Tattoo convention produces eye-opening results 

The barrel-chested bald man winked at passing gawkers as he lay on his stomach, wearing nothing but confederate flag boxers and attitude. The man chose the second annual Oklahoma City Tattoo Convention to add another tattoo to his calf, one of the few blank spaces left on his body. All around the convention, the buzzing of needles sounded like like a hive full of festive counter-culture.

The convention promoters promised an eye-opening experience for Oklahoma tattoo lovers unfamiliar with out-of-state talent, and it didn't take much flipping through the portfolios of countless out of state shops to realize "? The lizard tattoo my buddy inked on his leg really does suck.

There were a number of standout artists that, even with the high caliber represented at the conference, were doing gallery-quality work on human skin, such as  Chris Thomas from Golden Lotus Tattoo Studio in Little Rock, Ark.

"I've got a couple lined up tomorrow," Thomas said of his schedule for the conference.

He started out in traditional artwork with bright and vibrant lines, but is progressing to realism, specifically recreating horror character faces. Many of the top-notch artists at the conference have gotten to the point they can specialize in a certain style.

"If I pick something up tonight, it's going to be a face or I'm not doing it," Thomas said. "I come here to showcase my work, not to make a million dollars."

Many of the patrons had scheduled a tattoo before the conference, but there was a lot of window shopping going on as well.

The convention is open until 10 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Oklahoma City Farmer's Market, 311 S. Klein. Tickets are $15 "? Charles Martin

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