Body Art Expo: Tattoo aficionados gather in Phoenix


by Mike Gertzman

Posted on February 17, 2012 at 6:07 PM

Updated Saturday, Feb 18 at 1:09 PM

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PHOENIX -- TV shows like "LA Ink" and "NY Ink" have a loyal audience on cable television.

For those in the Valley who want to get closer to the tattoo scene, the Body Art Expo is the place to be this weekend.

The event is being held at the Arizona State Fairgrounds from Feb. 17 - 19.

The convention features dozens of tattoo artists and exhibitors from around the country, tattoo contests with names like "Hot Stud" and "Hot Babe," and a few performances that you certainly can't see every day.

One of the more unusual displays is called "Human Suspension," the act of suspending a human body from hooks that have been put through body piercings.

Another show features a man who calls himself "The Enigma" and a woman known as "Serena Rose the Electric Girl." They both tour with a group known as the Show Devils, billed as the "world's most dangerous show."

"Tattoos are pretty cool," according to The Enigma, speaking of himself in the third person, he told 3TV, "The Enigma, he got his whole body covered because he just wanted to be a different color."

"The Enigma's" body is covered with a blue jigsaw puzzle tattoo. "I've been tattooed by over 250 artists around the world, everywhere from South Africa to Switzerland all wanting a piece of the action. It's just a way to become blue piece by piece. The reason it's blue, it's the backside of the puzzle, the art is on the inside."

The tattoo artists at the Body Art Expo use a variety of techniques from around the world.

Vinny Sky with Blue Dragon Tattoo in Glendale says conventions like the Body Art Expo offer the opportunity for tattoo artists to win awards, meet other artists and enjoy looking at other tattoo work.

"A lot of people think they can just pick up a set of machines and start tattooing somebody but nowadays there are a lot of true artists," says Sky.

Sky says people have many different reasons for picking certain tattoos. They may want to tell a story with their tattoos, remember somebody, or honor a friendship or loved one.

"Tattoos are pretty much for everyone. We tattoo teenagers, grown-ups, police officers, fireman, nurses, doctors and lawyers."

With tattoos and body piercings now part of the mainstream in America, it's easy to understand why cable television shows like "LA Ink" and "NY Ink"are so popular. Perhaps, one day there will be a 24-hour cable television devoted to the cultural phenomenon known as body art.