Monday, July 16, 2012

Ink At The Bay Festival takes place Friday through Sunday in Monterey

The inaugural Ink at The Bay Tattoo Festival is a coming out party for the local tattoo scene.
The event takes place 2-10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. - 7 p.m . Sunday at the Monterey County Fairgrounds, 2004 Fairground Road, Monterey.
For information, visit
About 40 artists from Monterey County and abroad, including artists from as far away as Italy, Switzerland, and Brazil, as well as the Bay Area and Las Vegas.
Juan Gonzalez, event organizer and owner of Exclusive Ink tattoo shop in Salinas, said the mainstream acceptance and popularity of tattoo art has opened the door for this type of event locally.
“With the tattoo industry getting bigger on television, before it wasn’t like that,” said Gonzalez, referring to reality TV shows like TLC’s “Miami Ink” and spin-off “LA Ink.” “It’s like more people are into tattoos.
Gonzalez, 30, opened Exclusive Ink about five years ago. He said he has been tattooing professionally for about seven years.
His artistic development began at a young age. His first medium was oil paintings, with a particular interest in portrait paintings.
Gonzalez now specializes in tattoo portraits, creating lifelike images for his clients.
“You can’t erase, obviously,” Gonzalez said of the challenges of the flesh as a canvas. “You’ve got to give your best on every tattoo. These people are going to be walking around with it for the rest of their lives. It’s a little more stressful than painting on a canvas.”
Event organizers are hoping to get between 2,000 to 3,000 attendees for the event.
Gonzalez named a few of the artists he’s looking forward seeing over the weekend.
Daniel Rocha of Las Vegas specializes in tattoo portraits. Los Angeles artists Fernie Andrade is another portrait artist, known for his black and white work.
Italian artists Gianluca Altavela has a reputation for free hand Polynesian artwork, a tribal style that is especially popular in modern tattoo circles.
Gonzalez said organizers modeled “Ink at the Bay” after a few of the industry conferences he’s attended. He’s gone as far as Italy for recent ink festivals.
Organizers also wanted to offer other attractions for casual tattoo fans. For non-tattoo enthusiasts, organizers have scheduled a Saturday evening concert. Vanishing Affair, Cali Nation, Automatic Animal, Hate For State, Dub Dog, Spin Farm, Voodoo Boys Trio, Thirty 9 Fingers and Ill G will perform.
There will also be Aztec Dancers, face and body art demos, DJ’s and a pin-up model contest on Sunday.
It’s all aimed at promoting the local tattoo scene.

 “I’m stoked that there is going to be a convention here,” said Rick Webster, manager of Gold Coast Tattoo in Monterey, which is a sponsor of the event. “Guest artists can come here and tattoo and have a little vacation, too.”

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