If you’ve got a tattoo magazine, and you’re going to put on a tattoo show, you’d better do it right. Pain Magazine did just that with the first annual Little Rock Tattoo Expo, June 9-11, in Little Rock, Arkansas. You might wonder why a magazine headquartered in New Mexico would go to the trouble of putting on an event in “The Natural State.” As organizer Mike Gonzalez points out, when Pain Events was looking for the perfect location, they picked Little Rock because people there were anxious to see some great tattoo art, having been without such an event since 2010.
“I had a lot of people tell me thanks for putting on the show; it’s exactly what we needed and please come back next year!” Gonzalez said.
Pain WILL be back again next year with round two of the Little Rock Tattoo Expo. For a first-year event, attendance was superb at 1,500 over the three days. Little Rock radio station 104.1 The Edge broadcast live and created some great buzz in the local community. The crowds were filled with not only tattoo enthusiasts, but also those who were just curious about something they’d never seen before. And then there were some who were just attracted by the celebrity artists which featured Ink Masters and Tattoo Titans including Danielle McKnight, Duffy Fortner, Caroline Evans, Bernadette Macias, Ashley Velazquez, Mark Longenecker, Don Peddicord, and Matt O’Baugh and Katie McGowan from Little Rock’s own Black Cobra Tattoos
“There was one girl who was so excited to meet Don Peddicord. . . she didn’t have any tattoos; she just had the hots for him,” Gonzalez recalls.
Pain Events worked for nearly a year in prepping the show, and brought in some great tattoo talent. In total there were 94 booths and 135 artists from all over the map — California, Utah, Texas, Tennessee, New York, Arizona, New Jersey, Connecticut and of course right there in Arkansas. Every style of tattooing was represented, and one of the favorites was the lowrider culture influenced designs presented by Vato Loco Tattoo Studio, in Arlington, Texas, as it was something really new to the local scene. Among the other artists that stayed busy over the weekend were Johnny Rey Martinez, Ryan Jordan, and Club Tattoo’s Nic Mann and Robert Silva. Nick Pierce, a young, up and coming artist from Golden Lotus Tattoos, in North Little Rock, earned Best of Show among the daily tattoo contests.
Sponsors for the event included Vitalitree Aftercare, Nuclear Tattoo Supply, Naked Bee Tattoo Care, Fusion Tattoo Ink, and Mamasita Accessories. Entertainment was provided by the Foul Play Burlesque and Variety Circus hosted by Vinny Vadge and Ruby Lead, Beauty & The Beast Sideshow as well as a number of live bands and musicians.
“It was a great time,” Gonzalez says. “It was a great opportunity for tattoo artists to get their name out there and attract some new clients, and we hope that the people from Little Rock enjoyed experiencing what the tattoo world is all about!”