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Hundreds of artists to gather in Huntsville for annual tattoo expo


The second annual Huntsvegas Tattoo Expo is this weekend, and 3,000 or more visitors are expected to attend the event in the Rocket City.

The expo is this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Von Braun Civic Center in downtown Huntsville. It starts at 2 p.m. each day.

About 200 artists from around the world will be featured at this year’s show. These artists will be at the event each day showcasing their work, tattooing clients and competing in various competitions. Among the artists is Steve Butcher, who has amassed a following of more than 1.2 million on Instagram alone. Butcher’s work has been recognized nationwide in media ranging from ESPN to USA Today and People Magazine. Organizers say visitors can expect to see a variety of art styles exhibited including realism, black and gray, neotraditional, watercolor and more.
For emerging or aspiring tattoo artists, several seminars will give them the chance to learn more about color theory, light sourcing, brainstorming and even how to run their business or how to communicate with clients.

Huntsvegas Tattoo Expo

Errick Long is the owner of the expo and local tattoo studio The Platinum Koi. He said the event positively benefits both beginning and experienced tattoo artists.

“For those artists who are just starting in this industry, it will give them a chance to see hope of where their careers may end up [and] what they can aspire to be,” he said. “I think for the other artists that have been in this industry for a long time, it will give them a chance to reach back down and help bring up these aspiring artists through their communication, friendships and bonds that are built at this expo.”

And it is not just the artists who enjoy the event. Huntsvegas Tattoo Expo will also feature food and drink vendors and live music. Children and parents can watch Doctor Finnegan’s Circus perform various stunts in what the group calls a comedic twist on superhuman circus performances. And families can try their luck at the event’s casino tables.

Long said though this event is only in its second year, it is one of the biggest shows in Alabama.

“It is one of the most extravagant shows in the South,” he said. “Huntsvegas offers something that no other show offers. We offer a Vegas-style show where people can actually bring their entire family out and have a lot of fun. So, it’s a more upscale event than just a tattoo event.”

Huntsvegas Tattoo Expo Facebook

But Long said he does hope this event will lead to greater acceptance and appreciation of tattoos in the state.

“I believe it’s going to normalize people getting tattoos, from politicians all the way to doctors [and] lawyers,” he said. “It’s really going to help the community get together around understanding that [this] is not just [a] taboo industry. This is an art. This is a culture, and this is a career.”

Proceeds of this event will go to the Huntsville branch of Still Serving Veterans, an organization that specializes in empowering veterans and their families by connecting them with careers, benefits and services.

Tickets are available at the gate. A single-day ticket is $30. Visitors can also purchase tickets online at Tickets for all three event days are $75 each. Military members and veterans get tickets for half price.

Visitors may also book a tattoo appointment with an artist by visiting the website, finding an artist and clicking on their name. They will then be redirected to the artist’s social media profiles for direct messaging. If an artist does not respond, visitors should email the expo at

Joshua LeBerte is a news intern for Alabama Public Radio.
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