On one side there are some creepy clowns trying to make sure you never sleep again, on the other side a table is filled with jars of deformities sitting in formaldehyde, and all the while a heavily tattooed young lady is 15 feet above dangling from hooks in her back. With all this to take in a person can almost forget that there are over 1,000 tattoo artists hard at work all over the seemingly infinite room. Welcome to the 19th Annual Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Convention.
So many words come to mind when describing the whirlwind of a weekend, but few are more appropriate than massive. The sheer size of the convention is completely overwhelming. Most tattoo conventions take place in hotel ballrooms, Philly takes place in a massive convention center and then fills that room to the brim. “It’s cool to be part of something so large on this side of the country,” Fresno, California’s Audie Fulfer Jr. explains. “And I get to hang out with more than a few friends while tattooing my clients.”
Every corner of the place was filled with visually-striking art — on the people walking around, in the form of flash waiting to be tattooed, and as prints ready to be framed. With so many gifted artists in attendance every possible sub-genre of the art was well represented. Artists like Nikko Hurtado and Jamie Schene were there to make your color realism dreams come true. Artists like Nene and Carl Grace were turning out stupendous black & grey. Want to kick it old school? The legendary Shanghai Kate Hellenbrand and Phil Hatchet-Yau, as well as Myke Chambers, Kate Collins and the rest of Philly’s own Seven Swords Tattoo were on hand tattooing outstanding traditional pieces.
Jared Bent provided the most touching moment of the entire weekend when he tattooed a tribute to the infamous founder of the convention, Crazy Philadelphia Eddie. This was the first convention since he passed away last year, and his anarchic spirit was felt by everyone.
We wish that we could relive the entire jam-packed weekend all of the time, but the video above will have to suffice for now. But in no time we will be able to go back to the City of Brotherly Love and do it all over again. So, make sure you clear the second weekend of February in your calendar for next year, hit the treadmill so you can eat your weight in cheesesteaks without too much guilt, and pick out a nice piece of skin to get tattooed and we’ll see you next year for the 20th Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Convention!