By ANA BRACCIALLI
Last weekend, Oct. 6-8, Tampa hosted the 2017 Tattoo Arts Convention at the Tampa Convention Center.
The event held more than 300 artists from all over the world, including Ink Masters contestants, such as Cleen Rock One, runner-up of seasons five and seven, and James Vaughn, a finalist on season one.
“This is the biggest event that I’ve been to,” tattoo artist Cindy Martens said. . “It’s so great to see so many artists. We are from up north, so, normally, we go to conventions in Connecticut and Syracuse, NY, but that’s not nearly the size. So it is really fun.”
Besides the many artists together in only one place and the tattooing, the event held a lot of options for entertainment, including burlesque shows by Gia Nova, and live human suspension, in which performers hang by piercings through their skin.
Many of the artists also use the convention to make their way into the business and spread their brand to the people. Martens said that even though she is tattooing, she also wants to sell her tattoo ink here in Florida.
“Our ink is big in Connecticut, but they are not in the market in the South, so we are just trying to push something new in this way,” said Martens.
The convention brings a lot of artists with different stories, which makes each of them unique, even though they have the same passion.
“Since I was a kid, I was always interested in doing art,” said Vanessa Harper, tattoo artist of her self-titled shop. “I wasn’t really sure in what I wanted to do as far as a career, so when I was 19, I got my first tattoo, and in the first five minutes into it I knew that I wanted more tattoos and I wanted to learn how to tattoo.I went home that day and I put [my artwork] all together into a portfolio, and I started going to the local shops. So my first tattoo really impacted me.”
Rayssa Taiar, a senior International Business and Marketing double major, went to the convention to check it out.
“The Tattoo Convention was definitely something else,”Taiar said. “It was interesting seeing a lot of people getting tattooed everywhere I looked. The only downside to it was that all of the artists that were tattooing in the convention had a very similar trace and very similar tattooing style. So, for the next time, I would suggest inviting artists that are more diverse and who can provide a different perspective to the tattoo world.”
Ana Braccialli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org