Droves of Tattoo aficionados on Long Island will soon descend on Nassau Coliseum for United Ink, the region's only tattoo convention.
"Long Island has many great, talented artists and we need a place to all get together and unite, to tattoo in one place together," said Lou Rubino, owner of the Tattoo Lou's tattoo shop chain and event creator. "That’s why I planned this United Ink, to bring the art of tattooing to a whole new level on Long Island."
The convention, which runs July 27 to July 29 will showcase artists from around the world, Rubino said. There will be roughly 250 booths, about 200 having multiple tattoo artists working. About 20 of the booths will be manned by artists from local shops.
In addition to the tattooing, other booths will consist of piercers, tattoo supply companies, tattoo aftercare companies, clothing companies, companies that insure tattoo shops, tattoo attorneys and more.
There won't be a shortage of notable artists at the convention as it will feature three artists from the tattoo reality show Ink Master – winner Shane O'Neill and show contestants Billi Vegas and Al Fliction, star of the reality show NY Ink Megan Massacre, reality show LA Ink star Amy Nicoletto, Bowery Stan, Philadelphia Eddie, Roman Abrego, Chris Torres and more.
Many artists from the Tattoo Lou's shops will also be tattooing and piercing.
Aside from tattooing, the convention will feature a signing by former New York Yankees great Jim Leyritz, the Coney Island Freak Show, a body suspension act, tattoo seminars, contests for best tattoo of the day and much more.
Following each night of the convention, afterparties will go well into the night at surrounding bars and clubs, and Sunday night will feature an awards ceremony at Aura in East Meadow. Doors open at 9 p.m. and tickets are $15.
"It’s awards given out to not only just famous artists but artists that have made an impact on the industry as a whole, that have changed the way society perceives tattooing," said Mark Perez, director or marketing at Tattoo Lou's.
Rubino said he hopes to host roughly 10,000 people each day of the convention. Tickets are $18.50 for a day pass, $40 for a full weekend pass, and children 12-years-old and younger are free. The tickets could be purchased at the Nassau Coliseum box office and via TicketMaster.
Rubino said this convention isn't about his chain of stores but rather a celebration of the tattoo culture.
"The change over the past 10 years or so has been huge and more and more people are seeing this as an art form," he said. "It’s a great art form and there’s a lot of awesome, talented artists out there that need to be seen."