The Renaissance World Golf Village Resort Convention Center was buzzing with tattoo machines Saturday.
Bert Simmons, the coordinator, stated that 200 artists have been involved in Jacksonville Tattoo Convention’s 11-year history.
According to convention website, tattoo artists travel from Florida to attend the convention.
However, the convention is not only for tattoo artists. Over 2,000 vendors selling jewelry, apparel, and tattoo ink also make the annual trek to the convention centre.
Simmons stated, “Some tattoo conventions offer concerts. But I did not want to go.” It’s not like a carnival.
This convention began Friday and features competitions for artists such as “best small colour,” “best black and white,” and “best sleeves.”
For tattoos which were completed from beginning to end on the same day, “Best In Show” will be reserved.
Simmons hails from Nashville and plans conventions for a living.
He said, “This is a small one compared to other ones I have done.”
Santana Simmons was his brother and one of the artists.
Santana stated that he knew when he turned 14 that he would be a tattoo artist.
“I have always been an artist so I draw all the time.” “It was going to happen,” said he.
Santana is a veteran tattoo artist of 22 years. He has worked with celebrities such as Aaron Lewis and members from Corn and Evanescence, Bjork and Fred Taylor.
He now works at Ms. Deborah’s Fountain of Youth Tattoo & Body Piercing Studio and lives on Vilano Beach.
Santana, despite all his achievements, isn’t planning on entering any convention competitions.
He stated, “It’s for fun.” “I’ve got enough trophies in my home to keep me busy.”
Santana stated that tattoos capture moments and people like them.
He said, “Sometimes the tattoos are for therapy, or for personal reasons, while on the other side of the spectrum, some get them to remember a vacation.”
However, tattoos have not been mainstreamed in every generation.
Santana explained that tattoos were “taboo,” so it was not common for the area to have many parlors back in 1990.
Greg Conley of Carribbean Connection Jacksonville Beach agrees.
He stated that tattoos in 1990 were not acceptable because of the association they had with thieves or bikers.
Conley stated that Carribbean Connection was the first tattoo shop in the Beach when it opened its doors to customers in 1994.
He said that the attitudes have changed since then due to artistry.
Conley explained that “the art was beautiful” and now people refer to themselves as art collectors. “There was a time when visible tattoos weren’t considered a norm. But now, if they’re missing, you aren’t normal.”
Santana advises against tattoos for any reason, despite their increasing popularity.
He stated that “some people may feel pressured by their peers to get a tattoo. That’s not an excuse for them to do so.” “So, I vet those who want one.”
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