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[dropcap size=big]I[/dropcap]nked Magazine presented The Golden State Tattoo Expo at the Pasadena Convention Center on Friday, January 27th through Sunday, the 29th. The expo was hosted by legendary tattoo artists Nikko Hurtado and Carlos Torres. Special guests included: Paul Booth, Stefano Alcantara, Norm, and Big Sleeps. There were tattoo artists from around the globe who traveled to sunny California to tattoo at this event, alongside local artists.

A few of the headlining artists were: Bob Tyrrell, Victor Portugal, Tatu Baby, Eric Gonzalez, Chuey Quintanar, Megan Jean Morris, Boris Tattoo, Freddy Negrete, and Jess Yen. Also, several tattoo shops participated at the convention; such as: Cryptic Tattoo, Deer’s Eye Studio, Hammerhead Tattoo, Ink Slingers, Todd Bailey Tattoo, Love Letters Tattoo, Ink & Dagger Tattoo, and many more. A special limited edition tattoo machine and signing by Mister Cartoon was also released on Saturday. There were numerous sponsors and vendors who were there to show their support and provide merchandise to attendees. Massage therapists were also present to soothe artists who needed a small break, or guests who simply wanted to unwind. Copro Gallery Tattoo Art Exhibit featured an alluring art installation of paintings, sculptures, and taxidermy art. In addition, Sullen Clothing was on a quest for their model search, so they can seek and find their next “Sullen Angel.”

Educational seminars were offered to guests in a separate facility next to the convention, which consisted of a variety of drawing and painting workshops, along with lettering techniques. Some of the artists who offered their skills and knowledge were: Carlos Torres, Nikko Hurtado, Norm, Matt Hurtado, and Stefano Alcantara.

Tattoo artist Chuey Quintanar with celebrity guest, Hazel E, from the TV show Love & Hip Hop. She is holding the Chuey Jesus piece.
Tattoo artist Chuey Quintanar with celebrity guest, Hazel E, from the TV show Love & Hip Hop. She is holding the Chuey Jesus piece.

The convention had quite a few entertainers that hit the stage. To keep the American traditional tattoo culture alive, a performance by Freakshow Delux really got the crowd going, as sideshow performers presented some out-of-the-ordinary bodily activities. You know, like a woman swallowing a long sword, and then another woman hammers a nail inside her nostril and has a guy from the crowd pull it out with his teeth.

Oh, and let’s not forget about the man who chose a spectator at random to yank on some hooks that were hanging from inside his lower eyelids, which allowed you to completely see his bloodshot eyeballs! Are you able to visualize that? Alright, now I will let you guys use your imagination on the additional performers. Like, a beautiful burlesque queen named LouLou D’Vil, the sexy Cervena Fox performing a vampire dance, and Plomo The Magician, who will have you wondering if what you saw just actually happened. It was quite the show.

Hundreds of artists, thousands of guests, and a few celebrities attended at this year’s convention and it is only getting bigger. With so much to offer, and stunning artwork to see on the human skin, it is no mystery on how this tattoo expo has been growing annually. Until next year...

Jessica Wilde, Inked Magazine cover model

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