Inked expressions tell all

Sunday, August 17th 2008, 1:48 pm
By: News 9

By ChristianPrice, INsite Team

OKLAHOMA CITY-- The earliest known tattoo belongs to a gentleman called Otiz.

The 5,300-year-old remains of Otiz were discovered in 1991 in the Otztal Alps. Permanently inked in his skin were 57 tattoos.

Years later, 3,294 to be exact, Oklahoma began allowing people to get their own tattoos, legally.

First Amendment Tattoo recently sponsored the 3rd Annual OKC Tattoo Convention where artists and ink lovers came out to appreciate this art form. All Or Nothing manager and artist Dave Tedder traveled from Georgia to display his skills.

"It's just art. It's different every day. You're forced to perform in front of an audience basically and you have to whip out an amazing piece of art," Tedder said. "That's really what keeps you going. It's always something different. It' always a different challenge."

According to Tedder, it takes a special person to be able to wear ink.

"People getting tattooed definitely wear their hearts on their sleeves," Tedder said. "You can tell a lot about somebody just by trying to read the lines between all their tattoos." 

Curtis Fletcher is the president of Cannibal Graphics, a tattoo shop in the metro. The legalization of the art form was something he welcomed.

"Before, we had to do it in underground shops or out of our houses. Now we're able to have legitimacy," Fletcher said. "Now there's rules and regulations, which is a great thing; the health department stepping in and setting up a lot of really good foundations to work with."

Nikko Hurtado, with Ignition Tattoo based in Apple Valley California, believes Oklahoma might have had good reason to wait to legalize tattooing.

"It was probably smart of them, you know, just because they were waiting for it to be clean enough and stuff like that," Hurtado said.

Though the ban has been lifted, Hurtado still airs a word of caution.

"They need to research their artist and make sure that they're able to do what you want to get. It's a real important part," Hurtado said. "That way they're not disappointed and have to live with something that they're not happy with the rest of their life."

The art show promoter Chris Brady explained that there is an underlining message behind the convention.

"The reason that we do the show is just to let people in Oklahoma really see what's out there," Brady said.

Brady has artists from all across the world come in and showcase their talents to help to do away with old stigmas.

"When we first started, it was mostly more Oklahoma artists and we just had a couple decent spotted artists here or there," Brady said. "Now it's very, very high quality all the way across the board."

Brady hopes that the annual tattoo show continues to grow and becomes one of the major shows in the nation.