Ink artists invade Biloxi for a first ever convention

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - By Rebecca Powers – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Nationally acclaimed tattoo artist Earl Noble is one of more than 100 tattoo artists who came to Biloxi this week for Inktoberfest. The tattoo convention is the first of its kind to ever be held in our state.

The man behind it all is Aaron Antonucci, the owner of Adrenaline Ink in Gulfport. Antonucci travels the world attending other tattoo conventions and decided South Mississippi was ready for just such an event. So far, the turnout is already surpassing his wildest dreams.

"We've got people coming from China, Switzerland, Australia. We've got artists from all over the place," Antonucci said.

The quality of the intricate designs these artists create is as impressive as anything you would find in a fine art museum. Tattoo artists are gaining not only popularity, but respect.

Emily Elegadl from Panama City Florida is a newcomer to the art of ink. This weekend, she'll get to mingle with some of the art icons she admires.

"There's Mike Chambers, Mike Cole. Roman's here, which is amazing," Elegadl said. "There's a lot of really great people here, and that's not even the tip of the iceberg."

Any of them will tell you, Inktoberfest isn't just about creating body art. There are whole lines of tattoo merchandise and equipment, body piercing, even midget wrestling and live music.

"You can watch every single show, get tattooed, meet all kinds of famous guys you've seen on T.V. and read in magazines. There's a lot to keep you entertained," Antonucci said.

And believe it or not, the tattoo convention has something for all ages.

"Art shows, there's pin up girl contests. There's just so much to do here. We've even got bounce houses for kids, so it's just something different that an entire family can come and enjoy."

The Inktoberfest Tattoo Convention at the Coast Coliseum Convention Center costs $60 for a weekend pass, or $25 for a single day. It started Thursday and runs through Sunday, October 17.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.