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Discussing the art of ink

Taking on the role of both teacher and student, tattoo artists from all over the country will gather this weekend to showcase their best work and see the type of work that other shops are doing. These Rembrandts of skin and ink are coming together for the Eighth Annual Tattoofest in Tampa.

The Doubletree Hotel Tampa Westshore Airport is hosting the convention Thursday through Sunday. Parlors from Michigan, Georgia, Illinois and Texas, as well as many Florida-based shops, will be sending representatives.

In addition to benefiting the artists, it’s also a great place for clients to network, to decide which tattoo to get, or to choose an artist. It will give some an opportunity to add to their collection – or maybe even start one.

“It’s a great experience all around if you’re into tattoos and different pieces,” said Nick Vargo, a sophomore majoring in psychology. “You get a chance to meet some great artists and maybe get a tattoo done by someone famous.”

Three shops from the Tampa area will have booths set up – 1603 Tattoos and Piercings, Mean Machine Tattoos and Crimson Anchor Tattoos.

Tattoo artist Justin “Greu” Greubel will represent his shop, Mean Machine Tattoos, at the convention.

“It’s chaotic, but what draws me out is seeing work done in person,” Greubel said. “It inspires me to run back to the shop and try something different. It’s a great motivator.”

There will also be seminars at the convention. A piercing certification class, a black-and-gray portrait technique seminar and a session on the history of tattooing will be offered. There will also be a tattoo contest, with an awards ceremony Sunday.

Tickets are $20 for one day, or $35 to $45 for the entire weekend. There will be free admission from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Thursday. Radio station WXTB 97.9 FM – 98 Rock – will broadcast live from the event Friday, and comedian DC Malone will perform Friday and Saturday.

The convention ends at 8 p.m. on Sunday, but an after-party is planned at Crowbar in Ybor City.