Tattoo Convention Booth Set Up—By Larry Brogan—Part 1
STAND OUT IN THE CROWD
Most tattoo conventions provide a space for two working artists approximately ten feet by ten feet, but that can vary by a couple feet in either direction. You will usually have two long narrow tables, one to tattoo from and a front table to showcase and display your tattoo portfolio, original artwork, paintings, prints, tattoo machines, T-shirts and any other items and promotional material you choose, provided they are permitted by the promoters and local law.
Always be sure to have an ample supply of business cards or stickers with your name, web address and contact information printed on them, for people to grab. Convention attendees always love free giveaways such as pens, stickers, CDs and even candy, so having any of these can help draw more potential clients to your booth.
Bringing your own tablecloth can be a nice touch, to help give an impressive presentation that will be more eye catching and make you stand out among the many other booths in the aisle. A trip to a local fabric store will give you countless options for colorful and crazy table cloths, and be sure to check into the Halloween fabrics, where you will find some fun and festive designs.
Your booth normally contains two artist chairs and two client chairs as well as one garbage can. The quality of the chairs varies from padded, stackable banquet chairs to flimsy plastic folding chairs, which are mostly useless and very uncomfortable. The padded banquet chairs can be used in many configurations, such as stacking two or three high in order to reach a clients leg or lower back more comfortably or side by side, to lay someone horizontally, for areas such as ribs, underarms and hips. If you happen to by driving to the show, bringing your own office chair and/or client chair or even a massage table can be very helpful.
Many convention halls are very dark or you may be stuck in some dark corner of the room. I often bring two small clamp-on halogen lights that I attach to the top of the pipe and drape, behind the booth. You will need an extension cord at least six feet long, with at least two outlets, to be able to plug them into your power strip. Your booth will be much better lit than most others, making it stand out more among the rest. You can buy these simple lights at hardware stores and home improvement stores such as Home Depot, for around ten dollars each. Warning: lights get extremely hot, so unplug them at night and especially in advance of taking them down at the end of a show, or you will burn yourself.
Your convention banner is the equivalent of flying your county’s flag overhead. Having on that is awesome and eye-catching will bring you more exposure. When sharing a booth with one or more artists, you must keep in mind that there needs to be enough room for each artist to display their banner and enough space for items like flash, prints and T-shirts. I have found that a banner two-to-three-feet wide by four-to-five-feet high is the best overall fit for a booth containing two artists. Any longer and you will loose the lower portion behind the work table, and any wider runs the risk of crowding your booth mate. While it is quite easy these days to get inexpensive banners printed with any images and info you need, hand painting yours will help show your own artistic talent and just might earn you respect from your peers.
—Larry Brogan, Tattoo City, Lockport, Illinois