Well, it’s September, and that only means one thing to the tattoo industry here in New Jersey. It’s time for Mario Barth’s Inked Out NJ, the largest tattoo convention on the East Coast and quite possibly the U.S. Yeah, it seems the name of the event lacks originality since I’ve been writing this column forever and we share the same name, but this really is the best tattoo convention around and I look forward to it every year. Mario and his crew make this event bigger, better, and special every year. I’ve been to Tattoo Cons down at the Jersey Shore, in Philly, and even out in California, and none of them measure up to Mario’s Inked Out NJ. Philly comes close, but it’s not like this.
Inked Out NJ will run from Sept. 9 until Sept. 11 at the Meadowlands Expo Center in Secaucus, NJ from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday, and noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Just like every year, each day is filled with events like Tattoo Contests (Best Tattoo, Best Color, Best Black and White, Best Back Piece, etc.) on each of the days for prizes and trophies for the best tattoos. There will also be face painting and temporary tattoos each day for the kids. On Friday, all police, firemen, military and EMS will get in free. My buddy and new mom, Lindsay Klein, will be broadcasting live on Saturday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. with the WDHA Street Team, giving away great prizes. On Sunday, there will be an F.M.A. Center Karate Show at around 1 p.m. And there will be musical performances all weekend by Constantin Luger, School of Rock, and the popular cover band, Pump City.
And of course there’s the most important part of the Inked Out NJ Tattoo Convention and the reason why 20,000-plus attend this event every year, hundreds of the world’s best tattoo artists, including the legendary Paul Booth and his Last Rites Tattoo and art gallery team, Antonio “Tone” Alvarez from Lost Lies Tattoos in Haledon, Olde Monk from All Towns Tattoo in East Brunswick, Nicolas G. from Screamin’ Ink in Fair Lawn, Yue Liang Li from Soul Tattoo in Tian Jin, China, the amazing Steve Butcher from Ship Shape Tattoo in New Zealand, Randy Engelhard, owner of Heaven of Colours Tattoo Studio in Germany, Vasily Suvorov from Russia, Ivan Barbosa from Screamin Ink’, and Eddie Castillo from Addicted to Ink in White Plains, NY. These are only a few of the amazing artists that will be tattooing and displaying their art at Inked Out NJ. Can you be tattooed by one of these amazing artists? Hell yes! You can! Find an artist on the Inked Out NJ website that you want artwork from at InkedOutNJ.com and contact the artist to schedule some time with them while they’re in Jersey. That’s if they’re not from Jersey.
Speaking of amazing artists, there will be a book signing with Freddy Negrete, also known as one of the fathers of the Chicano style black and gray fine-line tattooing, who will be signing copies of his brand new book, Smile Now, Cry Later: Guns, Gangs, and Tattoos-My Life in Black and Gray. Freddy will be there all three days signing and selling copies of his book. As if artists, authors, musical guests, contests, radio station deejays, and face painting wasn’t enough, there will also be tons of vendors at the convention selling all sorts of interesting and unique merchandise and services, like clothing, jewelry, and decorative art.
Tickets for Inked Out NJ are $20 for a day pass or $50 for a three-day weekend pass. Admission is free for those 12 and under. Don’t worry, you still have to be of age to get a tattoo. Just like any tattoo shop, you still must be 18 years old with ID to prove it. If you are under 18 you’ll need the consent of a legal guardian who must have proof that he or she is legally allowed to make this decision for you. If you want to talk prices, just like you read here in my Inked Out column every month, buying a tattoo is like buying a car, only it’s somewhat less painful and definitely less expensive. Just like cars, tattoos come in all sizes, colors and prices. Artists charge different prices based on the complexity and time it takes to tattoo you. Tattoos will cost as little as $75 to as much as $1,000. So, be prepared to spend some money if you’re looking to get some work done at Inked Out NJ.
Whether you’re looking to get some ink done, searching for some inspiration for your next piece, or just looking to have a good time, this is the place to be! Again, Inked Out NJ takes place Sept. 9 to Sept. 11 at the Meadowlands Expo Center in Secaucus, NJ. For even more info on this event, visit InkedOutNJ.com.
Well, I’m off to check out my next tattoo spot! Who knows what state it will be in! If you have a tattoo shop that you want to suggest, please e-mail me the name of the place and whom I should ask for at email@example.com.