Think Salt Lake City’s too conservative for ink? Artists say culture here ‘creates a great tattoo dynamic’

“It’s absolutely a family-friendly activity,” said Cristine Lewis, owner of Heavy Duty Tattoo in Ogden and a convention volunteer. “There’s opportunities to get tattoos, and there’s opportunities to meet some amazing people.”

A children’s area — with a bounce house, temporary tattoos, board games and coloring contests — offer diversions to guests not yet old enough for their first tattoos. And the many artists drew sporadic crowds of spectators as they worked, particularly Sulu’ape Keone Nunes, who employs the traditional Hawaiian kakau technique of tapping designs into the skin by hand.

Shae McAfee, owner of Tiger Claw Tattoo in Millcreek, said the convention has shifted over the years toward a more selective roster of artists. And Salt Lake City, he said, is home to a vibrant tattoo culture that sometimes surprises out-of-state guests expecting a more conservative stereotype.

SALT LAKE CITY INTERNATIONAL TATTOO CONVENTION Continues Sunday from 12-8 p.m. at the Salt Palace Convention Center. Single-day tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for teenagers, with children younger than 12 able to attend for free.

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