Tattoos are art. As anyone with an appreciation for ink will tell you, tattoos are more than just one-and-done designs that you get on a whim (although that can most certainly trigger the addiction). When done correctly, a tattoo is nothing less than a veritable masterpiece that takes on a living, breathing life of its own as it engrains itself into the wearer and moves with muscles and skin through the rest of a person’s life.
This March, Hudson Valley Tattoo Fest celebrates the ritual of tattooing and honors the artists that add color — literally — to the local ink scene. On March 29-31, the inaugural celebration takes over the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie to showcase more than 200 artists from around the world, including local legends like Matt Montleon of Beacon’s Honorable Ink, Millennium Tattoo owner Frank Scalzo, and new-school master Anthony Mascolino of The Revenant Gallery in Hopewell Junction.
Open to the general public, the fest is a one-stop shop for all things ink. Attendees can scope out different artistic styles, shop from regional vendors, enter contests, and enjoy the live music and mouthwatering eats onsite.
As far as getting inked at the fest goes, appointments can be scheduled with individual artists at their own set price. Everyone is welcome to attend the festival, but ID is required to get tattooed. The Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel and the Holiday Inn Express Poughkeepsie offer lodging at a discounted price for festival goers who want to stay the night in town. General passes can be purchased online or for a reduced cost at Wappingers Falls’ Hudson Valley Tattoo Company, the festival’s organizer.
In anticipation of the three-day celebration, organized and hosted by Mike Shishmanian and Diego Martin of Hudson Valley Tattoo Company, we caught up with six of the Hudson Valley’s native creatives to discuss their tattooing journeys and their expectations at the fest. Here’s what they had to say: