I know, I am kind of a tool for pretty much abandoning modblog as soon as Rob jumped on board and then coming back only to post a tattoo that I got last weekend. However, had I seen this tattoo on someone else, I would have quickly jumped to post it, especially seeing that it came from a relatively unknown artist out of Martinsburg, West Virginia.
Sometimes, I work conventions, but not this time. This convention was purely about hanging out with friends, enjoying some time off from my usual responsibilities of work and parenting and to get a “little” tattoo. Usually, when I go to conventions I just cruise the show floor looking at portfolios and “convention specials”. Convention specials are tattoos the artist really want to do, either for their portfolio, to enter in tattoo of the day or just because it’s such a ridiculous design no one outside of a convention would likely ever get it. I usually go for the latter. At the recent Philly convention I got a traditional style tattoo of a hand being held in a cup shape that read “cup the balls”, of course I got this on my inner thigh as close to my balls as possible so it could act as a fully functional instruction manual for how to properly handle my balls.
I had every intention of getting an equally, or possibly even more, stupid tattoo at this convention. Then I saw this design and instantly fell in love with it. After talking to the artist, Matti Hixson, I realized this was the guy who worked at Cherry Bomb In Martinsburg, WV. I first discovered his work on Sketch Kult and was instantly impressed, and SHOCKED that this kind of work was coming out of WV a mere 20 minutes from my home. After realizing this was the same guy, I almost decided to opt out of the tattoo. “Why get work from a local guy when there are all these amazing artist from all over?”, I thought to myself. I decided to check out the rest of the convention floor. There were some awesome designs but none that drew me in like this one from Matti, so after realizing someone else might actually want this piece, I hauled ass back over to his booth to book the appointment.
I was a bit disappointed to find out this design would fit nowhere on me (except my left rib panel that I am saving for a bigger piece) that was even remotely visible, but it did fit well between the random tattoos on my upper right thigh. As he started the first things I noticed were that he was incredibly light handed and his machines were damn near silent. It was almost surreal as the two sensations, pain and noise, that I normally associate with tattooing were not present. As the hours went on (6 total) it did get a bit more painful but never unbearable.
The background is one of my favorite parts, it was 100% freehanded on, and while it was being done, I have to admit I had my doubts. I thought to myself, ”Dots? Big fucking dots? If I wanted dots, I would have gotten a traditional tattoo”. However, I had faith in him, and I kept my thoughts to myself. As it came together, I grew to love these dots. The give the design movement and flow and the muted colors of the background really make the main design pop. When the piece was finished I was blown away. The drawing was rad but the finished tattoo was absolutely incredible. I was not the only one impressed either this piece got second place for Tattoo Of The Day on Saturday, a day full of awesome tattoos. The girl who took first that day had a bad ass Velociraptor on her thigh and really can you argue with a chic with a velociraptor? I think not. To sweeten the deal, third place went to my wife’s rad tattoo by Josh Payne.
Anyhow, like I said, I feel like a bit of a tool for posting a tattoo that I have, but I really think Matti deserves some recognition for his talents, and this post is the best way for me to do that. If you are within a few hours of Martinsburg, WV and are interested in a low pain, high quality color realism style tattoo, at AMAZINGLY REASONABLE West Virginia prices definitely get in touch with him.
PS: Now that I am back in town and things have settled down a bit I am going to try and put out at least one modblog post a day, to take some of the burden off Rob.
PPS: On a totally unrelated note. Does anyone know the older gentleman who is tattooed all blue with tribal tattoos that was running around the convention? I tried to peg him down for an interview, but I never saw him except when I was stuck in the tattoo chair. He seemed like a super nice guy and it’s odd for me to see someone with that heavy of a transformation and not at least know of them.