Ricardo Galindo tattoos a raven onto Juneau resident Sky Martin on Thursday afternoon at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall during the Ink Masters Tattoo Show. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Ricardo Galindo tattoos a raven onto Juneau resident Sky Martin on Thursday afternoon at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall during the Ink Masters Tattoo Show. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Got ink? Hundreds flock to tattoo expo in Juneau

Founders of Ink Masters bringing national expo to Juneau for the first time.

Not even halfway through the first day of the first-ever Ink Masters Tattoo Show hosted in Juneau, the show’s organizer said he already made the decision to come back again next year.

Juneau resident Taron Hampton gets a Lafayette leopard tattoo from Henry “Bighead” Lewis on Thursday afternoon at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall during the Ink Masters Tattoo Show. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Juneau resident Taron Hampton gets a Lafayette leopard tattoo from Henry “Bighead” Lewis on Thursday afternoon at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall during the Ink Masters Tattoo Show. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

“It’s the support here — if people don’t support it there’s no point in coming,” said Reymond Hernandez on Thursday afternoon. “Everybody that came so far, they’re walking out with their tattoos and are happy, and they’re telling us thanks for bringing the show — it means a lot to us.”

Rows of artists tattoo clients Thursday afternoon at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall during the Ink Masters Tattoo Show. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Rows of artists tattoo clients Thursday afternoon at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall during the Ink Masters Tattoo Show. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall buzzed with the sound of tattoo guns and loud music as hundreds of people walked through rows of the 90 tattoo or piercing artists that set up shop for the three-day expo. In just under six hours, the show had already sold more than 450 tickets.

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire
Soleil Lambert, a piercer from San Antonio, prepares Juneau resident Sydney Johnson for an eyebrow piercing Thursday afternoon at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall during the Ink Masters Tattoo Show.

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire Soleil Lambert, a piercer from San Antonio, prepares Juneau resident Sydney Johnson for an eyebrow piercing Thursday afternoon at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall during the Ink Masters Tattoo Show.

“We have enjoyed every customer walking out happy — that’s what we’re trying to make sure,” Hernandez said. “We’re trying to make sure that everybody feels happy with a perfect tattoo like that and they’ll come back or even tell their friends.”

Most of the artists are not from Alaska, traveling from all over the country to come to Juneau. The variety of artists means differing styles of tattooing that, for many, are desired but not available in Alaska.

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire
People check out tattoo designs Thursday afternoon at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall during the Ink Masters Tattoo Show.

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire People check out tattoo designs Thursday afternoon at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall during the Ink Masters Tattoo Show.

“There’s not a lot of different variety of styles that y’all have here,” said Lee Soto, an artist from Fort Worth, Texas, who traveled to Juneau for the first time to partake in the event. “It’s very nice to be able to come and give people different styles of tattooing, and it’s great to just show people something new.”

Since its establishment in 2009 by Hernandez and Theresa Bae, dozens of artists have participated in the Ink Masters Tattoo Show, which each year travels all around the country to share the variety of artists’ work with as many clients as possible. Juneau is just one stop out of the 43 expos planned by the show this year.

Kiko Valladolid, an artist originally from Kodiak, tattoos a spaceship on Juneau resident Tara Hansen's “galaxy leg" Thursday afternoon at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall during the Ink Masters Tattoo Show. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

The show isn’t new to Alaska — Ink Masters expos have been held in both Anchorage and Fairbanks for the past seven years, attracting thousands of people looking for ink in the process.

Kiko Valladolid, an artist originally from Kodiak, said he recently participated in the Anchorage expo and was excited to be tattooing in Juneau for the first time. Before the show even began on Thursday, Valladolid had already booked 12 tattoos and was busy Thursday afternoon giving Juneau resident Tara Hansen a spaceship tattoo on her “galaxy” leg.

Hernandez said many artists were booked full or almost full before the show began, but there’s still ample opportunity for walk-ins in the coming days. Soleil Lambert, a piercer from San Antonio, said she had already given 10 walk-in piercings by the afternoon Thursday and she seemed to be welcoming more clients by the minute.

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire
Orlando tattoo artist Chrystal Nevius gives Juneau resident Jamaica Matthews an Ursula tattoo Thursday afternoon at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall during the Ink Masters Tattoo Show.

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire Orlando tattoo artist Chrystal Nevius gives Juneau resident Jamaica Matthews an Ursula tattoo Thursday afternoon at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall during the Ink Masters Tattoo Show.

Hernandez said that’s been the case for many artists he was happy with Thursday’s turnout. He said he wouldn’t be surprised to see more than 4,000 people attend the expo in total. Even a week before the event started, the Facebook event page for Juneau had about 3,300 responses.

“We’re excited, I think it’s gonna be a great show,” he said. “We’re expecting a lot of people, especially on Saturday.”

• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at clarise.larson@juneauempire.com or (651)-528-1807.

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