This year's Tommy's Tattoo Convention kicked off Friday night at the Hartford Convention Center.
When Steve Tefft, of 12 Tattoos, became a tattoo artist 23 years ago, he admitted he didn't have big dreams.
“I figured I'd do this run of tattoos and then pump gas or something,” Tefft said. “But, no thank God it's exploded and given us artists a chance to get our work out there.”
The explosion of interest in tattoos changed Tefft's life. He owns a tattoo parlor in Groton, but most people know him as the season 2 champion of the hit reality show Ink Master.
“There's not much more pressure than being on that show, so this is pretty easy,” Tefft said.
Now, Tefft and dozens of the best tattoo artists around the world are here at the Hartford Convention Center for the 2016 Tommy's Tattoo Convention. Many of the artists shared the spotlight with Tefft on Ink Master.
“I never thought I'd be a reality TV star,” Ink Master Clean Rock One said. ”I knew I was gonna be a star someday, but in this form, I figured like cops or something.”
Clean Rock One has actually appeared on ink master more than any other artist, but he said the best part about the tattoo boom is that people with ink are way more accepted now.
“You go to Wal-Mart you're not being followed around by security guards like it was 20 years ago you know,” Clean Rock One said. “You're like oh nice tattoo bro.”
“If you've never gotten a tattoo and you're thinking about it come to a convention especially a convention especially Tommy’s here it's an amazing convention,” Reese Hilburn, of Tattoo Nightmares, said.
The artists said you don't need to be in tattoos to have a good time. there's cool artwork, live music, and interesting clothing. If you're on the fence about getting a tattoo it could be the perfect place to go.
“It takes away some of the intimidation I maybe going to someone's shop and maybe feeling uncomfortable here you can walk around at your leisure,” Tefft said. “Talk to certain people about who does what.”
To learn more about the Tommy's Tattoo Convention, click here.
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