Tattoos for First-Timers

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You may not have guessed, but a lot of “tattoo-less” folks head to the annual Seattle Tattoo Expo. Most of us think the event is a convergence zone of people covered in ink. But founder and producer of the event Gloria Connors told us last week there are actually a lot of blank canvases that show up because the environment is less stressful than being cornered in a small shop by a lone artist.

If you’re inkless, you’re probably wondering what exactly it’s like to have the needle go into the arm and grind.

“I love being someone’s first [tattoo artist],” says April Cornell, one of the expo’s featured artists. “I tell them [first-time clients] to just relax. It’s a rewarding experience for me and it is for them, obviously. A lot of people see the first tattoo as a challenge.”

cornell Tattoos for First Timers

April Cornell, The Hidden Hand

Cornell escaped the Salt Lake City for the Emerald City in 1998 in pursuit of vibrant and artsy surroundings and eventually landed at Fremont’s Hidden Hand where’s she’s been an artist for the past three years. Since relocating, she’s been heavily involved in tattoo and art-related expos across the country.

“They [the expos] serve as a great way to scout out local artists,” says Cornell. “The events are also a way artists can network.”

Cornell says she’s gotten ink done from artists she’s met on the road but also digs the work her colleagues do at the Hidden Hand.

Up until July 28th at 4pm, I was without a tattoo. I’d always wanted one but could never decide what; but recently I had a vision of an image that incorporated my love for the Northwest. So, I scribbled something out and took it to Lindsey Johnson of Beyond the Ink Tattoo in Fremont.

2012 07 28 17 52 54 897 Tattoos for First Timers

As you can tell from the photo, it’s not the greatest feeling in the world — especially around the tendons — but, I 100 percent agree with Cornell’s notion of it being a challenge that was overcome.

The 11th Seattle Tattoo Expo is Friday, August 10th through the 12th at Seattle Center.

-Chris Coyle, JACK Seattle

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