The first annual, Entinta la Piel (Tattoo the Skin), took place in San Miguel de Allende, approximately eight hours from Sayulita, at the classy hotel and convention center, La Casona. It was an honor for Chops Papillon, owner of Papillon Family Studios, and two tattoo artists who work with him, Jose Sanjuan and Phil Bartell, to attend this invite only tattoo convention from Friday, April 28th through Monday, May 1st.
Chops, Jose, and Phil, are all seasoned tattoo artists based in Sayulita who regularly get invited to tattoo conventions around the world, but there are very few of any caliber in which they choose to participate these days. However, when a friend of Jose’s, who also happened to be one of the organizers of Entinta la Piel, extended an invite, they found it intriguing and were interested in being a part of it.
While tattoo industry professionals generally organize the majority of tattoo conventions, Entinta la Piel was the exception to the rule. San Miguel de Allende has a vibrant art community with a large number of galleries, studios, and boutiques, as well as many high-end restaurants, offering an air of sophistication, which makes bringing a different approach to a tattoo convention the perfect spin for this Mexican city.
“We are pretty insular, so if someone is coming from outside of the industry, we are hesitant. However, Entinta la Piel intrigued us and drew us to it. This convention was organized and sponsored by a group of people who combined their talents and put together a very nice set up. For instance, there was a graphic designer, a fashionista, a movie director, a 5-star restaurant owner, hotel owners, beer companies, water companies, barber shops – the whole thing was very boutiquey, top shelf kind of stuff,” said Chops and Jose.
While most tattoo conventions host between 100 and 200 tattoo artists and have between 5,000 and 10,000 attendees each day, Entinta la Piel kept the event very intimate and exclusive with only nine tattoo artists, including the three tattoo artists from Papillon Family Studios, and between 100 and 200 attendees each day. “The whole concept was more of a presentation, rather than the grind of a normal convention. It was more about putting together an event, rather than making money,” said Chops.
During Entinta la Piel, the days were long and it wasn’t uncommon to spend 12 to 13 hours a day tattooing. With their experience and expertise, the demand for tattoos was greater than time allowed. “The hardest part was getting to everyone who wanted tattoos,” confided Jose. “But, it was really fun and we will participate in Entinta la Piel again next year,” added Chops.
The next tattoo convention the guys from Papillon Family Studios will participate in is Viva la Tinta, which is very exclusive and also invite only. In fact, work has to be submitted, judged, and then approved prior to participation. It will take place in Guadalajara, four hours from Sayulita, from Friday, November 3rd through Sunday, November 5th, 2017.