As the second stop of the Ink Masters Tattoo Expo, the tattoo show in Bryan brings local tattoo enthusiasts together for a three-day event.
The Bryan Ink Masters Tattoo Show was held in The Brazos Center and lasted from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2. Raymond Hernandez, founder of the Ink Masters Tattoo Expo, started the show in 2009 in California. Hernandez said he was invited to a tattoo show in Texas and liked the environment so much that he decided to bring his shows to the state. He chose to bring the event to Bryan specifically after a friend recommended the town.
The Tattoo Expo had tattoo artists and piercers from around the country and the world. Each tattoo booth had the chance to compete against one another in multiple competitions, such as best black and white tattoo.
“Also, we’re doing the free tattoos, which you get a raffle ticket and … you win a free giveaway tattoo,” Hernandez said. “We pay for it and we give two a day.”
The Ink Masters Tattoo show was open for everyone to come out and attend. Hernandez said there were also activities for children who come to the expo to enjoy.
“We have a face painting lady, an airbrush lady and we have a bounce house for the kids,” Hernandez said. “Our shows are mostly family [oriented].”
Conrad Garcia traveled from Seguin, Texas, to come out to the Tattoo Expo for the shop he works at, the Golden Rose. Garcia said this was his third year at the expo.
“A lot of these guys here are my friends, they’re awesome people,” Garcia said. “The camaraderie, you know, you’re in a room full of your peers and there’s a lot going on, you’re creating stuff so that’s cool.”
Shawn Dowling said she traveled from Caldwell to attend the tattoo show for the third year in a row. Dowling got a tattoo at the expo last year and said she was contemplating getting another one this year.
“Tattoos are one of those things that you’re either going to do it or you’re not going to do it,” Dowling said.
Hernandez said he sees college students attending the expo, but has seen an increase in older folks coming out to the show with every year in Bryan.
“It’s probably because their kids probably told them [about it], like hey check it out,” Hernandez said. “I think people should learn what a tattoo expo is — it’s all about the art. … It’s not an outlaw thing anymore.”
Dowling said people should try to come out to the expo to get rid of any negative stereotypes against people who have tattoos.
“Everybody gets tattoos [like] your upper class and your lower class,” Dowling said. “It’s a common thing that we can talk about and break the barriers with.”