HUB SHOWS TATTOO ARTISTS THE LOVE By Ira Kantor Sunday, September 4, 2011 Photo by Chitose Suzuki The Hub is dripping with ink this weekend. The Boston Tattoo Convention is back in town for its 10th anniversary featuring 170 artists from around the world itching to ink at the Back Bay Sheraton this Labor Day weekend. Day two of the convention yesterday featured two rounds of the Miss Boston Ink Beauty Contest, burlesque performances and tattoo contests. Convention producer Natan Alexander, 41, also of Witch City Ink and Lightwave Tattoo in Salem described tattooing as “a very honest and clean way to work. For me it gave me a chance to pursue my livelihood. It’s an art form but it’s also a craft,” he said. “The depth of artistry has really accelerated in the tattoo world.” Many getting tats were plugged into their iPods as the buzzing sound of tattoo guns filled the air. Some adorned shirts bearing the slogan, “Keep Boston beautiful, get a tattoo” while others took to their drawing pads to sketch out new ideas. Tattoo artist Kevin O’Connor of Taunton’s Pleasure in Pain said he was thrilled to showcase the parlor’s work among the world’s best. “It’s inspiring to see all artists from all around the world,” O’Connor, 22, said. “It just shows how much the tattoo industry has grown in Massachusetts. The image is changing. It’s becoming more popular, more accepted.” Pleasure in Pain apprentice artist Rob McElroy, 28, added the parlor is offering a $30 special for New England sports logos through the end of the month. “The first week after we won the Stanley Cup we had 20 people or so come in and want little Bruins [team stats] B’s,” McElroy said. “It was awesome.” Several tat enthusiasts, including Dan Shand, 39, of Tom’s River, N.J., seemed all too thrilled to put their bodies in the hands of talented artists. “It’s a good time,” said Shand, who was getting two nautical stars inked on his upper body by friends from San Francisco’s Seventh Son studio. “I wouldn’t go anywhere else.” Sean McGuirk, 24, of Somerville was in town to add a tree, snake and apples design to the playing cards and drama masks tattoo taking up the right side of his torso. Despite describing the pain as “awful” with a smile, McGuirk said he enjoyed being a human business card for tattoo artist Tiffany Garcia of California’s Ink Apothecary. “People see what she’s done to me and what she’s done,” he said. “They can see what she’s capable of accomplishing.” The Boston Tattoo Convention runs through tomorrow.

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