Egyptian women around 2,000 B.C. were thought to be the first to adorn themselves with tattoos, until the prehistoric remains of “Ice Man,” found in 1991 at the Italian/Austrian border with ink-marked fingers, pushed the date back 1,000 years. For five millennia since, tattoos have been status symbols in many cultures, declarations of faith and love, and the basis for street cred—and everything in between. The original process of tattoo creation—using small, crude wooden and/or bronze implements—has evolved to the use of state-of-the-art machines. Whatever the process, it’s a personal experience for the tattooed: The artist-client relationship is often one of trust, imagination and inspiration.
To celebrate this tradition, the world’s finest artists-in-ink descend on Salt Lake City like “Gypsies,” which is the theme for the eighth annual convention hosted by Flaco Productions—CJ Starkey and Nate Drew of Lost Art Tattoo in Salt Lake City and Ogden (City Weekly is a sponsor). The Salt Palace will be a colorful and buzzing convention hub, worth a look even without the intention of receiving a permanent keepsake.
Emcee Chris Longo will hold daily contests for tattoo of the day as well as for best sleeve, portrait, and black & gray, to name a few. Desert Journey School of Dance will perform belly-dancing. The Tarot Card Project will host more than 78 original interpretations of the Tarot, painted by featured tattoo artists. Also, Tarot card readers will be on hand—although they won’t divine the artist or tattoo for you to choose. That choice will be up to you.
Salt Lake City International Tattoo Convention @ Salt Palace Convention Center, 100 S. West Temple, 801-534-4777, Feb. 18-20, $20 for one-day pass, $40 for three-day pass. SLCTattoo.com