Competition, human suspension, illusion shows and ink. Lots of ink. But all that is to be expected from the Ink Life Tour that made its third annual stop at the Amarillo Civic Center this past weekend. And apparently after three years of talk, Ink Life’s reputation has reached the ears of many in Amarillo, and across the country.
But that reputation doesn’t just extend to those in need of a new tattoo. Many tattoo artists are drawn by the tour’s prestige as well. “[Ink Life] lived up to their reputation,” says Big Mike 33, a touring tattoo artist. “I won 34 awards last year and seven this year… I drove 1,000 miles to get here, and I’m on tour for 2013 so you know, I’m everywhere.”
“These shows are like the meeting of the best of the best,” explains Edward Lee, another artist. “…We compete against each other. It’s challenging, but it lets you look at and study other people’s artwork, and it really makes you step up your game.” While the spirit of competition at Ink Life was clear, everyone came out a winner at this convention.
One man in particular ended up making a name for himself at Ink Life. The first annual “King of Roses” was crowned on the last day of the tour, and the crowned king was none other than Amarillo’s own Jarr Ramon from Addiction Tattoo Studio.
Jarr’s rose tattoo was judged by a panel of tattoo gurus to be the best in the convention, and Jarr was eager to answer the question on everyone’s mind: What’s it like to be the king? “It’s [expletive] awesome! I didn’t expect it, man!” Jarr laughs. “I’ve been in contests, but nothing like that. It was fun, but I really didn’t think I was going to win.”
Some might not find the art (or the artists) at Ink Life to be particularly tasteful. It’s undeniable that the tattoo convention is a magnet for unique personalities. But there’s one thing no one can fault the artists for, and that’s their passion for their craft. Big Mike may have said it best: “What we do is on a living canvas, and the living canvas is very unforgiving,” he asserts. “What we do takes a lot of technique and skill. It’s beyond art; it’s an awesome medium."
by Alex Mann
Alex is a senior at West Texas A&M University currently completing his final semester for a degree in Mass Communications. When not working, he enjoys developing his photography skills, reading a good book and being with family and friends.