The Renaissance Resort in World Golf Village will be flooded with a sea of ink this weekend, as the Jacksonville Tattoo Convention returns for its 15th year.
It’s a gathering place for all those captivated by the art of tattooing. All styles, from traditional to tribal to new school or realism, color or black and gray, will be celebrated at the convention.
The three-day event will bring more than 300 artists from around the country and locally — and they will tattoo convention visitors all day, every day, said event organizer Bert Simmons.
“People come to get tattooed and have a good time,” Simmons said.
Beyond tattooing, family-friendly activities and events will go on throughout the weekend. There will be face painting a “classy” ’80s-themed pin-up contest, illusionist shows, craft stations and more. The venue is also located near an IMAX theater.
“There will be a lot of things for the kids to do,” Simmons said.
A special guest this year will be actor Sam Jones, known for roles in “Flash Gordon” and “Ted.” He will host meet-and-greets with autograph and photo opportunities all three days.
Illusionist Jason Jewell will be onstage to put on a show Friday and Saturday.
Tattoo artists will set up booths in the Renaissance Resort, open to walk-up tattooing or simply to those who are browsing the artwork. Some prominent national artists will be in attendance, Simmons said, as well as those from around the state.
“I treat every (artist) the same,” Simmons said, giving equal opportunity for artists, regardless of style or prominence.
Simmons said that bringing in out-of-state artists makes it possible for some tattoo enthusiasts to link up with their artist of choice.
“Instead of someone going to, say, Chicago to get a tattoo from a particular artist, they can just come here,” Simmons said. “There are people who collect tattoos and want to add a piece by someone like that to their collection.”
A few local tattooers coming to the convention include Sailor Cher Tattoo, Santana Tattooer, Todd Lake, Unify Tattoo, Electric Chair Tattoo and Hammerhead Tattoo. Simmons mentioned some popular out-of-state artists include Tito Zambrano, of Augusta, Georgia, and Tony Ciavarro, of Carver, Massachusetts.
Some artists take appointments, while others accept walk-ups. Simmons said that there will be staff on hand to point attendees toward the right artists for the style they seek.
The first year of the convention, there were 35 tattoo booths, Simmons said. This year, there will be 130 — and slots were sold out months in advance, he said.
“I want quality attendees. I don’t want there to be too many,” Simmons said.
In addition to tattoo booths, other vendors will also set up shop at the Renaissance.
Contests will be held in multiple categories, based on size and style, as well as a separate category called Best of Day for tattoos created at the convention. Cash prizes will be awarded to first through third place winners.
Simmons expects the event to draw between 2,000 and 3,000 guests.
Parking for the event is free. Tickets are cash only, with ATMs available onsite.
For information, go to setattoo.com.