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Cupcakes and Conventions, a match made in heaven?

I started getting inked at 18, im now 20. I guess I caught the "bug", like a can of Pringles, "once you pop, you cant stop" and I've been getting ink whenever possible ever since. I didn't really have any ink that had a good, personal meaning, mainly because I wasn't sure what to get. But during the past year I became friends with an artist called Katriona Godward, she specialises in tattoo inspired artwork, using a number of mediums and photography, and therefore is quite popular with tattoo artists and enthusiasts alike.

When Katriona was asked to show her work at the Manchester Tattoo Show 2008, she accepted, but needed people to help run her stall. That's where I came in. I had never been to a convention before, but thought "Hell yeah!" So we got talking about the stall.

Katriona was worried that her work wouldn't sell, obviously just nerves, but I put forward an idea for a gimmick to bring people in. I said that I would make cupcakes, lots of cupcakes, with all colours of frosting and all kinds of sprinkles, the works. Katriona loved the idea. So I got to work. For the two day convention I decided to make 120 cupcakes. 60 per day and a few for us to eat during the day, perks of the job I guess!

I got all the stuff together and baked the cakes, boxed them up, packed a plastic bag full of frosting, colourings, sprinkles and sweets and we packed them in the car, ready for the 4 hour drive down to the convention.

When we got to the hotel I immediately started colouring the tubs of frosting and getting ready for the 2 days ahead, full of excitement and sugar.

Day one began and people started to pour into the convention and the cupcakes were on the table. "Here goes nothing" I thought. But to my surprise people were coming over and taking a cupcake, starting a conversation, having a look at the artwork and the gimmick had worked.

During the course of the day more and more people were coming over and asking me if I was "the girl with the cupcakes", I would say yes and take them to the stall. Got to pull in the customers! The cakes definitely created a talking point.

On my cigarette break from the stall I got talking to a tattooist whose work I liked, called Gerry Carnelly of Octopus Tattoo in Derby, UK. I told him I was working on a stall and told him about the cakes, and Katriona threw in the idea of me getting a tattoo, "after all" she said, "this is your first convention! How else are you going to celebrate the occasion?" I had no idea what I wanted to get, but Gerry told me that he had a few spaces during the day and to let him know if I wanted any work done. So I got thinking.

I can't believe I didn't think of it sooner, but Katriona suggested a cupcake tattoo, as my cupcakes had become quite famous over the course of the day. I knew straight away that it made sense and that I had finally found a tattoo that meant something.

So off I went to tell Gerry and he came over and grabbed a cupcake off of Katriona's stall, there's nothing funnier than seeing a butch tattooist carrying a pink frosted cupcake covered in girly sprinkles and trying to look cool.

I left Gerry to draw it up, "Gimmie half an hour" he said. So I went back to Katrionas stall to think about the placement. I decided on my right calf. The nerves kicked in.

Half an hour went by and I went across to see how Gerry was getting on, when I saw the stencil he'd drew it was perfect. A big frosted pink cupcake, with a flaming cherry on top and pastel coloured sprinkles, with purple shading all around it. It was just perfect. So we got down to business, putting the stencil on and making sure everything was just right.

I'd never been tattooed in front of anyone before, but Katriona had, and she had said that it would be the weirdest thing i've ever done. By this point id already had approximately 16 hours of work done to my back and hips so I thought nothing of it.

It's pretty difficult to position yourself properly to get a calf tattoo, especially if your tattooist is left handed, like Gerry. But we got it right and got to work; I was lying on my left side on a table, with my head on a pillow. People started to come around and ask me questions, "why a cupcake?" every opportunity I directed them to Katrionas stall. It was strange but it kept my mind from the pain. There were children with "lick and stick" tattoo's on there arms, with their parents looking at my leg. A little girl no older than 8 decided there and then that, "She wants a tattoo like that when she's older", much to mine and her parents amusement.

The table I was lying on started to collapse, so I got up with the help of a couple of people that I was talking to and I had to stand on one leg with my right leg up on a chair. Not particularly comfortable, especially for 2 hours!

There were alternative strippers from a local club dancing in the middle of the convention, which certainly took my mind off the pain!

We continued with the tattoo and for some reason a news crew approached me, fronted by a young female newsreader. Who decided to ask Gerry and me silly questions like, "Does it hurt?" Gerry was a dab hand at answering these questions with quick, witty comments like "Why don't you sit down and find out for yourself?" To which the reporter declined. Which he knew that she would.

So 2 and a half hours later the tattoo was finished. It was one of the strangest 2 and a half hours of my life for definite. But now I have a tattoo that im proud of and that I enjoy telling the story of. It was one of the best weekends of my life and I can't wait to do it again! Conventions are an awesome place to get work done, I'm doing it all again in 2009!

Oh, and I still make cupcakes!


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 28 Sept. 2008
in Tattoos

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Artist: Gerry+Carnelly+of+Octopus+Tattoo%2C+Derby
Studio: Manchester+Tattoo+Show+2008
Location: Manchester%2C+UK

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