Here we are at the end of July already.
A whirlwind of events have taken place over the past month. I can not account for all of it. So here are some high-lights.
At the beginning of July we had Lisa Schmoldt here from Florida. She had started her west coast tour in Long Beach California in the beginning of June. She went there to hang with the pirates and the mermaids, at the tattoo show being held down there on the Queen Mary. She then migrated north to Eugene Oregon to hang out at Fairie Worlds for a weekend of flittering and mead drinking. When she finally arrived in Portland, she was covered in glitter and fairie dust. She spoke with the air of a cantankerous salty sailor that had spent a long while with the argh's, e's and the bargh's. We swooped her up fast. Got her geared up properly and planted her butt on the back of my bike for some Portland adventures. She made fast time in making friends with our biker pals. Mind you she is a polite, fairie loving tattooed lady...that can out talk the knarliest of the bunch. By the time we were done with her, or may I say she was done with us...the glitter had long fallen off in a pair of fingerless rubber gloves. We loved having her here and look forward to next year's adventures.
Danny Boy was supposed to come up for a visit from SF and ended up canceling his trip because his mom who is a saint of sorts, when it comes to taking care of herself. Got diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer. So he stayed to pull together a benefit to help raise some money to help her with living expenses. I pray for them everyday. Its quite an eye opener of how precious we all are and how even the healthiest of us, can be prey to disease. If you would like to donate please contact Danny. I believe there is a paypall account set up for the cause.
We had the legendary Madame Vyvyn Lazonga come down from Seattle to spend some quality time with us at Fortune. Vyvyn is a treasure trove of tattoo stories and tattoo experience. She arrived in Portland and without hesitation, geared up in my old Langlitz and boots. Fitted with a helmet and gloves, she jumped on my bike and showed me she was no novice to riding. We rode to Toro Bravo to meet up with our friends from AWR who were celebrating Jeff Groci's, from Seventh Son, last night in Portland. We ate our hearts fill from the chef's pick. It was a fine dinner to welcome such a wonderful woman to Portland and say "til' next time" to Jeff. Over the five days Vyvyn was here, we spoke alot about how the women of the tattoo industry have had little to any opportunity handed to them. Not that "our kind" wants anything without working hard for it. It was interesting to discuss this topic with Vyvyn and see that it has been going on her entire, almost forty years, career. I had thought when the old timers died off, the men's club attitude would go to the grave with them. Instead, those old boots, so to speak, got filled with less talented, less interesting, more egotisical self promoters, who seem to think throwing in a token lady tattooer suffices to including us in the game. In Vyvyn and my dicussion, we both agreed, we dont want a men's club vs. a woman's club. We would like to see more of an effort to reward the solid women tattooers that made a difference in the industry. Shoulder to shoulder with the men folk, hands down past gender, reward them for the works they have done. To quote Vyvyn, " in the past women, in the writer's industry, had to take on sudo-names, to be acknowledged. Men seem to organize better, be more motivated to self promote and are more clan like in nature". We would like those women that have participated in making a change be recognized and included. That's all. I recently saw a top twenty five list of tattooers, that were of inspiration to some of my friends in the industry. What hit me, was most of all the tattooers listed were men. Some of which had learned their technique, style from women, that they had worked for or under. Which is not mentioned. If I were to make a top twenty five list of tattooers that have inspired me as a tattooer. There are nearly as many women on my list as men. Not sure what that says about me, other than perhaps, I dont mind admitting, where I get my inspiration. Maybe knowing where certain techniques orginated from and by whom, gives me a different perspective, who knows. What came about from our talks, was that in the end. We have to do it ourselves. Seems no one is going to share the pie unless we jump in and take some for ourselves. And no, having a tv show that depicts that it takes longer to put on my lipstick than to draw a backpiece is not a piece of the pie. My problem with the current situation is, this is history being made. History, that people ten years from now, will think is fact. When in reality, most of the publications to date, have been nothing short of a circle jerk of people, social clicks that have had the means to publish their voices and their works. Regurgitating the same iconic imagery and stroking themselves for re-inventing the wheel. These are some of the same people that have supported the social ladder climbers, and the user friendly douchebags that get a quick taste of fame without it being due. These people tend to have ego's out fitting their talent. They are abusive, undeserving and need to step to the back of the line. Come on folks. Support those that have a body of work, that have stories to share from real life experiences. People that positivily touched others and made a dent, if not a canyon, of growth for all of us. In fine perspective, more people should know Vyvyn. She paved the way for those that run the course. She is still working hard, everyday. She like a few others, sacrificed everything for this art. She is still pushing her limits, challenging herself and keeping up with the times. Vyvyn did a live broadcast with Bob Baxter while she was here. We had dicussed speaking about this topic during the interview. I wish she would have. Maybe next time the opportunity arises. I hope you will keep Vyvyn in your scopes and keep updated with her accomplishments. There is so much to learn from this kind woman of our business. She is the real deal. Vyvyn ended her stay here in Portland celebrating Mary Jane's thirtieth tattoo birthday at Oaks Park. Mary Jane is another force to be reconed with in our industry. You should know who she is and her colorful history in tattooing.
Finally, yesterday, we celebrated at the FFMC clubhouse to raise money for a little girl that needs support from the community. There was a great turn out and the battle of the bands was epic. Lots of bikes. Lots of good food. Lots of good people coming together for a great cause. http://frannyfund.tumblr.com/
Til' next time, M