The 10th annual Star of Texas Tattoo Art Revival, which begins Friday, is expected to draw more than 200 artists and thousands of fans from around the world. They’ve long outgrown the hotel ballroom and have made a new home at the Palmer Events Center, where the convention has more than doubled its size.
Marcy Molkenthen gathered a handful of well-respected tattoo artists almost ten years ago and launched the first Star of Texas Tattoo Art Revival in a small hotel ballroom.
Since the convention’s early days, there have been important changes in the tattoo world. “Before people thought only bikers, musicians and sailors got tattoos,” Molkenthen said of decades past. “Now it’s pretty wide open.”
Visitors who come by Friday through Sunday can expect to see a little more of everything on the 10th anniversary, from live tattooing to car and motorcycle displays. Pin-up Belly Dance, Jigglewatts burlesque and the Lizardman Sideshow will be back. And those looking to get tattoos can take advantage of the scores of award-winning artists who will be available for appointments.
Notable artists in attendance include Rei of Inkrat tattoos, known as one of the pioneers of modern tattooing in Japan, and Horimaru Kan, who owns Ancient Ink Tattoo in South Austin and specializes in hand poke tattoos, a traditional Japanese technique all done by hand with non-electrical tools.
Molkenthen says tattooing has moved in creative directions in recent years with some new tattooing trends. In color photo realism, artists produce extremely lifelike tattoos that look like photographs; another trend is the mixing of black and gray tattoos with color to achieve a unique effect. Nowadays, Molkenthen adds, there are also more tattoo artists with art school backgrounds.
Scott Ellis, owner of Triple Crown Tattoo in East Austin and A Million Tattoos in North Austin, has been involved since the beginning. “I always come away very inspired,” he said. “I get around all these artists, bounce off ideas, and check out their paintings and for weeks after I’m just inspired to produce.”
For the past five years, Joey Ortega of Triple Crown Tattoos has been invited to the convention and has created the artful posters for the event ever since. Ortega’s first Star of Texas Tattoo Art Revival was at age 22, and he says that as a young artist, the convention has helped him grow as he’s networked and learned over the years from veteran artists.
Star of Texas Tattoo Art Revival
Timings : Noon to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday.
Venue : Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road.
Cost: $20 for a day pass or $45 for a weekend pass, with discounted tickets available online.