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The DCU Center gets tatted

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From intricate back pieces and detailed full sleeves to dainty wrist designs, the artistic medium of tattoo and its culture are always evolving.

“It’s just getting better and better; I think that’s the biggest thing,” said Natan Alexander, producer of the Massachusetts Tattoo Convention and the Boston Tattoo Convention. “Tattooing has just completely gotten more and more and more artistic, and the level of quality goes up and up and up.” Alexander also owns Witch City Ink in Salem and has been tattooing for 25 years.

For those who have tattoos, are a part of tattoo culture or want to learn more, the Massachusetts Tattoo Convention (MTC) will be held Sept.14-16 at the DCU Center in Worcester.

The event will feature many world-class artists available for tattooing, unique vendors, seminars related to the industry, live bands, entertainment such as sword-swallowing and fire-eating, cool giveaways and more. If you choose to be one of the hundreds to get tattooed, you’ll have the chance to have your piece entered in one of the various contests – ranging from Small Color, Cover Up and Asian Traditional to Fine Art – spanning the three-day convention.
A Thai monk who will perform a tattooing practice known as “sak yant” will also be in attendance. Under the practice, tattoos are hand-etched onto the skin using ancient geometric designs accompanied by Buddhist prayers. In Buddhism, the tattoos are seen as good luck charms and rid those of evil and promote good luck.

Be aware, however, that many artists book ahead of time, so book in advance if you have your heart set on someone specific. You can contact the artists through the MTC website or through the artist’s personal site. If you’d rather be a little more spontaneous, there will be plenty of artists at the convention available to give you your fresh ink!

Plan on getting your very first tattoo? Take some caution beforehand.

“Really think about it, obviously,” said Alexander with a laugh. “… spend a while thinking about what style do you like… picking something that’s really meaningful to you is always a good idea because it’s gonna be around forever. You know, forever’s a long time.”

Alexander also suggested being prepared to sit for a while through the process; definitely eat before you arrive, maybe have some sugary snacks. While it’s a little bit of a given, it won’t be the most comfortable experience either (the tattoo gun does have a needle). Research the placement of your tattoo, so the discomfort will be tolerable for you.

Most importantly, whether it’s your first tattoo or your 20th, do not hesitate to ask questions! Find out the different prices of each artist’s work, what their specialties are, the process you’ll be going through – there’s no limit on how many questions you can ask. The more you know beforehand, the better off you’ll be (it’s going to be there permanently, after all).

“Tattoos are art, you know. So, first and foremost, it’s an art show. It is the most popular form of art in the country,” said Alexander. “So, we’re welcoming of all different races, religions, sexual persuasions; you know, it is extremely inclusive; it’s for the community.”

Please note, you must be at least 18 years old, with a valid photo ID, in order to be eligible to get tattooed. All tattooing artists at the convention will work directly under Worcester Public Health Commission’s regulations. The Massachusetts Tattoo Convention will be held Sept. 14-16 at the DCU Center, 50 Foster St., Worcester. Tickets range from $25 for a one-day pass to $60 for a three-day VIP pass. For more information and tickets, visit masstattooconvention.com.

Savanah Hippert

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