Flash of Ink in a Pan

Flash of Ink in a Pan

Jet, owner of Love Hate Tattoo. Except for the one by the mural on Monroe, all photos provided by Lazerus


Lazerus’ graffiti art at the Village Gate

You met Caesar Lazerus in Who is this Masked Man?  It happens that Lazerus is really not so mysterious. The mask? A little street theater to keep people guessing.

Just a regular guy with a passion for graffiti art — and even more seriously — for body art of which he is a practitioner.

Now Lazerus offers some “Real Life engagement” journalism well suited for Talker’s gonzo side. Lazerus went to the April 2016 Rochester Tattoo Expo and reports back.

Tattoos are all about the flash. Walking into any parlor, you are bombarded with image after image. Things of color, black and grey, statues, murals, pretty ladies — all  used to grab a persons attention and bring them into the inked culture. And always, when walking into a tattoo parlor, take your time. Talk for a couple cigarettes (15-20 minutes). See if you can find what the vibe of the shop is really telling. Sometimes screaming, at you. Step into verstehen: to perceive from another’s shoes.


stonework by Liam

After spending three different days and six honest hours at the Rochester Tattoo Expo put on by Rochester’s own Love Hate Tattoo, I was amazed. The challenges of working an event like this are not for poor planners or greenbacks. For what many need a whole building has to be done in a ten by ten square.

Countless artists need to jump into the shoes of a Rochester citizen and find what Flash they can use in that little square to spread their art. Luring a wild beast is a dangerous game for even the best hunters.

Physical Graffiti in particular was a very great model of flash. Walking up, dozens of eyes stared at me, unblinking, cold and glassed over.  They were on statues so I wasn’t as scared, but I was certainly intrigued. Comparing this to other tables covered in print outs like dinner mats, I was impressed. Not because I had more eyes starring at me than I knew what to do with, but because it was saying; “Hey look at this, our time isn’t all about tattoos but it is about creation.” If you think making marks with a pencil you’ll never erase is hard, try working stone that will never grow.

One artist in particular I was ecstatic to see was Liam who last year he gave me a phenomenal tattoo. Check him out at Instagram @LiamQ.  Liam’s stand was simple; black table cloth, one portfolio and seven FINISHED INK drawings, and a Instagram paper. Simple, neat, not begging you to stop and just flip through album after album or stare at a screen for six seconds a slide. Partnering with the Hand of Fate from Ithaca, Liam stole the show. If judging, I would cast a vote for his place in the hall of fame if not king of the convention.


Lazerus’ tattoo

not from expo

The “dreamcatcher” exemplifies the “joker”

So if  Liam was the king, who was the jester? Not just one but many.  Walk around the ring of exhibits for a few laps. Maybe you’ll see some stands turn out two happy customers, maybe at least one, but its hilarious when you see them faking giving a tattoo. I watched one artist with a stellar flash table and position. Best stand in area with its marble table, but you didn’t see the best flash of all. He had the most gorgeous lady getting her upper thy inked with a complex mandala dreamcatcher. If the table didn’t get your attention, she did, and yes that means all the ladies too.  As I watched, he went patiently. Some would say blindingly fast because it looked like he wasn’t even moving. I came to the conclusion that he was miming. Further confirmed when he had foot pedal trouble in front of me and “had” to stop. Regardless between that beautiful thin man with the beard and Liam I could not chose a Master of the convention.

So let me tell you the real king’s name himself. Jet.   JET.   J      –        E      –        T.    He is the owner of Love Hate Tattoo , and his reputation rightfully proceeds him. When I asked Dewey Rice, “Who is you favorite artist in the city?” he had no hesitation, “Jet.” Period, that was it.

Jet and his team were able to not only organize an unexplainable phenomena that left me short of words.  But after going I could whisper to anyone. Verstehen. Now when someone whispers in my ear it tickles. It gives me warm fuzzy feelings uncontrollably. The Rochester Tattoo Expo left my tongue tied, stunned my eyes, and made my heart race. Thank you Jet for mastering Flash and knowing how to make it whisper.

Talker is doing experiential journalism (formerly gonzo journalism). Join us


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About The Author


Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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