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Apr-18-2014 01:30printcommentsVideo

Salem Tattoo Artist Receives Award at 2014 Body Art Expo

With over 200 tattoo artists on site, the variations of body art were endless.

tattoo expo
Ledhead Ned tattoos in the Oregon Body-Art Center booth at the Expo. Photos by Bonnie King

(RIDGEFIELD, Wash.) - The Body Art Expo, the World’s Largest Tattoo Convention, took place last weekend at the Clark County Fairgrounds. The tattoo world came together for three days, and Oregon Body-Art Center from Salem was there.

It was the perfect place for those with some “killer ink” to show off to the folks who would appreciate it the most, and maybe get another tattoo, or a piercing, by some of the best in the business.

"After I got my first work from Ned, I don't go to anyone else," said Richard Rahn, as he relaxed on Ledhead Ned's table during a short break. "When you find someone this talented, you don't need to keep looking." Rahn made the trip to Ridgefield from Salem to get some time with Ned.

“There is a lot of top notch work at this show, and so many people are fairly new, only in the business maybe only 10 years, or even three years, like Madee, really impressive,” said Tattoo Mike Kondash, owner of the Oregon Body-Art Center. “She can do anything.”

Madee Cavazos also is part of the Oregon Body-Art Center team, and she was busy tattooing all three days of the show.

“This is cool. I like to see all the people, and the differences in all the tattoo work. Everyone looks like they’re having a really good time,” Madee said.

Madee is hard at work

20 tattoo contests were held throughout the weekend and Ledhead Ned from Oregon Body-Art Center took home two awards. Ned is originally from McMinnville, Oregon, and learned his craft from "Kid Tattoo", a renowned artist from the Salem/Portland area.

Each tattoo entered in a contest fell into one of 17 categories. From portrait work to sugar skulls and everything in between, there was a category for competition of every type.

Friday night they held the contests for Sleeves, Portraits, Unusual, Leg, Asian, & Lettering categories. Saturday afternoon they held an Art Fusion Contest, and then the Tattoo contest began at 6 pm with Latin art, Traditional, Black & Grey, & Best Color. Sunday’s contests began at 3 pm for the Cover up, Movie Character, Back, Realistic, Religious, & Piercing categories.

Ledhead Ned took 1st Place for “Best Small” tattoo.

For all the “new ink”, there was a daily award for Best Tattoo of the Day. These tattoos must have been started and completed on the same day of the event. This is the only competition “fresh” tattoos were allowed in, since they must otherwise be fully healed in order to be judged.

Contestants were promised the chance to win Prizes, Cash and Respect. We have to trust that they received a full measure of each.

Vendors that are usually only seen in full color pages of favorite tattoo magazines were on hand with an array of ink in every color imaginable, as well as new inventions and plenty of artwork, posters and clothing. Stage shows and audience-participation contests kept the crowds amused, bemused, and maybe a little startled.

Entertainment was unique and unending. The Extreme Human Suspension was a real crowd pleaser Friday night and then again Sunday, shocking the audience with antics of physical incredulity.

The Extreme Freak Show performed all three days, and not to be outdone by a bunch of freaks, the sexy “Hot Stud” and “Hot Babe” contests drew quite a crowd as well. For that, everyone was invited to participate, so the tattooed contestants came out of the audience, and the winners were judged by how much applause and hoots and hollers each “stud” or “babe” brought. It’s a wild and crazy – and loud – portion of the show.

“It was a good show, and there was a lot of entertainment, but the best entertainment was the tattooing,” said Tattoo Mike Kondash.

“Here, people can watch great tattoo artists at work. You wouldn’t be able to go to one of these shops and get behind the front counter to watch people of this caliber; this is a really unique opportunity,” Kondash said.

“I really enjoyed it. It’s pretty awesome to see a hundred guys tattooing at once.”

Though it was a family-friendly event and there were many young people there, it was not an event for the faint of heart, or any one not in good humor. It was far too much fun for any of that.

The next tattoo convention is July 4th weekend, at the Northwest Ink Show in Vancouver WA at the Hilton on the river. The Oregon Body-Art Center will be there. It is expected to be a busy time, so get your tattoo scheduled with Ledhead Ned, Madee, Tattoo Mike or another of your favorite artists soon and have it done at the show. You could even make it a patriotic tattoo. They’re great at those too.

{{Booking appointments for the show now at 503-877-4710.}}

PHOTO SLIDESHOW BELOW:

Tattoo Expo 2014 - by Bonnie King

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