The three-day event - which went down from October 26-28, 2012 - has become a staple in the tattoo industry. All year long, the tattoo community anxiously waits for the big tat bash in Las Vegas,and every year they're met with a great time - way beyond their expectations even. Last year's convention was no different.
On day one, the spectators weren't the only ones who were excitedly buzzing; tattoo machines began etching ink on skin as soon as the doors to the convention hall opened. Tattoo artists from all over the world were in the building. Big names like Pride, Mike DeMasi, Bob Tyrrell, Horitoshi 1, Bowery Stan, Freddy Negrete, Andy Engel,Randy Engelhard, The Sulu'ape Family, legendary tattooer Mark Mahoney, and many others made it out to meet, greet, and ink their fans.
Some ink slingers that you may have seen on TV were also present, like Lalo Yunda of season two of"Ink Master," Chris Torres of "NY Ink," and from season one of "Best Ink," Jon Mesa, Roman, and London Reese. The cast of "Black Ink Crew" were also up in the spot with the VH1 cameras tracing their every move. Yours truly even caught two seconds of TV fame on "Black Ink Crew." Good looking out, VH1! Ha!
While the tattoo artists were elbow-deep in ink, traditional canvas artists were going hard in the paint by the main stage. Canvases surrounded the stage where artists were hard at work, creating remarkable paintings - some of which were renderings of legends in the tat game like Gil Monte.
Urban Ink was posted up against the far wall of the Convention Center, taking portrait photos of those proud enough of their ink to bare it all for our pages. It was exciting meeting folks from all around the world and shooting photos of the amazing art they've collected along their journeys. All of the different tattoos and the stories that came with them were as unique as the persons they were attached to.
As is customary at the BTSOE, artists were awarded trophies on each day for producing some of the sickest tattoo art. Categories ranged from Best Black and Grey (Male/Female) to Best Tattoo of the Day. The Best of Show award, though, was presented to George Mavridis - of Tattooligans Tattoo Studio, based in Greece - for a striking leg pieceof Batman and his nemesis, Bane, tattooed on Mavridis' client, Rene. That piece was a definite showstopper.
On all three days,everyone was treated to an after party experience like no other. Every night after the tattoo machines were put away, everyone headed to King Ink, where the guitars and drums ruled the night. Party goers were treated to live rockin' performances from some of their favorite tattoo personalities like Andy Engel,Bob Tyrrell, and even Horitoshi 1 hit the stage on one of the nights. Robert Van Winkle - known to most of you as Vanilla Ice - also set the King Ink stage on fire.If you do decide to vacay out in Vegas this coming Fall, it is crucial that you make the Biggest Tattoo Show On Earth one of your main stops in Sin City- it might just save your vacation. For more info on the BTSOE, visitlasvegastattooshow.com.
Photos by Dan Howell and Steve Prue
Article by Emmanuel Urena