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January 21, 1998

You love them. They leave you. You leave them. It never seems to end: "Why can't I find a women who lasts forever?" Well, I bid you welcome to the 3rd Annual International Female Tattoo Artist Expo, presented by Orlando's own Deana (of Deana's Skin Art Studio) at the Holiday Inn Select; Orlando International Airport. Rolling into this show is like all the rest. The machines are running, making their melodic immortal tones that only one who has been tattooed can appreciate. You can see every size, shape, age, and gender walking through the aisles of this show. There are flash art (designs on paper for people to choose from) photos, piercings, ink, blood, stories, designs, contests, history, and respect for all who work this tattoo convention. What makes this expo special is that all the tattoo artists are women. And a very creditable bunch they are:

The award-winning Deana Lippens of Deana's Skin Art Studio, Orlando; Lisa Gross of the California Studios in Mississippi; Ybor City's own Annette Larue from Blue Devil Tattoo; Angel Elaine, world class piercing specialist from New Orleans; female artist Deborah Valentine of Constant Creations Tattoo in Spokane Washington; Judy Parker of Pacific Tattoo in San Diego California, just to name a few. All 27 separate booths make up a world class showing of top-notch female artists.

I had expected (in a narrow-minded fashion, as this was my first all-women's expo) that it would be women tattooing other women. Wrong! Nothing could have been further from the truth. The crowd was packed with the same types as all the best tattoo conventions I have ever attended. Of course, there was one noticeable difference - the beautiful women that were 'pushing ink'. Usually, you picture a guy that has seen a war, drives a Harley', weighs 300 pounds, and could drink a whole fraternity under the table. Well, that has changed like the rest of our culture; tattoos and tattooing have made a rapid and interesting evolution. Younger artists bring with them new and eclectic styles, better inks, and different personalities, reducing the chance that your eagle will look like a Canadian leaf when you're 80. Better tattooing machines are being used in what is now the most sterile of circumstances. Long gone are the days when tattoos were done in a back alley with bent needles. Now, in the wake of the creative and mechanical evolution, women have started to achieve prominence in what once was considered a men's-only world.

Words From the Women of Tattoo


about the author
Justice Mitchell
Loves: Art & Photography, Mom & Dad, Eileen, Friends, Music, and Film. Hates: Dan Leeds and his army of satanic, homophobic, undead girl scouts.

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