WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Wichita Falls is working to bring a wide variety of conventions to the area to provide an economic boost. That includes the Ink Masters Tattoo Expo in June of 2018 at the MPEC.
"We've never had anything like this before," Owner of Rusty's Needles Tattoo, Rusty Biscamp said. "We've always been stuck in one shop that we can work in. So this is going to give people an opportunity for people who are exposed to one tattoo artist to go somewhere and be exposed to all of the tattoo artists."
Hundreds are expected to attend, spending money in restaurants and some staying over in hotels. But first, Wichita Falls City Councilors must amend a city ordinance to allow the expo.
Right now, for health code reasons, you can only get a tattoo or body piercing in a licensed and inspected shop. Those rules must change to allow people to get inked in a temporary location like a festival or convention.
"There are very few municipalities that actually have body art ordinances," Wichita Falls Director of Health, Lou Kreidler said. "And out of those that do, there's only two that address temporary events. Those were Lubbock and El Paso."
City Councilors are expected to vote on changes to the existing ordinance to allow tattoo expos next Tuesday.
"We felt like we could allow temporary events and still protect the health and safety of the community," Kreidler said.
If you are looking to get a tattoo, the changed ordinance would give you more options. Biscamp said people come from all over the world for these events.
"It's definitely going to bring in some artists that have never tattooed in Wichita Falls," he said. "It's going to bring artists from state's away that will come in here and expose themselves to the people here and pick up new customers."
That was seen in October at the Inkin Oklahoma convention in Lawton with international tattoo shops like World Famous, 247 Ink, and Ink Master.
Biscamp and Kreidler think passing this ordinance will be good for the Wichita Falls economy by attracting a wide variety of conventions, festivals, and expos.
"Body art has become big in our culture today," Kreidler said. "There are some segments of our society where body art is really popular. So I can see that and that's what we saw here in Wichita Falls."
"I think it's really neat that the city's stepping up and giving us the opportunity to spread our craft and not just be stuck in one building all day," Biscamp said. "We can go to different shops if we want to and hang out with our other tattoo artist friends, meet their clients, and go to these conventions with the different events they have. It's just great for the city."
The Ink Masters expo will have tattoo artists giving tattoos, some of them free, activities, contests, and even a kids zone with face painting and temporary tattoos.