Summer Vibe took place at
the original scene of the crime for the United Ink Convention series - The
Nassau Coliseum in Hempstead during a
scorching weekend in mid-2013.
Major props to Lou and Jackie
Rubino for putting Long Island on the
convention circuit map. The Island has a
thriving ink scene, and boasts more than a few killer shops and artists. So, it
stands to reason that the region should have conventions on its home turf.
The show space itself is
perfect for convention fare, a wide-open indoor space next to the ice rink that
the NHL's New York Islanders used to call home (awaiting the move to Brooklyn's
Barclay's Arena for the upcoming season - Ed's note) during hockey season. For
the three-day Summer Vibe event, the room was crammed with master slingers,
marked and manic collectors, viral vendors, and enough hot and tattooed girls
to expedite the global warming process.
In the short time since
the United Ink Convention series has taken flight, the Rubino expos have built
a reputation for being very important East Coast shows for people that take
their ink seriously. Mostly this reputation is built on a strong line-up of
tattooers who bring mad talent and validation to the proceedings. The Summer
Vibe roster featured such drawing cards as Bobby Moss, Shane O'Neil, Oleg
Shepelenko, Jon Mesa, Keith Ciaramello, Lalo Yunda, and Jason Ackerman. Many of
the top-tier slingers were spoken for before the curtain even came up on the
weekend, yet sessions with high-quality artists appeared to be available if you
could stick around and wait for a free block of time.
As with all of the United
Ink shows, Jackie Rubino keeps things moving with a full slate of performances,
seminars, and ink-related happenings. Freak show madness, suspension shows,
live hard rock, pole dancing, and pin-up contests were some of the attractions
taking place on stage, while the masters worked ink into skin on the convention
floor. Tatted friends and specially inked personalities, such as Crazy Face and
Eva Medusa roamed the aisles, stopping to greet fans and take photos over the
course of the weekend. Those who take a more academic approach to conventions
had a whole slate of highly informative seminars to attend.
Though the Rebel Ink headquarters is in the Garden State,
the Rubinos and their staff, as well as the Nassau
County locals, always make us feel
like we are part of the Long Island family at
the United shows. Our unlimited access to the convention allowed us to capture
all of the tats and all of the action for our readers. The supersized RI floor booth was packed from the
opening bell to closing each day with models, artists, buddies, and tattooed
impresarios who wanted to stop by, compare collections, and take some pictures for
our mag and web coverage.
Aside from the art on
skin, one of the other main attractions of the Summer Vibe show was the
appearance of the Inked Angels. The Angels are an ever-growing collection of
modern pin-ups, led by superstar alt-model and RI alum Heather Moss. Other
Inked Angels included West Coast babes Kayla Vanfleet and Morgan Rene, as well
as Buffalo, NY, beauty Angel Dies.
The most serious moments
of each day came when the best ink in the house took to the stage in hopes of
bringing home a trophy in any of the many categories included in the show's
contests. Artists and collectors proudly displayed masterpieces for the judges,
who had the task of naming first-, second-, and third-place winners.
The Summer Vibe convention
was a tune-up for the official United Ink Expo in the fall. Find out about
future shows from the Rubino crew at newyorktattooshow.com.
Photography by Dan Howell
Article by T. K. Whelton