Ink-stained skin and the buzz of tattoo needles filled the 4-H building, all part of the Salina Ink and Steel Expo. Guests can get a tattoo, a piercing or just sit back and watch the artists at work.
It's the first time in more than five years that the state has had a convention like this. According to organizer James Nevins, the board of cosmetology doesn’t allow conventions to bring out-of-state tattoo artists. So, Nevins just focused on the ones located in Kansas.
The wide variety of options gives people like Khadeja Weegans a chance to get exactly what she want. Weegans got a tattoo on her 18th birthday that she wasn’t happy with. She’d been looking for two years for the right person to cover it and found him at the expo.
“At a convention there’s a lot more artists,” Weegans said. “So, even if one person says they can’t do it, there’s going to be dozens of other artists who have opinions and experience.”
Troy Butner, owner of Dragonfly Tattoos, was given the task to make her tattoo into a something she can be happy with.
“It’s quite rewarding to be able to fulfill somebody’s goal in making themselves feel good about themselves,” Butner said.
Salina tattoo shops, like Iron Street Tattoo also got a chance to prove what they can do to people from other markets.
“It’s definitely something that gets us out there,” Brandon Saltkill said. “Let’s people know how good we are at doing the artwork.”
The convention runs from 12pm-8pm Friday through Sunday. Organizers say they are planning to make this an annual event.