Photos by Deanna Johns
Deanna Johns Data News Weekly Contributor
Tattoo lovers from around the crescent city gathered at the New Orleans Convention Center for the Fifth Annual Villain Arts Tattoo Convention that took place from Friday, Sept. 9th through Sunday, Sept. 11th, 2022.
More than two-hundred tattoo artists and vendors gathered from around the country to network, sell merchandise, and show off their skills by providing customized tattoos for convention goers.
The festival also included live performances from America’s Got Talent stars Captain & Maybelle, Ringling Brothers star James Maltman and Olde City Sideshow Reggie Bügmüncher.
“This is my third year attending the convention. It is always the highlight of my year,” said Allen Bower, the owner of Body Ghouls, a tattoo shop in Southern California.
Allen said he first began attending the convention two years ago and has never looked back. He said one of his favorite aspects of the event is the celebrity appearances. At this year’s convention visitors saw celebrity guests like Elva Stephani, Jake Parson, and Jordi Pla all from Paramount’s hit television series “Ink Masters.”
“As a new artist coming into this field, I love seeing how other artists represent themselves. It has been very enlightening to see so many fresh and original ideas come together to make this event happen,” said Alexis Reed, a recent college graduate and tattoo artist from South Carolina.
Reed was one of many African American artists attending the event. It’s not uncommon for African American artists to be underrepresented within spaces like this, according to local visitors to the festival. However, Villain Arts offered attendees a diversity of tattoo artists from different backgrounds.
“It’s hard to find Black-owned shops in the city so it’s cool to see so many of us in one spot. It lets me know I have options,” said Liam Graham, a New Orleans native and a three-day pass holder to the Tattoo Convention.
Nick Romerez, a New Orleans native, said that it was his first time there and he couldn’t wait to get his first tattoo.
“This is my first time attending the convention so I’m excited to be here. I am going to get Michael Meyers tatted on my forearm before the night is over,” Romerez said.
Image one caption: America’s Got Talent Season 6 stars Captain and Maybelle brought their circus act to the Villain Arts Tattoo Convention on Sept. 10th.
Photo two caption: Errick “Rock” Long, the owner of Platinum Koi Tattoo, is one of the artists featured at this year’s Tattoo Festival.
Photo three caption: Resident Nick Romerez received his first tattoo from a local New Orleans artist at the Convention Center on Sept. 10th.
Photo four caption: Alexis Reed, the head artist of Black Swan Tattoo Studio (left) and her apprentice at Black Swan Tattoo Studio participate at the Tattoo Convention on Sept. 10th.