The 10th annual Star of Texas Tattoo Art Revival festival continues this weekend at the Palmer Events Center.
“We have over 100 booths and right at 200 tattoo artists this year,” explains organizer Marcy Molkenthen. “Artists are a good mix of traveling talent from as far away as Japan, and from New York to Seattle, plus many great Texas artists. As for people that attend, we get about 3,500 people from all over Texas, plus some that fly or drive in from other states and even Mexico.”
Artist Adam Walsh from Triple Crown, here on Austin's East side.
The show is a great place to get inspiration, or just appreciate the unique designs you see in the crowd.
Artist Chris Jacobson showing his chest piece; it reads "FAIL FORWARD," meaning learn from your mistakes.
“For someone looking for a tattoo or thinking about getting their first tattoo, conventions are great,” says Molkenthen. “Nowhere else can you see the number of artist portfolios and see first hand the diversity of work---from black and grey to bold color, from Japanese to photorealistic.”
A woman with a tremendous back piece, being prepped by an artist from Triple Crown Tattoo Parlour.
The show also ties in other efforts from artists, highlighting projects like publications, gallery shows and more.
“Each year we also have a feature subject and subsequent book release — co-ordinated by Zack and Ezra from Triple Crown Tattoo. This year’s theme is ‘2012 The End of Time.’”
An artist from Austin's Amillion Tattoo Parlour.
There's more to the festival than just tattoos, Molkenthen explains.
“One of my biggest goals with the show is to promote art in all it's forms — body art, of course, but also fine art in our large gallery, car and motorcycle displays and entertainment that all compliment the ‘art vibe.’ Even the hand-selected vendors tend to feature their own art, whether it's t-shirts or corsets or art books.”
Those looking to get tattooed either signed up months in advance with visiting artists, or come and browse through books to find someone whose style fits their ideal design.
Artist Manda May.
“Tattoo of the Day is for tattoos done completely at the show; all other contest categories are for healed tattoos and open to everyone. Contests are a great way to both share your ink and also pay respect to the artist for their hard work by giving them recognition.
People seem to like our Texas iron sculpture trophies — again, handmade and more folk-art than bowling trophy.”
(Molkenthen’s brother, Tom, crafts the unique trophies.)
While getting tattooed in a showroom may not sound so comfortable, artists generally provide padded chairs, and there's plenty to watch; and, of course, the materials used are completely sanitary and up to the same standards you'd find in a pro shop.
Artist Jesse Gordon, of Inksmith & Rogers, from Jacksonville Florida.
Artist Jen Mumford, from Michigan, showing her piece inspired by traditional Polynesian tattoos (right)..
There were many Texas tattoos to be seen, from the state flag, hometown maps, area code and more; this face tattoo (right) was the only clearly visible one representing H-town.
Artist Justin Wilson showing his tattoo (right); it translates essentially to: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding."
“There are three basic type of people that come to conventions,” Molkenthen explains. “The collector — someone who keeps up on the different artist in the magazines and wants to get work from certain people. For collectors it's a great chance to get work from someone from out of state or country that you might not ever be able to see otherwise.”
An attendee prepares to get a huge shark tattoo; the artist begins to freehand the design.
“There’s the ‘regular’ tattoo consumer,” Molkenthen continues, “whatever ‘regular’ is these days, since everyone from celebrities to chefs to athletes to professional people have tattoos. Some of these people will actually make the decision to get tattooed at the show, while others may go away knowing what studio they want to go to when they do get tattooed down the road.”
Work by Austin's Inkarceration Tattoo Parlor.
“Lastly are the curious. Austinites in particular like to know what is going on, what is hip, and they come out to see what tattooing is all about. The show provides a laid back atmosphere without the ‘scary’ aspect of walking into a random tattoo show. Many will never get tattooed, and that's fine, too; some might actually become inspired and all can enjoy the visual overload and great people watching!”
The show is a great way for artists to showcase their work to a huge audience, whether their ink is on skin or on canvas.
“The gallery is always the thing I look forward to the most. and what separates the Star of Texas Tattoo Art Revival from other conventions. I ask that all participating artists to bring fine art for the gallery and I am always blown away by the creativity and diverse subject matter.”
The festival wraps up today, so don't miss your chance to check out some art — and maybe even get some ink.