I tried to fit in at the Oregon Ink Tattoo Convention and I failed.
Less than five minutes after walking through the doors of the Lane Events Center on Saturday, a man sees the Nikon hanging around my neck and grabs my arm. “Hey, there’s a guy hanging from his piercings at the main stage,” he says. “Take some pictures.”
I wasn’t prepared for this. When I think tattoo convention, I think a few booths of a few salons, maybe some free bumper stickers. I do not think of a man flying across the room supported only by ropes attached to his bare skin. I would soon realize that tattoo conventions are more than just events; they encompass an entire culture and to my pleasure, a distinct fashion.
This tattoo convention was actually the best part of my weekend (mostly because Wee Man from Jackass was there and he autographed a photo with ‘Stay cute, Tamara’) and I recommend that you go to one. However, I was wearing cowboy boots, which made people look at me strangely. Here’s how to fit in fashionably at a tattoo convention:
Tattoos: Don’t make my same mistake. No one will talk to you if you go to a tattoo convention and don’t have any tattoos. My sister and I resorted to applying temporary tattoos in the bathroom with wet paper towels (mine is a skull and crossbones reading ‘ROCK 4EVER’). I don’t care; just do what you have to do.
Piercings: I thought I would be safe with my septum piercing, which people often tell me I should remove. Again I was mistaken. These people pierce everything: noses, ears, lips, necks, hands. In order to be fully accepted, you should probably invest at least in a micro dermal implant piercing (the ones that are anchored under the skin and look like a jewel sitting on top).
Gauged Piercings: Not only do you need a few scattered piercings to fit in at a tattoo convention, you need to gauge a few of them. Many attendees had ears stretched to their shoulders, and I started to feel self conscious about my un-stretched lobes. Several booths sold glass plugs, so in order to buy them, stretch away.
Dark Colors: Just wear black.
Makeup: Almost every tattoo salon present advertised most clearly their Sugar Skull girl tattoos, and almost every woman wore so much makeup she looked like the porcelain corpse herself. Light skin, dark eyes, bright red lips. A massive rose sitting in your hair won’t hurt either.
After getting ready, head to the convention, which is really just a sea of ink, tattoo guns, artists, and people in pain.
Check out some of my favorite artists from the event: