By L. Parsons
The third annual Inkfest will be held from 1 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21, at PT’s, located at 1500 E. Third St. in Winslow. The festival will feature tattoo artists from around the state, vendors displaying handmade jewelry and accessories, a kid zone featuring coloring contests and a Pin Up Pageant.
This event initially began as a Winslow Arts Council sponsored project. According to Arts Council Recording Secretary Roberta Cano, “The Arts Council wanted to have an event with some type of body art, then came up with the idea of a tattoo expo. The main focus was to showcase the artwork that people choose to display on their bodies and the artists that create it.”
The first event was held in 2015 and featured eight tattoo artists. For the second year, the Arts Council pulled out, citing lack of interest and municipal liability. The event was then taken over by the ownership and staff at PT’s Bar and was larger in both artist participation and public attendance. Thirteen artists tattooed live and the Pin Up Pageant made its debut. This year, 23 artists have registered to attend, as well as 10 vendors, 11 Pin Up participants and two live bands. It promises to be a much larger event than in the past.
The art form known as tattooing has been around since ancient times. According to the Smithsonian Institute, the earliest evidence of tattoos is 5,200 years ago, determined by carbon dating a tattooed body preserved in ice that was discovered on the Italian-Austrian border. Primitive tattoos were applied with sharpened sticks and fire ash, or plant based dyes. According to the Smithsonian, “Some indigenous peoples did receive tattoos to enhance their physical appearance, but this practice was the exception, rather than the rule. Most tattoos identified tribal designation, related the social accomplishments of the individuals who wore them or functioned as medicinal therapy or as apotropaic (evil-repelling) symbols.”
Modern tattoos are typically applied with electric machines and for varying reasons. Some of those reasons are memorial tributes, mementos for loved ones or simply just a love of art. The art form is slowly being recognized as a legitimate form in fine art circles.
Gemini Art Gallery owner Linda Jennings Card said, “It is contemporary pop art.” When asked if tattoo art has a place in art galleries she said, “In some circles, yes, not others…Street art, for example, is another area that is disputed as legitimate. However, art is about self-expression.”
Renowned muralist and painter Randy Barton of Winslow said, “Both have evolved in a major way. A lot of graffiti writers become tattoo artists and a lot of tattoos have started to look like actual paintings.”
Painters are borrowing from tattoo styles as much as the other way around, as Winslow airbrush artist Tim Lewis said, “We paint a lot of tattoo style pieces, and portraits of tattooed people and models.”
Tattoo styles themselves have evolved and progressed from beginnings as geometric shapes and dots, to thick dark lines and limited colors, and now to pieces that are realistic, and even some that resemble watercolor paintings. Moreover, the highly detailed, beautifully executed pieces that are being produced at this point in time are much more accepted than they have been in the past. Inkfest organizers added, “Tattoos are becoming more and more accepted in society as the art form expands and becomes more about the art itself and less about rebellion.”
People in all walks of life, schoolteachers and administrators, clergy and business owners are wearing tattoos, and parents are sporting their preferred form of art, and appreciating the artists that create them.
The public is invited to Inkfest. Admission is free and it is an all ages event until 7 p.m. For more information, visit the event page or call (928) 289-0787. A schedule of the day can be found on the event page Inkfest on Facebook.