When the Boston Tattoo Convention comes back to town this weekend, organizer Natan Alexander says he’ll be getting inked by Master Ajarn Ohr, a tattoo artist flying in from Thailand. Ohr specializes in Sak Yant tattoos, which are sacred markings written in the Khmer language.
Ohr is just one of the 400 plus artists coming in from all over the world for a weekend of live music and plenty of neo-gothic grunge. The programming includes the crowning of Miss Boston Ink Beauty Contest and Sunday’s “Ink-illusionist” performance with the Synstr Mr. Syxx and the Diabolical Dr. SeVeN, described by Alexander as “a classic carnival sideshow sort of pair of twins.”
Throughout the convention, participants are invited to book reservations with incoming artists and get tatted right in the Center. Inkers are required to apply for a license with the Boston Public Health Commission, take a bloodborne pathogens training and bring Body Art permits from their respective states or countries. The convention’s long-standing collaboration with the Commission since its origin 17 years ago, assures that the process is safe, according to Alexander.
“There’s a screening that happens behind the scene that makes sure that everyone there is tall enough to ride the ride,” Alexander jokes.
In the months leading up to the event, the Boston Tattoo Convention Instagram account has been inviting artists to do “Instagram takeovers,” where tattoo artists post about their designs. Alexander wants the event to be as much of a celebration of artistry, and encourages viewers to come even if they don’t want a tattoo.
“The convention is first and foremost an art show,” Alexander says. “It’s not really a crazy wild like biker kind of event. I’ve been told that the venues that I work with have had crazier times with insurance salesmen conventions.”
If you go:
April 27-29, Hynes Convention Center, 900 Boylston St., Boston, bostontattooconvention.com