Arizona Tattoo Expo Brings Big-Time Ink Slingers to Mesa this Weekend

Forget about hearts with "Mom" in the middle or knuckle tattoos that read "Love" and "Hate" -- tattooing is now a serious art form.

As we detail in this week's cover story, Marked Man, tattooists like local sensation Andrick Aviles are working to dispel the idea that ink-on-flesh is not a legitimate medium. Aviles' work is heavily inspired by classical artists like Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci, and his stunning black-and-gray portraiture has been praised by the likes of artist (and Arizona Tattoo Expo organizer) Sage O'Connell, who owns Urban Art Tattoo studios in the Valley.

If you want to see work the caliber of Aviles' (including that of artists from O'Connell's Urban Tattoo), we recommend hitting up the Arizona Tattoo Expo, taking place Saturday and Sunday, May 21 and 22, at the Mesa Convention Center, 263 N. Center Street in Mesa.

Aviles says he'll be in attendance, though he's not participating. He's excited about the more than 150 artists from all over the country who'll be on-hand, including Detroit-based Bob Tyrrell, one of his big influences.

Other notable tattoo artists who'll be in attendance include Sean Dowdell of Club Tattoo, Abey and Klown from Lowrider Tattoo, Ram Lee, David Lopez of Tsunami Tattoo, and Rooster from Prick Tattoos. There will also be a ton of seminars, on topics such as "Mastering Realism," magnetic finger jewelry and laser branding (both conducted by Phoenix-based body modification artist Steve Haworth), and tattoo eyeliner.

The Tattoo Expo includes an art gallery, contests for the best tattoo in different categories, and vendors selling everything from tattoo removal (Arizona Laser Tattoo Removal) to fashion (Sullen Clothing).

Tickets to the Arizona Tattoo Expo cost $20 per day, or $35 for a weekend pass. Visit for more information.

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea

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