When many people think about art, they think about displays in museums, paintings, etc.; but for tattoo artists, the human body is their canvas. Tattoo artists from across the country, and even some from across the globe, will converge at the McNease Convention Center Friday through Sunday for the seventh annual West Texas Tattoo Convention, hosted by Trufant Bros. Tattoos.
Organizer Aubrey Trufant, who hosts the show, along with brother Alex, said the three-day event is a “celebration of what we do.”
“All the artists coming in to the event are by invite only.” Trufant said. “It’s our way of quality control. We know that we have more people with more talent. We want to know that everyone’s getting an awesome tattoo.”
One such artist is Garrett Potts, a native of San Angelo, who just moved back home from Austin. Potts has nine years of body art under his belt. He said working with the Trufants is a vast difference from any place he’s worked before, because there’s a family feel to the studio.
“We go to kid’s birthday parties. We all hang out, we all do things together. Our wives go get their nails done together. It makes it easy to get up and go to work.” Potts said.
That family feel is what the Trufants want the convention to achieve. They’d like to let visitors to know that there is beauty in the art of the tattoo world and is it no longer considered a “sub-culture.” Both Trufant and Potts talked about the people they’ve inked over the years, people from every walk of life, young and old, male and female.
During the convention, Trufant said even if visitors don’t necessarily come for a tattoo, there is something for everyone. Original artworks by the visiting artists, piercings and merchandise will be available as well as opportunities to be “inked.”
The two artists said it’s important to make an appointment for ink for the convention to ensure proper time for artists to draw the art and provide a quality tattoo. Appointments can be made with artists online at trufantbros.com/convention.
“When people get quality tattoos – a professional tattoo, from licensed artists, as opposed to one out of the ‘house’.” Trufant said. “There’s a difference. And you can tell the difference. It’s a choice.”
Prices for art will depend on what is wanted and the artist, some of whom have years of experience with the craft. Trufant himself has more than a decade of experience. Experience he said, leads to better quality work.
“Price-wise, just like everything you buy, you get what you pay for.” Trufant said. “It’s like all-star weekend at the convention. These artist excel in the genre of tattooing.”
“We’re going to ink up our town.” he said. “Everyone there is a pleasure to be around. We’re honored and pleased by all of the support we get from San Angelo and we want to give back.”
As a way to give back, Trufant is asking convention visitors to bring personal hygiene items such as shampoos and body wash to the convention center lobby. Those items will be donated to the Concho Valley Home for Girls/Childrens Emergency Shelter.
What to expect at the West Texas Tattoo Convention
Times and days:
3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday
11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday
11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday
McNease Convention Center, 501 Rio Concho Drive
Entry – Daily tickets, $16.50; three-day pass, $31.50
Tattoos – Prices vary dependent on art and artists
Pre- and post-parties will be held at Shenanigan’s Sports Bar, 3250 Sherwood Way. Call the sports bar for details and times, 325-617-4152.
Bring personal hygiene items to donate to the Concho Valley Home for Girls/Children’s Emergency Shelter. The nonprofit serves children ages 0-17. Items such as shampoos, lotions, deodorants and body wash are needed.