Fleur the Kiwi
The DGT&G crew are still buzzing with ideas and inspiration after three days spent among the amazing artists and creative energy of the Biggest Tattoo Show on Earth, Mario Barth’s annual tattoo extravaganza, held this year at the Mirage Las Vegas, home of the first King Ink in-casino tattoo studio and bar room.
The atmosphere at the show was a fascinating blend of creative energy, serious professionalism, and invited voyeurism, as world-class artists such as Randy Englehard, Boris from Hungary, Moni Marino, the renowned Japanese master Horitoshi1, and many, many more plied their trade in full view of all who wandered by or stopped to watch. (For the full list of artists, click here.)
To the constant background buzz of tattoo needles like a swarm of tiny Vespas, we strolled the avenues of artists and vendors. The visual stimulation was exhilarating: by the end of the weekend, I almost felt drunk on the colors, wildly creative art — body art and also paintings — crafts — furniture (coffin couch, anyone?), jewelry, bags, shoes, clothing — and the hair and attire of those present.
A few of the more prominent visual themes from the weekend … two-tone mohawks (including some magnificent ones a foot or two high); colors—red, black, gunmetal grey, and hot fuschia, which showed up most often as vibrant hair color (somehow all the women got the memo except us); and bared flesh—arms, thighs, backs, bellies, derrieres. It wasn’t only a tattoo show, it was a tattoo show on Halloween weekend in Vegas…
On prominent display, elevated on centrally located platforms, were Samoan tattoo artists (male and female) and Horitoshi1, allowing artists and attendees alike to admire the craft and artistry of these two methods and to compare and contrast them with the standard western method—true to their mutual Pacific roots, the former two styles are similar, using a tapping motion as opposed to the dig-and-drill style most familiar in the U.S. and other western nations. Horitoshi 1 is a master of the ancient art of tebori, a traditional Japanese technique of tattoo that dates back centuries.
Each day also featured contests — best black and white tattoo (female and male), best back or chest tattoo (female and male), best of the day, etc. To see photos of the winners, visit the show’s Facebook page.
The show was in fact so inspirational, I almost got my first tattoo … but didn’t. Maybe next year.
Coming soon: how a kookaburra scared the bejeezus out of Vanilla Ice; features on suspension master Steve Truitt and designer and shirt-cutter extraordinaire tonymash; and more highlights and fun from the tattoo show, including the first-ever Biggest Tattoo Show after-party jam session in the King Ink nightclub. Also in the works, a spotlight on female tattoo artists.
Stay tuned and check back often!