A weekend at a tattoo expo is a weekend well spent
By Joseph Lucero
Cultural events like custom-car shows are a blast to attend. Looking at row after row of beautiful cars and appreciating the time and effort that went into restoring and/or customizing each of them—and getting to meet the justifiably proud owners—is a blast.
Cannabis expos cover the spectrum of the medical-marijuana culture, including new products, advice on how to properly medicate, and what’s new regarding the law and your rights.
Finally … tattoo expos are especially awesome. They allow attendees to view the works of 70 to 200 different tattoo shops, showcasing many different styles and up to several hundred different artists. An expo is a great place to get your first or next tattoo. There are so many great tattoo artists out there now.
I recently attended and was a judge at the Ink Masters Tattoo Show, held at the Double Tree Hotel in Orange County. There were approximately 80 booths occupied by tattoo artists and their respective shops, as well as vendors’ booths featuring popular clothing lines, custom artwork and food. It was a three-day event that brought in some of the top tattoo artists from around the country.
At the judging table, I viewed literally hundreds of tattoos and was tasked with picking out the best in about a dozen categories. It was not an easy task, but the fact that fellow judges included Tony Romel (the owner of Tattoo Society Magazine) and George Galindo (owner of the renowned House of Pain in El Paso, Texas) made sitting at the judging table a little less painful. The tattoos were incredible—and the competition was fierce.
Liz Cook won the award for best tattoo at the show with a George Romero zombie portrait that was incredible. She is based in Dallas and attends shows throughout the United States and abroad. It was a pleasure meeting Liz and seeing her work.
Another tattoo artist at the event was Bob Tyrrell. What an amazing artist! It’s hard to believe he didn’t start tattooing until he was older than 30, and today, he’s one of the leaders in the game. He is a humble man with an unbelievable passion for what he does.
The entire lineup was a who’s-who of the tattoo industry, and was by invitation-only. Many of the shops and artists who attended offered pre-scheduled appointments, and locals and other attendees took advantage by booking tattoo sessions early. However, some attendees were also able to squeeze a last-minute session with a favorite artist.
The Dub Show, a popular auto show, was going on that weekend as well—and was held right down the road. Of course, I would have loved to take a quick trip to see the cars and bikes at that show … but the rain pretty much shut down those plans. Poor me … I couldn’t take a break from the tattoo expo—where I was surrounded by unbelievable artwork, great conversations, beautiful women, hundreds of buzzing tattoo machines, and my bird’s-eye view of some of the best skin art in the world.