Tattoo Pavillion At C2E2 by Samantha LaFountain

Posted by March 19, 2011 Comment

Samantha LaFountain writes for Bleeding Cool

It was Pablo Picasso who said, “Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.” If this is true that you can find Heather Maranda’s entries walking the floor on the arms and legs of C2E2 spectators. Heather could be found with her bright blonde curly mohawk sitting at her booth in the Tattoo Pavillion at C2E2 with her portfolio full of gorgeous portraits and warm smile on her face. Surprisingly, tattoo artists and booths are extremely common at conventions, perfect for the spur of the moment tattoos of the sketch you just got by your absolute favorite artist (or getting Stan Lee’s signature on you forever!).

Heather is a mother of three kids, loves karaoke and storytelling. And when you look at her portfolio of stunning masterpieces you’ll be surprised to learns he’s only been tattooing for a little under four years. She explained that she had always been interested in tattooing, having her spend her life being an artist and even going to college for a time for fine arts, however, every time she tried to start, life would bring up a road block. After leaving her office job behind a few years ago she was at crossroads of where she wanted to go, she was an adult with a family, and this was the best time to make tattooing happen.

As Heather set up to give a tattoo to a young woman named Brook, she spoke of how much she enjoyed the C2E2 and comic convention atmosphere. She explained that she enjoyed going to shows all over the country because it gave her the ability to make friends everywhere. Opening her box of ink, an explosion of colors is released and she explains, “I really love colors.” As she took out the perfect colors for the waiting customer she laughed about her first comic being Hate by Peter Bagge and her husband loved Captain America.

Brook is 29 and was waiting to start her eighth tattoo and was planning on getting her ninth by another artist in the Tattoo Pavilion. She got her first tattoo when she was 17, in memorial for her sister who had passed away. After that time, for every major event in her life, happy or sad she got a tattoo for it. She later speaks of a tattoo on her back that is a quote from the Crow, “It can’t rain all the time.” that she got after recovering from a time when she was very sick and depressed. The tattoos are a positive reminder to her.

Today, Brook decided to get the Green Lantern symbol on the inside of her right wrist to honor the first comic book she ever read. She happily spoke of when she and her husband first met in seventh grade and he had hidden away his comic book collection from her in fear of her judging him. She found it one day and now in their home, they have entire room dedicated to comics. Brook finds the process of getting a tattoo extremely relaxing and doesn’t even flinch when Heather begins her intricate work. She explained that this was her first tattoo that she was getting at a comic convention, she usually frequented her local tattoo guy in the Quad Cities, and almost felt like she was cheating on him a little bit.

They both had the same answer to the question, “What is most frequently asked about with your tattoos?” They laughed and answered, “Did it hurt?” Heather explained more that there will be other questions, being a tattoo artist that she will have to face. Some customers will ask for the base price, which like normal original art, is hard to place when the piece hasn’t even been done yet. She explained that it was a sliding scale and Brook added that you can base it on scale of a hundred dollars for every hour– but even this isn’t set in stone. Heather said that still the pain question is the most frequent though but most don’t understand that after a certain amount of the time the brain switches the pain off due to adrenaline. Also, you either get one tattoo and that is it or you end up getting more than you expected.
Even as modern as this day and age can be, the taboo of tattoos is still very prominent but slowly getting better. Heather said that she found she became very numb to the attention of people staring at young age from dying her hair and being a rocker in College. Brooke explained how for work she has to cover her tattoos and usually hides her purple and blue highlights under her hair. However, recently her boss saw her strands of blue and purple and had no negative comments to give, only, “Looks good!”

As Heather is halfway down with the black filling of the symbol, she explained that tries to convince young kids not to get tattoos on their necks and forearms just because they have no idea what their future is holding for them. And just because they want it there now doesn’t mean they will want it when they are forty. She said that there are still prejudices against it, even though she feels you shouldn’t care what anyone thinks, you should still be thoughtful of the taboos. Brook chimed in, still showing no pain, that most people have their first tattoos covered up later down the line because they realize they really didn’t want Tweety Bird or Bugs Bunny on them forever. She explained further that when she gets older, she’s not gonna care how her tattoos look and will wear them proudly.

Getting a tattoo is a decision that should be though through because they will need to be maintained over the years and touched up. Heather said this was because your body is attacking your tattoo to heal it, to rebuild the skin cells. However, both women say they plan all their tattoos ahead of time, and already have plans for their next ones.
Brook spoke about how she convinced her husband about tattoo and after getting her first few he is now getting some of his own. She said, “Our mothers hate it but my dad doesn’t mind.”

“Mothers always hate it.” Heather said with a smile. With three kids of her own, Heather said, she would rather they wait till they are older for a tattoo because when you are young your bodies are always changing. She would also want to do their first tattoos because she can find the places on their body where the tattoo won’t warp as they get older. She talked of how her youngest was considering to become a tattoo artist and Heather may also teach her other children how to just so they have a career to fall back on. As Heather spoke, I watch as she uses her tattoo needles like a brush, she is gentle but very confident about her strokes.

As she finished the green and yellow flames that raged around the black circular symbol, it practically popped off of Brook’s wrist. It was only a little red and swollen around the art but Heather cleaned it gently and wrapped it, explaining to Brook thats he can take the wrapping off in a few hours. The whole tattoo took no long than forty-five minutes and Brook looked to her husband and asked, “Does this officially make me a nerd, now?”

Check out more information on Heather Maranda at!

Samantha LaFountain lives and writes in Chicago. She also has lots of tattoos and is planning on getting plenty more.

(Last Updated March 19, 2011 7:54 pm )