Villain Arts has hosted tattoo conventions for the last 17 years, at 14 locations nationwide, but last weekend was its first in Wynwood.
Owner Troy Timpel decided to bring the event to Miami after attending Art Basel about two years ago.
“What makes this event special is the amazing tattoo artists from all over the world,” he said.
American traditional, portraits and black and grey surrealism were just some of the styles offered by the seasoned artists.
“[Tattoo artists] go through phases, you know,” said Hector Hernandez, an artist at Funhouse Tattoos in Pompano Beach. His current favorite style is color realism.
Beth Lanser, who described herself as a long-time tattoo convention fanatic, was excited to be at the event.
“[Tattoo conventions] are essentially an art gallery,” she said.
She added that the environment was friendly and welcoming.
Tasha Lawrence, another tattoo fan, had a piece done by Paul Schnell from 3 Layers Deep Piercing and Tattoo Gallery in Coral Springs. This was the first time she had work done by Schnell.
“[I told him] ‘Just kind of [do] whatever you want,’” she said when asked about the design on her hand. “I’ve seen the work he’s done on my friends and it’s great.”
She planned on entering the piece in the “Female: Small Black and Grey” category in the tattoo contest being held at the convention.
Across the walkway, Erin O’Dea from Colorfast Studios in West Palm Beach was working on longtime client Josie Tamburello. Tamburello said she came to support her artist.
“I love getting tattoos. It’s almost therapeutic for me,” said Tamburello.
O’Dea has been tattooing for seven years and has participated in other Villain Arts conventions, such as the one in Philadelphia.
“I’m usually tattooing all day,” said O’Dea. “The Philadelphia convention is huge.”
Depending on what style the artist is focused on and the location they’re working in, they’ll see a trend in business. Jonathon “Jonatello” Lojero, an artist from Poloma, California, said he experiences this when touring.
“Rochester, New York is a hot spot for me,” Lojero said. “In a room of about 200 artists, only like five will do black and grey surrealism; and I’m one of them.”
Out of state artists said they were at the convention as much for the community as doing business.
“I knew it was going to be hit or miss,” said Daniel Vasquez, an artist from Los Angeles that has been touring with Villain Arts for six years. “Miami’s awesome, Florida’s awesome and I’m here to have a good time!”