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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Seventh Annual Boston Tattoo Convention makes a permanent mark

Glory, passion, colors, and expression all came together for three days at the Boston Tattoo Convention at the Boston Center for the Arts. Natan, owner of Darkwave Tattoos, along with his gifted tattoo artists sponsored the event. Natan has been working in the field of body art for many years and has been one of the individuals helping in the legalization of tattooing in Massachusetts. In addition to his passion for tattooing, something more important was on his agenda. His child has autism and he is fighting the fight to help find a cure for the disease. At a booth at the entrance of the convention were two wonderful women, one the mother of an autistic child herself, were on hand to help raise awareness of this terrible neurological disease and promote action in finding a cure.

Featured at this fascinating convention was the culture of tattooing and anything that went with it. Eighty-three vendors lined the aisles of the Cyclorama, exhibiting everything from body piercing, art displays and sales, photography, jewelry, clothing, medical supplies, and yes even folks that were in the business of removing them. There were also contests for the best tattoos, the “Lizardman Freakshow,” and even burlesque shows.

There was a time in history when a tattoo was not common to see on someone, unless he or she was in the military. Now it is quite commonplace to see someone with elaborate tattoos on any given part of their body. The young and old come to these conventions looking forward to their next creative investment. And it is an investment. The average price of tattooing starts at $100 an hour. In addition to being costly, there are several rules that apply: you must be at least eighteen years of age to get one and drinking is not recommended before getting a tattoo because alcohol causes thinning of the blood making the tattoo bleed excessively (plus, being drunk lowers your inhibitions leading to an on-the-spot, regrettable decision.)

One girl I met named Lauren made the trip from New Jersey convincing her friends to join her. She was getting a tattoo on her thigh by Paul, one of the many gifted artists. Paul owns a shop in New Jersey called Physical Graffiti-an homage to Led Zeppelin. Lauren’s tattoo process started around 1:30 p.m. and when I left at 3:30, Paul was still working at this incredible work of art.

I had the chance to talk to a number of other people-patrons, tattoo artists, various vendors, and those who have always been curious about how people get into tattooing. When asked if his tattoos hurt (a common concern for those considering their first tattoo), one man said it didn’t unless the artist hit an unusually sensitive area, pointing to his armpit. But as I watched many people getting them, it didn’t seem to bother them at all. Instead, while they were getting inked up, they were talking to their friends or reading a magazine and not even paying attention. That would be a little hard to do. I think for now I’ll just stick to the temporary tattoos.

About the Contributor
Bonnie Godas served as the arts editor for The Mass Media the following years: Spring 2009; 2009-2010