FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The Devil’s Hollow Tattoo and Art Festival will draw large crowds just from some of the names of the artists setting up booths at the Grand Wayne Center. Several artists from Spike TV’s Ink Master are at the festival in Fort Wayne over the weekend.
But for those who don’t know a lot about the ink world, the three-day festival has plenty of other things to draw you in.
Photo gallery | Devil’s Hollow Tattoo and Art Festival
There are more than 200 artists who will be creating tattoos at the show. The festival also has a group called “The Inkllusionists,” who will be performing at various times through the weekend.
Other event highlights include a live art fusion demonstration, a Make-a-Wish fundraiser, a tattoo contest with prizes, such as a “Worst Tattoo,” with the prize being a free laser removal session from a Fort Wayne tattoo and body piercing shop.
The festival also features seminars on “Abstracting Reality and Techniques,” and “Hyper Realism Portraiture.”
For a full event schedule, click here.
Organizers expect around 3,000-5,000 visitors this weekend.
“There’s plenty of walk-up time available so you can come right in and get tattooed, you don’t have to set up an appointment,” festival organizer Carl Blasphemy said.
Artists at the show said the average good tattoo takes anywhere from three to six hours to complete. Costs can range from $100-$1000.
Ink Master’s Kyle Dunbar and his wife Candy travel all over the country to tattoo at festivals like this one.
“We just picked up in an RV, and we’ve been driving across the country just hitting shows. I’ve been tattooing 20 years, I’ve been good for maybe 10. Tattoos actually do more than you might think. They assign a place in society, sure, and that place isn’t necessarily determined by what you get but how people like it. What they do is they give us compliments. You don’t get a lot of choice over this, this is kind of predetermined. Save from the scalpel of a doctor, you’re stuck with your nose. You may not be so happy with it, but there’s a lot that I would change about this but I do control my skin and how it looks. Even people that struggle with body issues can find the beauty in getting a tattoo because now they have something they’re proud of that people compliment them on. It’s like a feng shui for the body if done properly,” Kyle said.
Kyle said he got his first tattoo at the age of 13.
“My first one was letters that said ‘I rule.’ I stopped counting somewhere around 20, and I realized that I was working towards one now because if you get enough spot tats and then you get the background work behind them, they become one,” Kyle said.
He said his favorite tattoo is the one his eight-year-old son, David, created and then tattooed on him two years ago.
“He did a Minecraft Robin on me. That’s his own drawing. We did the stencil on there, and then we put it on me and then he tattooed it with one of my tattoo machines,” Kyle said.
Candy specializes in permanent cosmetics for cancer patients.
“After they go through chemo, they lose their eyebrows and sometimes they don’t grow back. So, we tattoo them on so they can look in the mirror and see themselves again basically,” Candy said.
The list of artists stretches from locals like Aaron Lassandro to southerners like Katie McGowan.
“I don’t plan on stopping. It’s something I’ve wanted to do since like 8th grade, might as well keep doing it,” Lassandro said.
McGowan is from Little Rock, Arkansas. She said she stopped counting her tattoos a while back.
“The last time I checked, I know have at least 30-something,” McGowan said.
She thinks the biggest misconception about tattoos is that they’re reserved for a certain group of people. In fact, the festival’s organizers said five in eight Americans have a tattoo.
“I think that more conservative people probably think that tattoos are for lower-class folks, but a lot of really cool, artistic people get tattooed. Tattoos are for just about anybody of any class, really. I think tattoos are really rad. I think that when you have a bunch of tattoos, it really shows that you don’t really care what other people think and you’re into expressing yourself no matter who is judging you. I think it’s really liberating to have a bunch of tattoos. I love doing them. I love my job,” McGowan said.
The event is open to the public beginning Friday, April 17 at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 18, noon-11 p.m., and Sunday, April 19, noon – 8 p.m.
Tickets are $15 per person or $35 for admission for the entire weekend. They are available online or at the door. Visit www.devilshollowfestival.com for details.