The United Ink Productions Queen City Tattoo and Arts Festival

A perfect cover up tattoo by Jorge Martinez @jorgestattoo

I am super excited to write this blog about the Queen City Tattoo and Arts Festival we attended in Charlotte in October!  We have had great luck with North Carolina festivals so far!

Apache and I are fascinated with tattoos. Tattoos show freedom of creative expression. The outlet creates conversation, stimulates the imagination and fulfills the artist! When a person gets a tattoo, they become a walking, breathing canvas. Moving art work! 

Photo by Komadori Photography

United Ink Productions

Anyone recognize this character??? Hint…from an old school video game. Photography by Komadori Photography

United Ink Productions is a company that creates large tattoo festivals! In 2012 United Ink Productions began facilitating 2 conventions per year. The first festival of the year is held in April in NYC. As of 2018 Charlotte, NC will host the second festival every October! The Queen City Tattoo Festival is conducted at the Charlotte Convention Center over a period of 3 days. That’s 3 days of color, live tattooing, entertainment, vendors and competitions!

In 2018 the festival theme was Alice in Wonderland. I dressed up as Uptown, N.Y.’s version of Alice and Apache was the Mad Hatter. The Tattoo and Arts Festival reigned in 250+ artists from around the world and local artists to create this enlivened Wonderland.  It was fun to dress up in Royal Peasantry clothing for this event! We became “Curiouser & Curiouser” (Alice in Wonderland quote) as we wandered around the convention center engulfed in the alluring culture of skin adornment.

This was the first Tattoo festival we have ever been to and it was an awesome experience.

Photography by Komadori Potography
Our talk with Jorge Martinez @Jorgestattoo of Inspiration Tattoo about how he got started in the business. Komadori Photography
Komadori Photography

Tattoo Art: Past to Present

Tattooing is an ancient art form and cultural aspect to many indigenous tribes around the world. The practice has evolved and continues to stand the test of time.

Tattoo History

Skin branding is evidenced to have been in practice at least 5,000 years ago as found on two Mummies in Egypt! Polynesia has an extensive tattoo history and this tradition extends over 2000 years ago.

As skin branding pertains to the United States it was introduced to NYC by sailors who originally used hand needles to pass away time from boredom at sea or to initiate one another into the fraternity.  NYCs most well-known tattoo is the big red Macy’s department store star which was worn on the forearm of ex-whaler turned Macy’s store founder RowlandH. Macy. Civil War veteran Martin Hildebrandt is considered one of Americas first tattoo artist’s to open the first tattoo shop in NYC during the 1800’s.  Martin Hildebrandt is known for branding other veterans for identification had they been killed or wounded during the war.  

Tattoo Culture Today

Interview with Sarah Miller at the QC Tattoo & Arts Festival 2018! Komadori Photograhphy

This year at the Tattoo and Arts Festival we talked with world renowned tattoo artist SarahMiller from Ink Master reality T.V. show seasons 2 &7. We also had an insightful talk with her manager Chris. Chris shared how USAA  is an insurance company that caters to military members, encompassing therapeutic tattooing, where artists can donate time to help vets tell their stories through this medium.

Pleasure to meet with Christine (Sarah Miller’s Manager). Komadori Photography
Click here to see our experience of this event in Charlotte, NC and hear this insightful interview.

Family & Friends Event

We were so grateful to have had our friends Robin of Komadori Photography and Chris of FinalSignal assisting us on this project which allowed us increasing space and perspective to grasp more out of this whole experience to share with all of you- Blessed!

Robin of Komadori Photography & Chris of FinalSignal

The Tattoo and Arts Festival is a family friendly event. We noticed kids as young as 7 all the way up to their mid 60’s or early 70’s having a great time.  You can dress up or down for this event – do you! 

Family affair at the QC Tattoo & Arts Festival. Komadori Photography
Meeting cool people at the Festival Komadori Photography
Charlotte’s Fire Dept dropped by Komadori Photography

What to Expect at The Tattoo and Arts Festival

Expect to find entertainment, great artists, fashion and really cool vendors at this festival!

Music

We danced to hard rock music and the enchanting, rhythmic melodies played by mega talented violinist DSharp. You can get a taste of his musical flavor in our YouTube Vlog of this event! On the 3rd day, Biz Markie was scheduled to perform. You get the idea…. Great Entertainment!  

Vendors

There were plenty of vendors selling jewelry, tattoo products and apparel. Apache bought me a cute tank top from SoHo Ink who came all the way down from NYC to represent. We were happy to see fellow New Yorker’s in the house!

Tattoo Flashing! Komadori Photography

People are getting inked everywhere and sport tattoos with pride. It was like a flesh museum! 

Entertainment

Dispersed throughout the convention center you can find painters painting, there was an art gallery, magicians, music and face painting. There was even a live pumpkin carver artist. 

Tattoo Entrepreneurs & Contests

Tattoo removal technicians of Essential Aesthetics and Laser in Charlotte showed up. There are Tattoo Contests every day of the Festival.  Some contests included “Tattoo of The Day,” “Asian Style,” “Fresh Portrait” and “Overall Female” to name a few.

Tattoo Seminars

United Ink Productions hosts educational seminars for Tattoo artists at their festivals. In 2018 the education focused on Permanent Makeup. These permanent makeup conferences are certificate programs that encompass basic skills and master class programs.  Make sure to check out the itinerary or book a booth for their next event in April!

Great interview with Zhang Po! Komadori photography

Meet World Renowned Tattoo Artists

World renowned tattoo artists made themselves very accessible and were fun to talk with. In addition to Sarah Miller we also got to converse with her Manager Chris and world famous tattoo artist Zhang Po.

Each had a story to tell that inspired us. 

Zhang Po has some inspiration for aspiring tattoo artists. Komadori Photography

God is capable of creating miracles at any time in our lives. Sarah, Chris and Zhang shared how they came to realize a career in the tattoo industry. We are so honored to hear, capture and share their stories in our YouTube vlog. All three are living a sustaining lifestyle that they love.

FinalSignal, CLP and Zhang Po! Komadori Photography
MC Joey Tattoo of Spike TV show “Tattoo Rescue”

Tattoo Festival Takeaways

Some people get tattoos for love, as a form of remembrance, some to follow trends, some to tell a story.  They can be a form of healing internal or beautifying external scars.  Tattoos can be self empowering through the process and its outcome. They can represent a personal achievement, belief system or just show what one is enjoying most about their life journey.  

One thing that keeps life interesting is our differences, stories and cultural variances. Choose to take an opportunity to learn more about others with respect and a little curiosity.

Art by Christian Waggoner. Komadori Photography

Conformity is not always a prerequisite to living a fulfilled life. – NK

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