The inaugural “United Ink” Tattoo and Body Art Expo, billed as the first of its kind on Long Island, is slated to launch a celebration of creative self-expression at Nassau Coliseum this month.
Part awards show, part freak show with scores of tattoos of all kinds—including temporary tats for the kids—will be on display at the convention July 27-29, presented by Tattoo Lou’s, an LI-based chain.
“I’m big into doing things that haven’t been done before and trying to make a splash with them,” said Tattoo Lou Jr. “If you always wanted a tattoo, this would be a great time to get it.”
The freakiest of the freaks will be there from the crazy Coney Island sideshow to J.C. Xtinked, the only hip-hop performer to put on a show suspended by shark hooks through his back.
And the havoc doesn’t stop there. The event will also feature fashion shows, break dancing battles, daily tattoo contests, the Miss United Ink crowning, a Dali Dynasty Art show and wild parties along the way.
Also being launched will be the Tattoo Hall of Fame, which recognizes body artists from around the world. The ceremony will be held on Sunday night at Club Aura and tickets must be purchased separately. The first official inductees will be announced that night and names will be accessible at tattoohalloffame.com.
Frankie Scorpion, production manager, said that it is going to be a red carpet event.
“It’s the Oscars of the tattoo industry,” she said.
She expects the expo to draw a crowd of about 35,000 people and 400 tattoo artists from around the world, including world-renowned artists and celebrities.
“This will be the next best East Coast tattoo convention and, within the next three years, it will probably will be one of the Top Five in this country,” Scorpion said.
Celebrities scheduled to attend include Mistress Juliya from FUSE, Megan Massacre and Chris Torres of TLC’s New York Inc, Roman Abrego from Best in Ink, Shane O’Neill and Al Fliction from Ink Masters, Amy Nicoletto from LA Ink and Brandon Bond, an award winning tattoo artist in Atlanta.
Other attending celebrities include members from Mob Wives, Tattoo Wives and possibly even Jersey Shore.
“We’ve got everything from politicians, to celebrity athletes, to regular celebrities, to tattoo celebrities,” Scorpion said. “This is going be the event of the year on Long Island.”
In case all of these things are not enough, Tattoo Lou also plans to break a Guinness World Record by putting together the world’s largest tattoo machine. Ice sculptor Reverend Butter will carve a large tattoo machine with a chainsaw. Tattoo Wives reality-show cast members plan to film their pilot and host an after party. And the Tattoo View Talk Show will be featuring various tattoo testimonials.
“I like to be mainstream and go with the main stream of the reality shows and being out there to the public, like the convention,” Lou said. “The tattoo business is looked at completely differently today, so I’m going to follow that way of thinking.”
It will be an event for the whole family with activities for kids such as face painting, temporary tattoos, coloring, a flash art contest and a kids’ corner. Children under 12-years old get in for free.
The convention will also prove to be a testament of how much things have changed in the tattoo industry since the days when only prisoners and sailors had ink.
“We’ve been underground for so many years that, now that we’re the popular fad that’s going on, people immediately—especially due to the economy—want to express themselves in other ways,” Scorpion said.
Despite the popularity the industry now enjoys, Lou and his colleagues also plan to relish some of the inherent shock value the event will conjure up.
“I’m just looking forward to seeing the reaction on people’s faces as they walk in and see what a tattoo expo is like,” said Mark Perez, marketing director for the event.