Tattooing is becoming a mark, quite literally, of the younger generations. Harris Interactive reported in 2012 that 21 percent of American adults have tattoos. Those who are looking to learn more about the practice of body art may not have to look very far to come face-to-face with public celebration of tattoos and the culture surrounding them.

Tattoo conventions provide a forum for enthusiasts and the uninitiated alike to come face to face with this popular and expanding subculture. Many such events even offer attendees a chance to go under the needle themselves.

Held this past weekend from July 25 – 27, the Visionary Tattoo Arts Festival in Asbury Park, New Jersey, draw thousands of visitors. The convention featured 150 booths showcasing tattoos from artists local and national. Such an event is appealing not just to existing tattoo devotees, but for curious newcomers as well. As the Asbury Park Press reported, many festival-goers show up not to get tattoos themselves, but to admire the work of the artists present. Other attractions awaiting curious visitors included a sideshow and pinup contest, marking the event as a celebration not just of the art form but overall tattoo culture in general.

In the future, tattoo conventions may help bridge the gap between subculture and mainstream acceptance.

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