The Hell City Tattoo Fest took over the Arizona Biltmore this past weekend, and everything from elaborate, artistic back pieces to crappy nipple tattoos were on display.
We found some amazing competition (even in the "worst tattoo" contest on Saturday), along with some great pieces that weren't entered. A quick rundown of some of the best (and worst) tattoos in Hell City is after the jump.
One of the most colorful tattoos at the convention was a back piece with an ornate, beautiful peacock. The woman with the back piece, Annie, said the tattoo had been done by several different artists over the years, and she got it because "I just like peacocks."
Some people had more symbolic tattoos with stories behind them. Andy Lyn had a bright orange Phoenix bird tattooed along the length of her right leg. She says she got it to symbolize, "rising from the ashes" after several of her friends died after high school, over a series of months. "My sister got their names tattooed on her, but I decided instead of mourning, I'd celebrate," Lyn says.
We saw an amazing black and white biomechanical design by tattooist Willian Brent, from Hard Luck tattoo in Sierra Vista. The back piece combines a sci-fi, machine aesthetic with organic elements like feathers and scales. The guy sporting Brent's design was Kevin, who proudly explained "I was the only one big enough to put it on."
In addition to tattoos admirable for their artistic designs or personal symbolism, we also saw some funny -- and downright crappy -- tattoos, especially in the "Worst Tattoo" contest on Saturday. Two that stood out for us in terms of sheer awfulness were the "bottle-in-the-ass man" on some guy's calf (a stick figure with said bottle in bum), and the crudely inked words "White Trash" across the back of a guy named Robert Smith (not the singer of The Cure).
Check out complete Hell City Tattoo Fest slideshow action here.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.