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Circus of ink: This weekend’s Denver Tattoo Convention goes green

Step right up!

See the live, projected Skinfusion! Four artists will rotate, collectively tattooing one person on stage! See the head-to-toe jigsaw-tattooed Enigma Electric Acid Theater swallow swords!

Watch as celebrity tattooists brand humans — live!

“It’s just going to be like a big circus and celebrating the body as a canvass,” says Tasha King, content development and marketing for TattooFinder.com, which is a sponsor of this weekend’s Denver Tattoo Convention.

This year’s convention, held Friday through Sunday at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Denver, will house 150 tattoists from across the nation, available to tattoo on the spot.

Celebrity tattooists also will be in town, namely Lyle Tuttle and Friday Jones.

King says Tuttle, 77, has “been warmly referred to as the forefather of modern tattooing,” and will offer a free public presentation on the history of modern tattooing Saturday.

“I don’t think we would have the height of artistry in tattooing if it wasn’t for Lyle Tuttle and his work,” King says.

Friday Jones, “one of the most prominent female tattooists in the industry,” will bring her couture tattooing style to the convention. She has tattooed the likes of Angelina Jolie and singers from Danity Kane.

TattooFinder.com is hosting a kick-off party Friday night at Beta Nightclub, 1909 Blake St., in Denver, where the “Hottest Inked” will be crowned.

“I’m probably most excited for the Hottest Inked contest,” King says. “We’re pulling together the hottest tattooed people in Denver and we’re putting them all on a runway, and it’s just going to be such a hell of a good time.”

The top three male and top three female winners will be pictured in a photo spread in Inked magazine’s December issue, and also will receive cash prizes. Register your body canvas at www.hottest-inked.com.

The Denver convention also stands apart from all others by being the first to go green.

King says in the past, the tattoo industry had not been so quick to jump onto more sustainable methods, as far as soaps and sanitary tools.

“You just kind of stay entrenched in what you’ve always been using,” King says. “But there are so many great products out there — so many eco-friendly paper products that you really can incorporate into the business pretty well.”

Boulder’s Ecoproducts is providing the alternative production rinse cups, Whole Foods Market is providing paper towels and Dr. Bronner’s is contributing organic, fair-trade hand soaps.

King says credit for the inspiration of going green is due for the convention organizers, Englewood’s Phantom 8 Tattoo.

“It’s our conviction that tattooing can be a sustainable art form that beautifies the planet, as well as the human body,” says Piper Rose, of Phantom 8 Tattoo, in a news release.

When Lance Talon, owner of Boulder’s Bolder Ink, heard this year’s tattoo convention was going green, he was immediately on board.

“Zero waste. I think it’s awesome,” he says.

Talon says he hadn’t participated in a convention in Denver in almost nine years.

“The first (tattoo convention to go green) ever,” he says. “That’s why I wanted to participate.”

Talon, who has been tattooing for 171/2 years, opened his custom shop in 1995. He says “everybody gets a unique, custom tattoo” at Bolder Ink.

“We’re all fine-art trained,” he says. “We draw pretty much everything that we do. It’s a 100-percent custom shop.”

Talon and Joe Martinez will set up shop in Denver this weekend with a bit of a plus on their side.

“We kind of have an advantage, being local, being able to take our own massage tables,” says Talon, who has about 350 hours’ worth of ink on his body. “Usually it’s just plastic, folding chairs. That’s not very conducive in giving tattoos.”

Talon is pretty booked for the convention, but Martinez, who has worked at the shop for 10 years, has some available slots.

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