A few weeks ago we attended our first Hell City Tattoo Festival in the balmy dessert of Phoenix, AZ. All weekend long there was a steady flow of convention goers, live music, burlesque shows, contests, and of course the meat and potatoes of the event.. talented tattoo artists from both near and far putting forth their best work for the show.
We shared a booth with our friends, James Kern and his lovely wife Ashley. My husband, Josh (or as most know him as, ‘Bacon’), stayed busy tattooing most of the weekend, which left me free to chat with everyone that came by the booth and make my rounds at the convention. There were actually quite a few familiar faces from Portland and others from previous conventions that we’ve worked which made us feel right at home.
In addition to the main stage action there was an Art Fusion Experiment, where five tattoo artists collaborate on charcoal paintings that are then sold in a silent auction, a fine art gallery and a live painting area, and vendors selling clothing, art, sculptures, and tattoo equipment.
We had the pleasure of having a booth next to Carl Grace and watched him complete a sleeve from knuckles to shoulder in two days without any stencil or marker. I was in awe at both his client, sitting through two days of tattooing unflinching, and at Carl for just putting needle to skin with only a rough concept in his mind for the design.
Tattoo by Phil Garcia (not present at the show). (IG: @philgarcia805)
*For more photos of the completed work from any artists pictured above, I encourage you to visit their websites or Instagram pages.*
Normally conventions feel like a big party and you leave on Sunday feeling exhausted, hungover, and sleep deprived. This particular convention was completely different and it seemed like everyone was there to just focus on their art, network, and of course, unwind. I left feeling energized and inspired by the multitude of talent we were surrounded by all weekend. We’re already looking forward to the next Hell City show which will take place in Columbus, OH this coming May!
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