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Hell City Tattoo Fest '09 (Killumbus, OH)
I never thought that such a cool tattoo convention could take place in such a lame state. If you feel yourself suddenly offended by that, let me point out two things:

I was born in Ohio, and got the hell out asap.
Have you ever heard anyone say, “Hey! Let’s go to Ohio!”... exactly.

Anywho, I’ve heard nothing but good things about Hell City Tattoo Fest, so I packed up my camera and headed for Ohio!

Turns out that it’s not just a good convention, but an awesome convention! There were three floors of craziness going on, and on the first floor, there was the Innerstate Live Panting Exhibition. I was really impressed with the number and caliber of artists that they had doing paintings in front of everyone. One of my favorite, Shawn Barber, was there too. Other fine artists included Michele Wortman, Nick Baxter, Kim Reed, Kim Saigh, Hana Aitchison, Mike Cole, and a bunch others totaling 40 different artists!

On the main floor of the tattoo expo across from the main stage was an ongoing demonstration of the Art Fusion Experiment. With a multitude of artists working together to create some interesting pieces of art, there’s always something to see.

On the main stage there were various activities going on, on each of the days. Some of these included live bands, fire dancing and performances, live comedy, tattoo competitions, and the highly anticipated roast of Chris Longo.

In addition to the standard tattoo convention material, there were also some body mod seminars being hosted by some of the country’s top artists. Shawn Barber on, “Portrait Paintings From Reference”, Guy Aitchison with, “Reinventing the Tattoo”, Gunnar giving a presentation on “Cartooning Everyday Objects & People”, and Steve Haworth gave four lectures on genital beading, laser brandings, magnet finger jewelry, and surface piercings.

There were also the Tattoo Forums, and Tattoo Sinema. The forums were some open discussion panels based on three different topics and they were all open to all attendees. I think these helped the tattooees (i just made that word up) get a little bit on the inside of the tattooers. They had “Why We’re Tattoo Artists”, which allowed artists to share stories of how they became some of the top tattoo artists in the industry, “From Concept to Completion” to show people what goes into a tattoo, and “Leaps and Bounds”, a conversation about the dramatic rise of tattooing.

The Tattoo Sinema showed five different sets of Tattoo TV and Tattoo films. There was TLC’s “Tattoo Wars” (4 episodes), “The Works” which is the History channels tattoo episode filmed at Hell City 2008, Hyperspace Studio’s “Tattoo Television”, and Paul Booth’s “Last Rites Vol #1” and “Art Fusion Experiment”. I’ve already seen all of them in the past, so I skipped out on the viewings. You can order the Paul Booth films at (yet another site I designed... lol!)

As with most conventions, the best part about this one was after the days were over. Hanging out with friends from around the world that you don’t see to often in a hotel bar is becoming one of my favorite hobbies! I’m even seeing my NYC buddies more frequently in other cities than at home. Crazy!

If you missed this one, you can catch part two of this convention, which is Hell City Tattoo Fest in Phoenix Ar
.: Adam
Since 2003, Adam Callen has been the editor and publisher of, not the largest or oldest full-spectrum body modification publication on the planet, but pretty damn awesome =). Copyright © 2023 Adam Callen. Permission is granted to reprint this article in its entirety as long as credit is retained and usage is non-commercial. Requests to publish edited or shortened versions must be confirmed in writing. For bibliographical purposes this article was first published June 2, 2009 in New York City, US.

I hope someone sees the humor in this =)
And Drew Carey always said Cleveland rocks...glad you had a good time, I've got to get out to one some day. Who's the pretty lady w/ the tats lol? :P
Posted on June 3, 2009 (6:09am)
Ummm, have you ever seen the Ohio 3 day commercial... "you're going to want three days to see everything this state has to offer!" I always thought it was funny that they ran out of ideas by the fourth day :P
Posted on June 3, 2009 (6:25am)
All they have in ohio to see is cedarpoint and sea world!!!Thats it!!!
Posted on June 3, 2009 (4:53pm)
Haha I thought I saw a familiar face there. I spent the weekend in the Hyatt.

Unfortunately, it took me until Sunday to figure out where I could get cigarettes close by.
Posted on June 3, 2009 (7:23pm)
*squeeeeeeal* Michele Wortman! <33333333333333333333333333

She's doing my back :D
Posted on June 3, 2009 (10:51pm)
Hell city Was Amazing. and your rite ohio is lame!
Posted on June 10, 2009 (2:54pm)
Posted on August 12, 2009 (12:59am)
The Air Force said, "You guys get to go here!" So here I am, at WPAFB.
At least I have something to look forward to next year. :]
Posted on October 2, 2009 (1:39pm)
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