By Leah Doherty
Last weekend, tattoo artists and vendors from around the country came to the third annual Lubbock Tattoo Expo.
At the convention, visitors could get tattoos, piercings or purchase merchandise. Josh “Eon” Johnson of Mr. Tank’s Tattoos said he spends his time traveling to conventions and working at his shop in Denver, Colorado.
In order to give tattoos and piercings at a convention, Johnson said artists go through inspections and training that allows them to work outside of a tattoo shop.
“People think it’s just tattoos,” Johnson said. “But when it comes to tattooing, being clean and making sure that you’re not spreading germs is more important than just doing a great tattoo.”
According to the Lubbock Tattoo Expo’s website, artists came from Colorado, California, New Mexico and other parts of Texas to be at the expo.
Bookout, who was also featured on MTV’s “16 and Pregnant,” said she heard about the expo through one of the sponsors, Mike Diaz, who she has always wanted a tattoo from. She said she decided to promote her clothing line and get a tattoo all in one weekend.
Being on “Teen Mom” helped launch the clothing line, Bookout said, but when customers realize the quality of the clothing, they come back for more.
Bookout said she has been interested in tattoos for years. She got her first tattoo, the word “bulletproof” on her shoulder, by presenting a fake ID, since she was underage at the time.
The face of this weekend’s events, Carl “Dr. Blasphemy” Murray, said he has made a career out of traveling around the country to emcee expos. Murray said he has also worked for Tattoo magazine and appeared on “Ink Master.”
“I get to walk around and talk to my friends, see incredible artwork, meet people from all over the country and just have fun,” Murray said. “Really, that’s the best part of my job.”
Murray said a good reason to go to an expo for a tattoo is because of the chance to get work done by an out-of-town artist. He said it is a more private setting and customers receive prices they would not get at a tattoo shop.
The expo took place Feb. 3-5 at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center. The event also featured contests for things like worst tattoo, best traditional tattoo and most unusual tattoo.