NEPA Inks Up

Alexandria Smith, Web Master

Tattoo fans were inked at the first Northeastern Pennsylvania tattoo arts festival Aug 30,31 and Sept. 1.

Located within the Genetti Hotel Convention Center and supported by 570 Tattooing Co. and Marc’s Tattooing of Wilkes-Barre, the NEPA Tattoo Arts Festival showcased over 30 shops and representatives of the art form such as The Bohemian Tattoo Club of Kokomo Indiana, House of Ink of Exeter Pa, and Flower of Life Studios in Boalsburg Pa., and offered much even to the most casual tattoo enthusiasts.

Live painting demonstrations and music from local acts such as Jove, Frank Froese Jr. and ZFL occurred side-by-side, but the tattoo arts remained at the forefront of every attendee’s mind, including client Chelsea Carbaugh of Clarion, Pa.

Carbaugh, a frequent client of Andy Mast of Resolute Custom Tattooing, was enthusiastic about her first visit to a tattoo event of this kind.

“Where I’m at, there are only two or three shops in town. It’s nice to come out and see all that different artwork,” she said.

The new and veteran artists of the event shared similar excitement.

Budding tattoo artist Amber Meister of Three Rivers, Mi., now of Pa., attended the event out of both a desire for a new piece and to gain more insight into the world of her new career. She noticed several differences between this festival and the famed 18th Annual Motor City Tattoo Expo in Michigan.

“This one is much smaller. It’s the first year and whoever Marc [Fairchild] is obviously has a great set up of artists. There a lot of really well-known artists as well as his shops and others a couple hours nearby shops participating. So hopefully in a few years it can be a larger convention. I know my shop is interested in maybe coming here next year,” said Meister.

Similarly, cover feature Tat- too Revue and a key player in a vibrant new school of style, Jason Ackerman, of Stroke of Genius Tattoo in Boca Raton, Fl. admits that while he has attended over a hundred tattoo events this has been his first within the area.

The smaller attendance numbers made for much closer interactions with both artists and clients throughout the weekend and a much more relaxing experience, according to Scotty Whitaker of Emerald City in Greensboro, Nc.

“Since it’s small, it’s more intimate for the artist because we all know each other versus doing Baltimore or Philly when you have 500 booths which, there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s just like if we were in Baltimore, I might not see him all week- end ‘cause he’s 100 yards away. Whereas, this place is 60 artists, and we’re all friends, so it’s more intimate,” said Whitaker.

Both artists projected the festival to be very busy because of its size and hoped that it would grow accordingly in the next year. The event’s popularity could be a problem, especially if there aren’t enough artists to take care of all the people.

More event details, including a full list of sponsors, events, artists, and vendors can be found at the official website, nepatattoofest.com

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