Arizona Tattoo Expo

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By: Aja Viafora

Better than: watching LA Ink. Who needs the safety of your own home when you can wander around an expo full of needles?

The annual Arizona Tattoo Expo was flooded Mesa Centennial Hall with color and fashion this weekend. Thousands of valley residents with a fascination for body art and piercing were present and accounted for.

Attendees into people watching had plenty to gawk at thanks to the different styles out and about. The eclectic group of people with tattooed skulls, pierced faces, mohawks and all-black clothing were fascinating enough to stare at all night long. Most people seemed to welcome the attention and liked showing off their unusual piercings and unique tattoos.

Body piercers and tattoos parlors from the area set up mini-shops where they helped interested parties get ink or install gear. Attendees could walk around and watch others getting tattoos or even just watch the creative process of sketching out and planning a tattoo design.

Aside from the on-site work, seminars by the pro artists about different tattooing techniques such as cover-up and painting for the tattoo artist took place throughout the course of the weekend. There were over 150 worldwide famous tattoo artists and various tattoo contests.

Personal Bias: the wanna-be-rebel attitude is sexy on men and overwhelming on women. Sometimes people need to realize they should not use their bodies as a sketch pad. A tattoo for tattoos sake is not legit, but personal statements, works of art or meaningful remembrances are alluring.

Random Detail: Seemed as if skull tattoos were all the rage. Men with shaved heads paraded around with tattoos on their domes that were barely distinguishable. The stubble of hair covering the surface and the dark designs pouring up over the face onto the check bone and eyes that looked like bad stage makeup must have thrown me off.

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Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.