400 tattoo artists will converge on Honolulu for three-day ink fest

on Jul12

The sound of music will merge with the sound of buzzing as a huge tattoo festival returns to Oahu next month. More than 400 tattoo artists, from traditional to new school, will converge for the three-day event in August.

The sixth Pacific Ink & Art Expo is expected to draw 15,000 people to Honolulu’s Blaisdell Center from Aug. 4 to 6.

Danny Casler, one of the event’s founders, said the festival is truly “an international showcase” with traditional “hand pokers” from Japan, New Zealand and Thailand alongside ultra-modern artists from disparate places such as Los Angeles and Russia.

“You’ve got 400 to 500 tattoo artists. The first thing you hear is the sound of buzzing,” said Casler.

What makes the expo unique is that it blends ancient tattoo practices with modern techniques.

“Two thousand years ago, you had Samoans, Hawaiians, Tongans and New Zealanders doing actual, hand-tapped tattoos. That style was lost and had to be relearned and re-taught,” Casler said.

“Now, we’ve got these new-school guys that are doing these three-dimensional tattoos that create an optical illusion on the body.”

The tattooists who will temporarily set up shop in Honolulu are “people at the top of their game,” he said.

Attendees at the Pacific Ink & Art Festival have tattoos applied by artists from Loyalty Tattoo, a s

Jaymi Britten

Attendees at the Pacific Ink & Art Festival have tattoos applied by artists from Loyalty Tattoo, a shop in Kailua, a town on Oahu.

Attendees at the Pacific Ink & Art Festival have tattoos applied by artists from Loyalty Tattoo, a shop in Kailua, a town on Oahu. (Jaymi Britten)

How much does it cost to get one?

“The tattoos could start as low as 20, 30 bucks if they’re doing something really, really small,” Casler said. “And they can go up to thousands, depending on the artist.”

Differing styles of live music, from punk to Hawaiian, will be performed too. Skateboarders and hula dancers will add to the entertainment. And children will be able to get temporary tattoos in a kids zone.

Admission is $25 for one day or $60 for all three days. Casler said some tattoo artists will apply the daily admission charge to the cost of a tattoo.

Info: Pacific Ink & Art Expo

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