Skin is their canvas

Tattoo aficionados at fairgrounds festival find body art to be a great means of expression.

March 08, 2013|By Michael Miller
  • Tattoo artist David Palacios sketches a design as he participates in the 6th Annual Musink Tattoo and Music Festival at the OC Fair and Event Center. The event will feature performances by punk legends Bad Religion, Reverend Horton Heat, and Vandals. The event goes through Sunday.
Tattoo artist David Palacios sketches a design as he participates… (Don Leach, Daily…)

Bill Hardie can handle powerful ink — whether it comes from a needle or Jerry Brown's pen.

The producer of MusInk, the annual music and tattoo festival at the OC Fair & Event Center, didn't flinch much when the governor signed recent legislation strengthening health standards for body art. This year's festival mandates hand-washing stations in each vendor's booth.

And that's all that's different, according to Hardie, who for years has made a point of making his festival as clean and friendly as possible.

"I just thought I could make it a little cleaner, a little easier, a little better," said the Laguna Beach resident, who founded MusInk five years ago. "Some of the places you go to are just — I wouldn't say unsanitary, but I wouldn't feel comfortable getting a tattoo there."

MusInk, which began late Friday afternoon, will continue through Sunday night with dozens of vendor booths lined up indoors. Although California law prohibits minors from getting tattoos, the event is open to all ages.


As in past years, the festival also has a rich music lineup — Bad Religion and the Vandals were among those set to perform Friday, while Pennywise and Reverend Horton Heat are scheduled to play Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

Are the band members all tattooed? Hardie said it isn't a requirement. But he added, "For the most part, yeah."


A two-year wait

Hannah Boyd's two years were up when she arrived at the fairgrounds Friday to see the design for her new right-arm tattoo.

The Long Beach resident had asked her skin artist to draw a muse — a woman in long, flowing robes, signifying creativity — that would extend from her shoulder to wrist. It wasn't a spur-of-the-moment choice, though.

"I like art, and because I do arts, I like the idea of getting art on my body," Boyd said. "I have a rule that I have to want something for a couple of years before I get it."

Boyd already had a heart tattoo on her left arm in tribute to her daughter, plus an elaborate collage along her collarbone that she designed herself. Another customer who came to add to his collection was Erik Chaplen, of Rancho Cucamonga, who had Bible-inspired designs up and down his body and sought to add a compass, an anchor and a scroll on his ankle.

Those images, Chaplen said, were inspired by Ruth 1:16: "Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay" — a sentiment prompted by his recent marriage.

"Those were our vows," he said.


'It's not unpainful'

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