Motor City Tattoo Expo

Photo of the Motor City Tattoo Expo banner
Photo by Joshua Tufts

From March 1 - 3, the 24th annual Motor City Tattoo Expo took over the Renaissance Center in Detroit.

The event hosted over 300 tattoo artists, including Carl Grace, Kelly Doty, Liz Cook, Gill Montie, and Myke Chambers, and showcased a variety of tattoo styles such as American traditional, realism, and blackwork.

Trixey works out of both Alaska and Michigan, and focuses primarily on black and grey tattoos. With 18 years of experience, Trixey said, “I can do anything you give me to do as I am not afraid of a challenge.”

Robby Latos from Damascus, Maryland, views getting tattoos as being more about the experience and means of the tattoo. Latos said, “Got tattoo on 12-12-12 got a stink bug tattooed, tattooing is meditative to myself and relaxing.”

Carl Blasphemy, known as Dr. Blasphemy, is the host of the Motor City Tattoo Convention, as well as conventions all over the country and in Canada. He stated, “I helped host over 40 expos last year. I used to be a tattoo artist, but moved to marketing and hosting the events.” Tattoo artists Jack Rudy, Gill Montie, and Chris Longo all inspired him to work in this industry. “I started off working in the radio business, but moved to the tattooing business to follow my passion,” he continued. He added that working with young people is moving to him.

According to Blasphemy, although Motor City is an elite tattoo convention, every artist is easy to talk to: “My advice is if you ever want to learn from the artists be sober when you come, and learn from the experience of being there.”

On the second day of the expo, the Black and Grey tattoo seminar with Bob Tyrrell drew a large audience.

Frank Fisher, the co-host of the expo, said he believed watercolor is the next tattoo trend. Water color is especially popular with women. Rember Orellana won Best of Show for color tattoos, white Trixey won Best of Show for her black and grey work. Mauro Amaral won Best of Day Sunday Color, and The Art of Tucker won Best of Day Sunday Black and Grey.

The Motor City Tattoo Expo has been an iconic event for many across the state of Michigan for the past 24 years. Blasphemy plans to host the event for the foreseeable future.

You can view more photos of the event here.

Contact Joshua Tufts: Follow him on Twitter @Joshua_Tufts.