Irving — Body art of every kind was on display as tattoo artists came together for the Dallas Tattoo Expo held at the Irving Convention Center, Sept. 13-15.
“This is the seventh year of the Dallas Tattoo Expo,” Trent Valleau, event host for the expo, said. “We have over 300 artists coming in from different countries and different states as well as a lot of local artists from Texas. We’re celebrating the art and showcasing art on skin. Nowadays, it’s pretty amazing.
“In any city, you’re going to be able to find really phenomenal artists. But something cool about an expo like this is a lot of those phenomenal artists all come to one place at once. It’s your chance to get a tattoo from somebody who is coming from Brazil or France or even New York. [You do] not have to hop on an airplane and go get work from them.
“Some of [the attendees] are coming up and telling me, ‘Oh my gosh, thank you so much. You brought this incredible artist out from Australia, or wherever, I would have never had the opportunity to get a piece from, and now I have this unique piece that you’re not going to see walking around Dallas,’” he said.
Rowan Magennis, an apprentice tattoo artist from South Africa, is a collector of tattoos herself.
“My tattoos were done mostly at tattoo expos, and they’re all like show pieces,” Magennis said. “I would consider myself kind of a [tattoo] collector, because they don’t really have deep meanings to me. The meaning of my tattoos is I’m getting to display somebody else’s work.
“In this particular industry, you meet lawyers, doctors, nurses, all sorts of people, and you get to learn a lot. I think it’s also nice to share somebody else’s work, which is what I like so much about collecting tattoos, because you get to spend time with that person, and you get to watch them develop artistically. You get to have a timestamp of that person’s growth on you, which is great.”
For a long time, tattoos and body art had a negative connotation. However, Valleau said the public’s perception is starting to change. He hopes shows like the Dallas Tattoo Expo will show people how varied body art can be, and hopefully continue to change people’s perceptions of tattoos.
“I think as this show was starting is really when the perception was starting to change,” Valleau said. “You saw it popularized on TV shows and things of that sort. Now, a lot of military and police and these sort of organizations have more lax rules about what you can and can’t do as far as your body. It doesn’t make you a bad person just because you want to have art tattooed on your body. That’s basically what people are starting to learn and realize. There are some negative aspects of tattooing and prison and those sort of things, but honestly, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.”