Entering its 21st year, Motor City Tattoo Expo is celebrating over two decades of talent, bringing together the best artists from all over the US with tattoo enthusiasts visiting from all over the globe. Tattooing since 1976, founder and organizer Terry “Tramp” Welker has gone beyond operating his own shop.
“We set the Motor City Tattoo Expo at a higher standard of artists,” said Welker. “We have a waiting list of very talented artists wanting to attend and work our convention.”
Welker is the owner of Eternal Tattoos Inc. and has branched out to five locations in the Metro Detroit area. He opened his first shop in 1980 - today he has accumulated 36 years of experience in the industry. He believes that the tattoo expo is a chance to showcase all kinds of styles and artists.
“We are a little bit of old school with a mix of new school,” he said. “We like to find new artists that may be unheard of but doing great work and invite them to attend.” Welker thinks that conventions like this give the public a chance to familiarize themselves more with the world of tattoos and experience artists they usually would have to leave Michigan to see.
“We are able to show the public the professionalism of the art of tattooing,” said Welker. “The quality of work being done [at Motor City Tattoo Expo] is beyond what most people can imagine.”
Featured on the cover of Inked Magazine in 2014, Philadelphia based tattoo artist, Myke Chambers, is very anxious about the convention.
“I actually like Detroit and I think it's going to bounce back even stronger than before with a huge art community,” said Chambers. He has been tattooing for 22 years, finding inspiration in unlikely corners - “people and their capacity for forgiveness”.
Chambers was honoured when he found out he was going to be on the cover of Inked Magazine.
“It was pretty huge but not my greatest accomplishment. I'd say my 3 kids, happy wife and a great career doing what I love are my greatest accomplishments,” he said.
When asked about the craziest thing he has experienced during his career, he responded with “how popular tattoos have become today. I never thought it would get to this level.”
The Motor City Tattoo Expo will be held March 4 - 6 at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Centre with tickets starting at $20 for a day pass. For more information, visit themotorcitytattooexpo.com