Mia and I have been going to tattoo artist, Emma Griffiths, since the 90s. She does incredible work and is funny as hell. She’s located in Brooklyn, so we always travel to get work done. A couple months ago she posted to Facebook saying she’d be at the Philly Tattoo Arts Convention if anyone wants to make an appointment to get work done.
For Mia’s and my 20 year anniversary of our first date we got “Mia” and “Tracy” classic heart tattoos. I got my Mia heart on the back of my left calf. I’ve been wanting to add a “Josephine” (our kid) heart on my right one to match it, so I emailed Emma to make an appointment.
I’d never been to a tattoo convention before, I was a little scared. I imagined testosterone-filled booths with women in sketchy outfits promoting different products. There was some of that, but I was pleasantly surprised by seeing a lot of female tattoo artists and all kinds of people attending the convention.
Getting a tattoo in public was an interesting experience. Emma had to cram into the small booth she was sharing with 2 other women without all of her usual equipment. I was on my stomach with my face right at the front of the table. When folks would page through her portfolio books my face would be right there. I was thinking I should have gotten a quick tutorial so I could answer questions as she worked. A stranger even asked me “how does a calf tattoo feel?” Um, it hurts. I had to try and keep a calm face when she was on an extra painful spot.
What I loved was when her colleagues would come by and watch her work and make suggestions. It was like getting on-the-fly consultations from these women with decades of tattoo experience — a real treat.
The whole thing was strange and very cool.
Afterwards I walked around, I never knew there were so many products and supplies for tattoo artists. There was a lot of amazing work on display and a lot of really bad tattoos. I had never heard the sound of so much buzzing in my life.
Here is the tattoo. My daughter loves it, but she is mad it didn’t include a paw print (she is cat obsessed).