Recently, I went up to New York City for the first ever Tattoo Art Auction hosted by the famous Guernsey’s Auction house. I have to admit, it didn’t end the way I thought it would.
Tattoos are an OBSESSION of mine and if I could: A) afford it, B) pull it off, and C) not have to deal with my Mother; I would have at least one full sleeve of ink on my arm. As it is, I am currently sporting five pieces of art. Currently being the key word. Sorry Mom, I love you.
So, when the opportunity arose for me to go to New York and attend the first ever tattoo art auction, I jumped at the chance. The husband and I road tripped it up to New York City and trekked on into the Meat Packing District. Props to the husband for not hulking out in New York City traffic.
The auction itself was held in a small low-key rented-for-the-weekend space right near the Standard High Line hotel where we had stayed the night before (props to me for my obsessive researching skills; it was an awesome place, we didn’t get murdered by Lady Gaga, and we got a sweet room upgrade).
Have you ever been to an auction? Like a real live auction? I haven’t. BUT I have watched many a car auction on TV, so I THOUGHT I knew what I needed to know. No. Sudden. Hand. Movements. I was wrong, like always. First of all, as Arlan Ettinger the president of Guernsey’s pointed out to me, most people don’t come to auctions anymore; they do all their bidding online. Insanity you say? Incorrect you are. Besides myself and the husband, this guy was the only other patron in the joint:
So how did people bid? Online. How did I bid? Online. Why? Because I didn’t know any better. Why did I bid? Because my Aunts told me that I should bid on some artwork that way I can I say I bid on stuff. You know, give myself snooty points. I thought to myself: Self, that’s a great idea. So I bid on a back piece by Michelle Wortman. One of my top five favorite tattoo artists. I was quickly outbid. But, my Aunties were right (music to any McCluskey females ear), it WAS fun. So, I internet bid on two more pieces. Guess what folks; I wasn’t out bid and that’s why you want to GO TO THE AUCTION. Bid at the auction. Had I bid live at the auction, both pieces would have started at fifty percent less than they did online. My husband wouldn’t have choked and then laughed at me. He laughed and laughed, until we found out they didn’t accept credit cards and we needed cash; guess who had the cash?
So what did I accidentally buy? What was this auction all about? How does one auction off tattoo art? Well look no further because this is what I am talking about, check out the full sleeve and back piece I *accidentally* won.
FAQ: Can these be tattoo’d on you? No, they are not on transfer paper like a real tattoo stencil. The back piece is a water color painting and the sleeve is a pen and maker drawing.
But what else was up there? Let’s take a look around, shall we?
Clearly, this collection was extensive. It was all brought together by one man, Peter Mui, who sadly passed away in 2009. Mr. Mui is most commonly known for his clothing line, Yellowman. Now known as YMX By Yellowman. The Yellowman clothing brand takes tattoo inspired artwork and makes it into wearable clothing.
It should look familiar, it was designed by Michelle Wortman herself!
I was, for one afternoon, surrounded by the artwork of some of the biggest names in the tattoo industry. Aaron Cain, Bob Roberts, Guy Aitchison, Horiyoshi III, and of course my girl Michelle are just to name a few of the fantastic artists that were represented in that room. Coming from a giant tattoo nerd, it was an experience I know I will always treasure. Not just for the eye candy (the artwork, not the people, although that dog certainly was adorable), but also for the valuable lesson: ALWAYS BID AT THE AUCTION!!