Text and photos by Bartley J. D’Alfonso
In the past, someone sporting a tattoo conjured images of that person as being a military veteran, or a non-conformist rebel, or maybe even a former jailbird.
But thanks to new innovations in this growing industry, tattoos have become more accepted as being genuine displays of expressive artistry. Using various mineral oils as the base chemical in their ink bottles, and using modernized and sophisticated needles in their drills, tattoo artists have become masters in creating the same airbrushed artwork which used to adorn sports vehicles and recreational vans. Now many people in all walks of life are proudly displaying their permanent illustrations on their canvases of skin.
During the three-day long weekend Tattoo Convention held in the Mall Del Rio Convention Hall from October 14 to October 16, many new enthusiasts happily rolled up their sleeves and pants to bear the sting of the needle, and transform their skin into palettes of rich bold colors and designs. According to the convention coordinator, Charlotte Golden, an estimated 5,000 curious guests attended the event, with 68 tattoo artists manning 45 booths. Several artists came from Venezuela, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Germany, Ecuador (with 12 from Cuenca), and also from Boston and Oregon. Charlotte said this was their first such convention here in Cuenca, and plans to return next year.
Although several vendors invited me to become a new, adorned enthusiast, my fear of needles overcame any such temptation.
The tattoo convention continues today at the Mall del Rio convention center, from noon until 6 p.m.
Check out the photos below.