5 Tattoo Artists Share How They Pack for Travel and Conventions

Brining your gear and supplies around as a tattoo artist isn’t an easy job. There a quite a few things that you need bring with you – and much of it breaks rather easily 🙁

To improve how we bring our gear around, we have talked with 5 experienced tattoo artists and asked them
to share their best advice.

Read on and learn from their best tips and tricks (all 5 have years of experience, so they know what they are talking about!).

Durb Morrison – Tattoo Artist of over 26 years, owner of RedTree Tattoo Gallery, organizer of the Hell City Tattoo Fest in Columbus, Ohio as well as Phoenix, Arizona.

Durb is also the Inventor and innovator of True Tubes and True Grips and is also a contributing writer for Tattoo Magazine where he interviews fellow tattoo artists from a veteran tattoo artist’s aspect and insight.

When Durb’s not working (which is rare) he finds time to paint, write, design, play paintball, snowboard, play video games and hang out with family and friends.

Favorite tattoo artist? Guy Aitchison

How do you pack your gear for travel and conventions?

I usually pack all of my “True Tattoo Supplies” for conventions in a Pelican case with wheels for easy transporting and try to pack rather simple. Luckily, all the True Tattoo Supply products I use are disposable, so I always come home with less product than I left with, which is nice and makes for easy traveling.

What top 3 things do you always bring besides the common stuff everybody bring?

I like to bring True Tattoo Supplies with me for the safety of tattooing all disposable while traveling. I also like to bring my True Tattoo armrest and True Tattoo armrest extension, which allows me to essentially have my work station attached to my armrest which prevents me having to twist or extend to get to my pallet.

What are your top tips for other tattoo artists?

My recommendation for traveling artists is to pack simple and definitely carry on your most valuable tattoo machines and items. Another way that I travel with my equipment is to pre-ship via UPS/Fed-Ex directly to the venue along with insurance and signage confirmation on the package, which makes for easy and light traveling.

Tattooing 28 years. Specializing in Japanese style tattooing. I love traveling, motorbikes, and everything to do with tattooing. I run Australian Tattoo History, @australiantattoohistory.

Favorite tattoo artists? Traditional Japanese artists from 70/80 – @horiken_shibuya is my current favorite.

How do you pack your gear for travel and conventions?

I use Crumpler, an Australian brand. A beautiful matte black travel case, customized internally to suit my needs. After all these years tattooing, I have perfected my convention game. No need to bring my work station.

What top 3 things do you always bring besides the common stuff everybody bring?

  • Stencil machine as convention one generally break or a nightmare to get to.
  • Water for both tattooing and drinking.
  • Deodorant as they can be hot sweaty events not just for me but also for clients, so everybody smells nice.

Strangest thing I’ve seen is a microwave.

What are your top tips for other tattoo artists?

  • Check in now/pre 9/11 I took my machines carry on.
  • Travel light and take more money for both fun and supplies.
  • Favorite purchase under $100 – plug in battery pack to charge iPhone on.
  • Only cheap hotels are a bad bad recommendation after tattooing all day.

My name is Ron Russo but I go by Ron570. I’ve been tattooing for close to 20 years. I tattoo a lot of horror and realism. I travel a lot and do around 14 tattoo conventions a year.

I own 570 Tattooing Co. in Wilkes Barre, Pa. with my wife Geena.

Favorite tattoo artist? Paul Booth

How do you pack your gear for travel and conventions?

I pack all of my stuff into a Pelican case. What I really bring depends on if I’m flying or driving to the convention. I have been using the Pelican case for a very long time. I feel it’s durable and I can fit what I need inside of it. I seem to always bring more than what I really need.

I don’t have a work station to bring but I’m always looking for a way to make things easier on the road.

What top 3 things do you always bring besides the common stuff everybody bring?

I like to have a black table cloth. I try to always bring a stool because I hate sitting in convention chairs. I think the craziest things I see is when people actually build a tattoo shop at a convention for their booths. Lol.

What are your top tips for other tattoo artists?

Keep your machines in your carry on and everything else you can check.

