Baby Tattooville on Parade 2011

The story begins on Wednesday of last week, frenetic cyber communications received for required copy, images and shout outs. Frenzied requests garnered from Ragnar (cover), Mark Berry (photographs) and Bob Self (copy voice) to put together a 72 page commemorative book for this year’s Baby Tattooville On Parade.

Thursday morning, drop off at 9:30AM with the final design and production printed by Neyenesch Printers in San Diego. Friday arrives and they deliver the goods by 5PM. I picked up the books and hit the road, driving to the Mission Inn in Riverside.

The Mission Inn is a crucial character in Baby Tattoo Land, a didactic assembly made up of 50 collectors, 27 artists and 25 contributors. There is no other place like it—secret labyrinths, a maze of assembly halls designed within a architectural castle of sorts, comparable to an Elizabethan period film or goth-inspired vampire movie.

Baby Tattooville, creatively assembled by masterminded by Bob Self, is a unitarian call that assembles an interesting assortment of characters together for 3 days. Everyone that attends carries with them the anticipation of connecting with fellow collectors, friends and great artists. Well, let’s just say you never know what’s in store, as year after year mischievous musings overwhelm the senses.

Bob Self describes, “Baby Tattooville is the annual meeting of a secret society of contemporary artists and passionate art enthusiasts. Baby Tattooville’s intimate and immersive atmosphere provides an opportunity for select members of the contemporary art community to spend the weekend participating in both scheduled and spontaneous activities that result in the creation and celebration of art.” (Jeff Soto and KRK Ryden).

“You get the picture?” Artists included Riverside mayoral candidate Jeff Soto, soon to be Europe bound Lola Gill, beach cruisers Bob Dob and Brandi Milne, New York’s Travis Louie, Tara McPherson, James Gurney, Molly Crabapple, Ron English and soon to be transplanted to NY Buff Monster, Southern Cali artists Van Arno, Ana Bagayan, Gary Baseman, Tim Biskup, Luke Chueh, Coop, Michael Hussar, Gris Grimley, KMNDZ, KRK Ryden, Shag, Amy Sol, William Stout, Yoskay Yamamoto, naked rock star Anthony Ausgang, a chipper Frank Kozik, recent Mom Liz McGrath, and the bent over Osama comic drawer Johnny Ryan.

Baby Tattooville kicked off around 5PM on Friday welcoming the 5th Annual “Art Jam.” The “Art Jam” is a painted collaboration shared between all featured artists. This year’s painting was rocking. As an onlooker you become mesmerized. The painting changes about every 30 minutes, and a true jam session to completion. I rolled in around 9:30PM on Friday night and Jeff Soto and Frank Kozik were laying in the rough areas on the painting for other artists to add their iconic flavor.

Saturday night featured the Riverside Art Museum installation, “Baby Tattooville on Parade” featuring the history of all of the artists featured at Baby Tattooville over the past 5 years. “Baby Tattooville On Parade presents a collection of strange, fun art. The exhibition is loosely themed around the concept of The Marketplace of Ideas which suggests that freedom of expression is analogous to a free market economy —where open competition produces desirable results.” Later that night, guests, numbered 1—50, participated in a bean bag, knock-em down, Circus Punk toss to try to win their favorite shaggy art piece. (Circus Punk customs, above, below—Ron English and Robert Williams).

Michael Hussar’s room has doubled as a photographic memoir to the odalisque and good time binge. Sunday marked the final day to borrow the Las Vegas mantra, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” Onward to year six. Rockin. (Recap of Baby Tattooville year 4 here).

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