WILDWOOD – It was a riot of color in both hairstyles and skin art last weekend at the Wildwood Convention Center as thousands of people turn out for the eighth annual Wildwood Tattoo Beach Bash.
Inkslingers from around the country, including many who were participants on the tattoo reality show, “Ink Masters,” set up shop inside the center, with buzzing tattoo machines and promises of permanent art.
Cindi Siderio, co-owner of Rebel Image in Rio Grande and one of the organizers of the event, said they expected as many as 7,000 people to pass through the convention center doors between Friday, Aug. 11 and Sunday, Aug. 13.
“We started with 88 booths seven years ago, and now we're at 205," Siderio said. "Many of those booths have multiple artists."
The tattoo convention grows each year, she said, not only with artists, but vendors of all types.
“This year we’ve got tattooers, jewelry, artists, the Circus Rejects, and Ink Master TV stars from both the previous and current seasons.”
The convention also featured daily suspension shows, in which performers insert large steel hooks through their skin, and they are then drawn into the air with a system of pulleys.
“Enigma is here, too,” she said. Enigma is famous in the skin art world, both for his full-body, puzzle piece tattoo, and his sideshow acts of sword swallowing and human blockhead.
The latter involves a nail and a hammer.
An “escape room” was featured as part of the sideshow entertainment. Contestants had a handful of clues and 15 minutes to figure out how to get out of a locked and boarded trailer.
Some of the 300 tattoo artists attending included “Ink Master” contestants: Bang, season 9; Gian Karle, season 8; Alli Baker, season 2; Angel Bauta, season 5; Ashley Velazquez, Season 7; and James Vaughn, season 1. Other artists included: Shannon Michael; Cohwen Allen, Cohwens Ink Emporium; Emily Asylum, 717 Tattoo; Tattoo Tony Rodriguez, Under My Skin Studio; and Masami Inagaki, of the Dakini Tatto Art Collective.
Representatives of Inked Magazine and 24/7 Ink Magazine sponsored a swimsuit contest hosted by Millz Marley, a tattoo artist and model. One of the prizes is a photo spread in both magazines.