Monday, May 16, 2011

2011 New York Tattoo Convention

On Friday the 13th, 2011, the 14th Annual New York Tattoo Convention kicked off at the Roseland Ballroom in Manhattan. This 3 day affair showcased over 70 tattoo studios and vendors from around the world. It is regarded by some as the biggest convention of it's kind in the United States. The convention often has a large attendance, and there's never a shortage of tattoo art to be seen. Ironically, the 14th anniversary of the convention marks the 14th year that tattooing once again became legal by law in New York. It had been banned by law from 1961-1997.

Over the past 60 years, tattooing has evolved from an anti-social cultural status to a widely accepted form of art expression. While tattoos have been around for ages, spanning back to the to the days of the Egyptian pharos, it wasn't until the late 80's that modern cultures began to regard them as stylish fashion statements. Today, tattoo's are enjoyed by almost anyone who can appreciate art. The human body has become a living canvas for the skillful tattoo artist. For some, a handful of tattoos are quite enough, yet others will keep having artwork added as long as there's blank skin to be tattooed upon.

This was my first attendance at the NY Tattoo Convention. It quite exceeded my expectations. I knew going in that I would see amazing art, and I was far from disappointed when I left. Everyone in attendance had tattoos to show, and there wasn't a shy person in the crowd. Thankfully, I had my camera on hand and was able to chronicle some of the fantastic art I had witnessed that day. My friend Giovanni, who is writing an article on tattoos, had the pleasure of interviewing several artists as well as tattooed attendees. We learned a little more about the tattoo culture that day, for certain, everyone has a story to tell behind each of their tattoos. From deep personal meaning to unprecedented mistakes, it is still a fact that tattoos represent life. I hope you enjoy the selection of photographs below from the convention. The full set is available on flickr

Irezumi - Japanese for the "insertion of ink". Here a tattoo artist applies ink using the traditional, more painful method 

A Family Affair  - Punk Singer Tibbie X at The NY Tattoo Convention
Marilyn Monroe surrounded by the Mexican actresses from the same era.

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