EUGENE, Ore --- Third Annual Oregon Ink Tattoo Convention kicks off in Eugene. The three day event features nearly 150 tattoo artists from around the US.
The event features tattoo contests, art galleries, shopping and live entertainment. This year several out of state artists will be tattooing in Oregon, something that was outlawed a few years ago.
In the past, the Oregon Health Licensing Agency prevented out of state tattoo artists from tattooing at public events in Oregon.
Brandon Ingram is an organizer of the convention and has been lobbying for the Oregon Health Department to change their rules about out of state tattoo artists.
In April of 2010, the health department changed the rule and now allows out of state artists to possess temporary permits so they can tattoo at public events.
“The guys that come from out of state a lot of them are booked before they even get here. I just talked to one guy he's booked for this show and he's already booked for the Portland show in six months,” said Ingram.
Ingram said getting the health department to change it's stance on tattooing at public events was difficult.
“It was a struggle with the health department to get things changed over there, but recently they've been a lot more cooperative. They're finally really helping us out. I think they are seeing the big picture here,” said Ingram.
He said the big picture being that tattoo conventions help boost the local economy. Last year a Portland show brought in nearly 10,000 people from around the world.
“The people here are hungry for something different. They see the stuff on ‘LA Ink’ or on tv shows or magazines,” said Ingram.
Ingram said at this week’s convention he expects about 4,000 visitors. The convention is May 6-8, 2011 at the Lane Events Center in Eugene.