They used to be the mark of societal outcasts, but tattoos today are anything but. What was once a rite of passage for servicemen and convicts is now a status symbol for housewives and businessmen. Capitalizing on the mainstream rep: the First Annual Tattoo and Body Art Expo at the Pomona Fairplex.
The expo, which executive director Zach Newkirk says is marketed as less intimidating and more “clean, safe and friendly” than other shows, will feature about 70 tattooists, including Aaron Bell from Seattle’s Slave to the Needle, Bret Zarro from New York’s Indelible Ink and Lyle Tuttle, grandfather of the American tattoo.
Also: design contests, music and acts that hark back to tattooing’s carny past — belly dancers, sword swallower Captain Don Leslie and Joey the Strange, a man who will hang from hooks.
“The whole reason for this show is to give the Southern California shops a show in their backyard that can ultimately establish what the area’s all about as far as tattoos,” Newkirk said.