Favorite purchase under a $100.00.., I’m not really sure. I don’t pay much attention besides what I’m working on at the conventions. I work the days away and not really know what goes on with many other artists.

Chirag Jhala is a self taught artist, Inks n Needles, I have been running a successful Tattoo Studio in Bombay India for the past 11 years. With more than 14 yrs experience in tattooing business, I have seen the Indian tattoo industry grow in front of me. I am a self taught artist who doesn’t come from an art background but has a keen sense of art right since his childhood. Converting my passion into a hobby and then into a successful profession I have become one of the respected & senior artist in the industry.

Favorite tattoo artists? Guy Aitchinson, Julian Seibert, Jay Freestyle, Ryan Smith, Guido Smith etc.

How do you pack your gear for travel and conventions?

I usually pack everything in boxes of plastic as they weigh less and pack them with foam so that the products do not move inside. I like the sullen bags but I don’t own any since I have to carry so much the bag becomes too less spaces since I have a carry bag for my laptops n ipads.

I haven’t used any bags before.

I do carry a lot with me since travel a lot and more comfortable with my stuff but depends where I’m travelling to.

No, I don’t bring my work station.

What top 3 things do you always bring besides the common stuff everybody bring?

My own set of colors my ipad and my printer. I always need these for a perfect job done.

What are your top tips for other tattoo artists?

I bring my stuff in check in since lots of stuff is not permitted and gets heavier to carry in carry on. Better ink bottles is what I would wanna see as sometimes they explode or leak in the bags n its a mess. I like tiny and portable stuff to carry like a small critical power supply I use.

I started tattooing in 2010 after completing my applied arts course. Soon after working with my tattoo teacher for few months I started freelancing and then opened my own studio in the name of Ace Tattooz with the help of my husband Nikhil, who manages the show.

I learnt tattooing only because i wanted to try as many art mediums as possible however i didn’t realise when it became my main stream.

I love doing colour works and realism. We are a team of 8 artists and 3 mangers with two tattoo studios in Mumbai (India).

Favorite tattoo artists? Khan Tattoo, Nikko Hurtado & Many More….

How do you pack your gear for travel and conventions?

It may sound funny, but I use a hard case tool box to fit in my tattoo stuff for conventions as it keeps my tattoo equipment safe from damage. No I haven’t used any bags yet.

I double wrap all my colours to avoid spill in case the bottle bursts (its only a safety precautions because generally they are intact with the help of my hard case).

Yes, generally I carry a lot of stuff because I love doing colour works and can’t leave without all my colours which include Dynamic, World Famous and Intenze Mike Demasi Color Portrait Tattoo Ink Set.

Also, if the convention is in India, I prefer carrying my own printer and stencil copier.

I don’t bring my work stations if I have to fly, however if the journey is by car then I carry my tattoo stand table from Kings Tattoo Supply which can be very easily assembled after going to the convention too.

Also I don’t forget to carry my head torch.

What top 3 things do you always bring besides the common stuff everybody bring?

My printer, graphite rechargeable power supply and my tattoo stand table from Kings Tattoo Supply are the 3 things I bring besides the common things everyone brings.

Because it took us very few conventions to realise that on the first day of the convention, you can waste a lot of time in case you don’t have these three in place.

Things have definitely changed as the industry here seems to be growing and we learn a lot from every convention.

What are your top tips for other tattoo artists?

Some top tips for tattoo artists would be to tattoo with passion and be consistent with the same energy from the start of the tattoo until the end. I sometimes see them starting like a powerhouse and up to the finish they are already half dead.

I realise it’s really important that the tattoo artist is in his best health to perform 100%. I see many having issues with their back because of which they can’t perform consistently, so yoga or any physical exercise that keeps their core fit is highly recommended .

My favourite purchase under 100$ is a Jaguar Coil June machine I got few years back.

The worst recommendations I have heard from a tattoo artist was that you need not know good drawing to make a good tattoo, and that tattooing is all about tracing.

I don’t think I need to justify why it was the worst thing I ever heard 😉

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