A tattoo in progress during the 2017 Body Art Expo in Phoenix.EXPAND
A tattoo in progress during the 2017 Body Art Expo in Phoenix.
Melissa Fossum

Here’s What to Expect at the 2018 Phoenix Body Art Expo

For the 10th consecutive year, the world’s largest traveling tattoo convention will make its way to Arizona. The Body Art Expo is back in Phoenix from February 16 through 18 at the Arizona State Fairgrounds, 1826 West McDowell Road.

And if you’re one of the thousands whose eyes light up with joy and excitement every time you hear that buzzing noise only a tattoo machine can make, you won’t want to miss it.

As a celebration of rock ‘n roll, creatives, and art, the expo is all-inclusive to the Arizona community interested in the body ink culture — whether you’re tatted up or not.

Three hundred vendors will offer tattoos and piercings on-site, and the event will include 19 tattoo contests, food and beer for purchase, and live music tributes to AC/DC, The Rolling Stones, and Green Day.

Here's a look at some of the highlights attendees can expect to see throughout the weekend.

An impressive neck piece done at the 2017 Body Art Expo in Phoenix.EXPAND
An impressive neck piece done at the 2017 Body Art Expo in Phoenix.
Melissa Fossum

The three-day convention kicks off at 2 p.m. on Friday, February 16. There will be contests throughout the day, as well as a human suspension display on the main stage. Steve Bennett, the owner of 313 Suspension, will be piercing himself with metal hooks to lift himself off the ground. He'll reprise the performance twice more throughout the weekend.

Expect tattoo contests for best portrait, best color, and best cover-up throughout the expo. Attendees without ink can participate in various non-tattoo competitions, including "hottest babe," "hottest stud," and "hottest orgasm." Winners get, um, bragging rights.

Other events throughout the weekend include the Art Fusion Contest, which will feature tattoo artists painting on canvas instead of skin. The winner will be selected by the audience based on how well it represents a specific theme. It will then be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

If the audience wants to participate in the action, they can do so during the Tattoo Life Story Event, where they will get the opportunity to share the stories behind their tattoos.

In other words, there will be plenty to do.

The Body Art Expo at the Arizona State Fairgrounds, 1826 West McDowell Road. Tickets are $22 and available at the door. Hours are 2 to 11 p.m. on February 16; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on February 17; and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on February 18. More information on the Body Art Expo website.

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