Thursday, January 15, 2015

2015 Star of Texas Tattoo Art Revival Opening Party (Day One)

 There is nothing quite like a tattoo convention.  Studios, artists, suppliers, vendors, and entertainers from all over the world set-up to show their collective stuff to the public and to share what they do with the industry.  The biggest conventions, like the Star of Texas Tattoo Art Revival, draw international crowds, giving local artists an opportunity to rub elbows with the best in the industry and make their mark (literally).  The Star of Texas Tattoo Art Revival is an annual event in Austin, usually scheduled in January for one weekend.  Most years I manage to visit for one day, often on a run to score a deal on tattoo-ink sets and other supplies while checking out the latest innovations in the industry.  This year, one of my daughters gave me a weekend-pass as a Christmas present, so I will be going every day and taking in as many of the events as possible.

 The first day starts with many of the studios and vendors setting up Friday evening, and an opening party hosted by a local tattoo studio.  This year, the opening party was hosted by Black Dagger Tattoo, and held at The Badlands Bar with an art show at the Romani Gallery, both located near the intersection of East 12th St. and Chicon.  The doors opened at 8:30pm, and your intrepid tattoo-reporter arrived fashionably late at 9:30.

 When I arrived, the place was packed.  Visitors from far-off lands like Chicago and Utah were all abuzz about the art that was inside and the events planned for the weekend.  This was a small taste of things to come.

 The Romani Gallery is a wonderful, intimate space that had kindly donated its walls to show some of the best tattoo-art from the convention participants.  The artists appear to have participated in a round-robin type project where each of them was assigned to create a piece of original work for another participating artist.  None of the artists new who drew their name, only who they were making a piece for.  This was a wonderful way to get the creative juices flowing, resulting in some amazing work.

 American Traditional style was dominant throughout the show, indicative not only of the kind of work that is popular in Austin, but according to one visitor from out of town just about everywhere.  Almost every artist put their own creative-spin on this time-time honored style, mixing Western and Science Fiction themes, expressing spiritual concepts, or going for a little weirdness.  There were also a few beautifully rendered Traditional Japanese pieces, offering an interesting point of contrast to much of the rest of the show.  Prints and drinks were available for purchase, and everyone seemed impressed and excited with what they saw.

 One of the things I love about that tattoo community is that collectors all seem to have a natural bond, and a certain irreverence.  It was on full-display at the party, and everyone had a great time.  If you missed it, plan on going with some of your friends next year.  More to come from the convention tomorrow!

Jason Sorrell is a writer, tattoo artist, satirist, artist, and generally nice guy living in Austin, TX.  He loves answering questions about tattoos.  Shoot him a message at

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