike Ferguson and what tattoo shop do you own?
M-First Amendment Tattoo.
J-In Los Angleses?
M-We actually have four shops. One of them is an hour North of Los Angeles, the other two are in between Los Angeles and San Diego, the other one is in Augusta Georgia and soon to be Fresno, California.
J-How did you hook up in Fresno?
M-One of the promoters of the convention called me up about two months ago, knowing that I can build shop, manage shops. I went through two audits. Everything was clear, everyone knows that about me. I'm straight up the real deal to my word. That the only thing I have is my word. He knew that so he called me up asked if I wanted to be business partners. This will be the only shop I have a business partner with.
J-What is your feeling about Fresno?
M-There is a nice shop here, but in the past there has not been a lot of real nice shops. I want to bring more of an art style, where we have artists that fly in. At my shops we have guest artists that fly in from all around the country, all around the world. Paris, Spain. We do guest spots in Amsterdam, we do guest spots in The Caribbean. We go all around the world and vise-versa so Fresno can see artists from Spain, from France, the best of the best. We'll also have an art gallery inside that rotates every 30 days. Every month we're going to do an open house with free booze and free food. Every month. That is what is going to make it different.
J-When was your first introduction to tattoos?
M-11 years old.
J-Where was it?
M-Actually I was in Boston Massachusetts. It's on my upper right shoulder. It's a small skull. It was done with pen and ink and a needle and that was it.
J-Where you instantly addicted?
M-Oh Yeah. By the time I was 18 years old had almost a half sleeve, hidden from my parents.
J-When did you start opening up your own shops?
M-I did an apprenticeship. It was illegal tattoo in Boston at the time. I was already tattooing, home made, out of my house. Do not tattoo out of your house. Anyone who does is a scumbag. Anyway I was doing that, I didn't know any better. So, I flew out to this location and asked to be an apprentice and they laughed at me. They let me mop their floor for two years and sweep and work the counter and I learned how to tattoo through that. Sweeping, moping, a traditional apprenticeship. I learned how to build machines, make my own pigments. Needles weren't store bought like they are now. I had to make my own needles. I went to Minneapolis at 20 years old. At 21 years old I opened my own shop in Minneapolis, which is now Leviticus Tattoos. I taught Kurt Meloncon who owns Leviticus, how to tattoo. Some of the biggest names in the industry have worked there.
J-How did you put up with the winters.
M-I drank a lot. It was about 70 below with the wind chill one year. You get used to it. I'm from Boston, so it wasn't so bad.
J-Do you get harsh treatment from society for your tattoos?
M-Of course, of course. When I go to Disneyland everybody wants to take my picture. When I go to my child's school, their both in private school, I get dirty looks. I'm a tax paying citizen, I employ 20 people, they're all sub-contractors, they all make great livings. People don't look at you for face value. I look like a goddamn monster, but I'm actually a pretty intelligent, well spoken person who is a successful business owner. Everybody that is with me is successful, they don't look at that when they first meet me, they think I'm going to beat them up of I'm going to steal their children and rob them. That's usually the first thing. Little do they know that my watch cost more than their car.
J-I've always looked at facial tattoos as a total rejection of society. You own your own business, but the average person with facial tattoo's isn't getting a job.
M-Well, in Minneapolis it's a whole different story. In Minneapolis people have full facial tattoos and they are waitresses, they're cooks, they are everything. It all depends on where you are in the country. I got my facial tattoo because this was all I was going to do. I wasn't popular then. We're talking about the early nineties. It marked me and it insured me that this was a decision that I made forever. Tattooing is not a job, it is a lifestyle.
J-When can we expect your shop to open in Fresno?
M-In the next six months to a year, or sooner, it all depends. I'm in negotiations right now on the location.
J-Have you looked at any locations?
M-Yes. We already have one.
J-Any thank you's?
M- I want to thank my wife and children for putting up with my seven days a week, thirteen hours a day. I want to say thank you to Roger Hornbeck. I want to thank the people putting on the convention this weekend. They have always been great to us and I want to thank you for being patient.
The following are some of the highlights of the event. I didn't catch all the names so if anyone know these people let me know.
The First Amendment booth.
Skin Decor, Chuck or maybe Timothy getting his first tattoo.
Kat Von D from Miami Ink.
I love the bikes.
The man behind it all, Jason from SugarHill.
After walking around all day, there is only one place to go, Chris Meat on Kern and E.