The Inked Hearts Tattoo Expo is celebrating their 13th year this weekend! It was created by Ted and Amy Marks, the owners of NorCal Tattoo, partnering with Blue Lake Casino.
This four day event is dedicated to tattooing, piercing, and getting a chance to see artwork from around the world.
Ted Marks, has around 18 years of tattooing experience; the co-host of Inked Hearts Tattoo Expo shared his vision of what he wanted this event to bring to Humboldt County and even the artists participating in it.
“I wanted to show Humboldt County the best artist in the world, so when these guys (tattoo artists) come in, they see Humboldt County and they see the redwoods for the first time and then their minds are blown,” Marks said. “And that’s the same thing, I want Humboldt County to see this level of art and be blown away[…]and, you know, it’s nice to have that trophy tattoo that you get to show all your friends and be like, ‘look at this.’”
Everyone is welcomed to get tattooed, however many of the artists are expected to be booked throughout the weekend.
“There are plenty of walk ups available, and these guys are quick you know? They do this for a living, so yeah, you will definitely get tattooed,” Marks said. “But if you want the big name artists you have to book with them a little early because everybody’s looking and they watch that list, you know, on Instagram.”
Artist Lyjah Vaatete is participating for a second time this year. Vaatete has been working as a full-time artist for 4 months now after apprenticing for three years. He said that he will be booked all weekend.
“So right now I’m specializing in black and white realism and I do anime tattoos as well,” Vaatete said. “I’m super excited […] this is my second convention as an official artist, so I’m super pumped, I was born here up in Arcata and in Mckinleyville, so being here and tattooing here is a blessing.”
And it’s not just tattoos and piercings at the expo. Businesses like Ohana Organics owned by Tera Cooper and based in Humboldt specialize in skin care, with most of their products being used by the artists themselves at the convention.
“So we’re a small skincare company, we actually grow all our own herbs in everything by hand and we’ve been doing this for 23 years,” Cooper said. “A lot of our products are used by tattoo artists during the tattoo process. Also, the healing herbs help the tattoo to heal up right away.”
If you have the time, be sure to check out these amazing artists this weekend; you might even get yourself a tattoo.
“Come out and get tattooed,” Marks said. “See what it’s about, you know? It’s a crazy world, it’s not all intimidating, it’s not all inclusive, everybody here is family.”