By Nicki Kasper
I’ve met a lot of people over the last five years in this industry… I’ve made a lot of surface level friends and I’ve been blessed with quite a few real genuine friendships with people who truly care for me, and want to know who I am and what I’m about. I’m always humbled by this, and it means a lot to me when it’s clear that I’m not being used for what I might be able to do for someone. I always notice.
I was personally invited to attend the World Wide Tattoo Conference by my friend, Alex de Pase last week in Venice, and it was great. It’s two and a half days of seminars, speeches, and discussion panels in front of a room full of people eager to learn and be inspired. I’m not a tattooer, I’m a business owner, but even I can stand to learn something from artists who are teaching and talking about what inspires them, what they have trouble with, and how they get through it. It’s all relative.
There are many different styles when it comes to tattooing, as well as different schools of thought in this small industry, but… I do believe that we all stand to learn something from all of them. I think having an open mind and a willingness to shut the fuck up, realize that you might not know everything, and listen to someone teach or speak about what it is that helps them with their work can be invaluable.
Alex and his team do an amazing job with the WWTC. A lot of work and planning goes into the event. This was the second one I’ve attended, and it’s awesome to see a room full of 300 artists from all over the world eager to learn from a handful of tattooers who are willing to teach and inspire others as well as each other.
My trip was almost two weeks long, and the conference was just a short part of it. I spent several days in Florence, took a train to Rome for a day, and spent my last day exploring Venice. There were a lot of highs and lows for me on this trip…
I love Italy so much. It’s so rich in history, art, and architecture that I completely geek out on. I fell in love with Florence, and can’t wait to go back to spend more time.
I had a few rough days on a personal level that I’m still reflecting on, and the biggest lesson learned for me on this trip is to value those who value you. By the time I got to the conference, I was really happy to be greeted with the smiles and warm hugs of some of those genuine friends.
Not everyone is gonna want to know and understand you. They won’t all care for you the way you care for them. They might even judge and ridicule you for the things they don’t understand about you, and they may refuse to listen when you try to explain it.
And that’s ok… It’s not always about us. Best we can do is have compassion for what they might be going through, own our part in it, try not to take it personally, and keep it movin’.
Value those who value you…
Thank you to Alex de Pase for having me out, and for giving me a free ticket for a TAM supporter. Thank you also to Gabe Ripley of TattooNOW for giving me a free live stream ticket for a TAM supporter who couldn’t make it to Venice. I’m grateful to you guys for that, and I hope both of them appreciated the opportunity. I know I did.