If you have tattoos, appreciate artwork, enjoy live entertainment or are just looking to enjoy a fun, weekend event, you'll want to know about the third annual Indy Tattoo Expo that is coming to Hendricks County, Indiana in June.
Over the weekend of June 9-11, 2023, more than 150 tattoo artists from all over the country will descend upon the Embassy Suites by Hilton Hotel & Conference Center in Plainfield, Ind., to show off their artistic talents in this massive event created and organized by Chris Taylor, owner of Ink Therapy in Plainfield.
Joining these artists will be a number of vendors and live entertainment acts, turning the Embassy Suites into a 1920s-themed mecca of body art.
Chris, Rabbit, and Tattoos
Chris Taylor was only 10 years old when he met the man who would become his mentor, James "Rabbit" Sanders. Chris began his tattooing apprenticeship with Sanders in 1992 at the tender age of 15, and the rest is history.
(Speaking of history, Chris is also an avid tattoo historian.)
Sanders passed away in 2016, but I was able to connect with Chris last year, and he and I have conversed about all things tattoo-related plus someone we both know. I'm climbing the walls to get some more ink, and Chris will be my next tattoo artist once he has a chance to catch his breath after this huge annual event.
While Chris created the Indy Tattoo Expo, Rabbit’s daughter, Trina Sanders Sowers, organizes the huge event on top of her responsibilities as the shop manager at Ink Therapy. Chris told me, “Trina is incredible. I think up the crazy ideas, and she makes them happen. She’s amazing, and this expo wouldn’t happen without her.”
I chatted with Chris recently about this year's upcoming Indy Tattoo Expo. Here's what I learned from him.
The obvious part of an event called Indy Tattoo Expo is the tattoos, right?
Last year, there were more than 150 tattoo artists at the event, and Chris says that there are even MORE artists coming to the expo this year from all over the U.S. Not only will you be able to see each artist's vision, talent and specialties, you can also easily contact any of the artists to schedule an appointment for a tattoo during the event.
Some of the artists might have time for walk-in appointments, but your best bet is to secure an appointment from an artist in advance. These are the top tattoo artists in the nation, so their services are obviously going to be in high demand.
And as someone who sports a little ink myself, I know that getting the right tattoo is a process. It takes time to have one done right. Walk-ins are okay for pre-drawn basic tattoos, but if you're after a one-of-a-kind work of art, it's a process that requires some advanced coordination with the artist and some patience while the artist goes to work.
So how do you contact these tattoo artists? It's super easy. Click here to find out who is coming to the Indy Tattoo Expo.
Then click on the graphic of any of the artists, which will lead you to that artist's Instagram page, where you can send a message to him or her to see about scheduling an appointment. You can also learn about their pricing and discuss your vision for your tattoo.
Contests will be held throughout the weekend for the best tattoo in a variety of categories. So, even if you don't acquire some new ink yourself at the expo, you'll be able to see some incredible artwork all three days.
Entertainment and Vendors
In addition to tattoos, the Indy Tattoo Expo will feature live entertainment throughout the weekend by a variety of performers. Click here to see the acts scheduled.
There will be live music, comedy, magic, burlesque and the incomparable Captain & Maybelle sideshow.
Performances will take place at regular intervals in two different exposition rooms, so you'll have plenty of opportunities to see the entertainers of your choice.
You can also stroll through the vendors' booths to shop for post-tattoo skin care products, jewelry, artwork, trinkets and much more. Chris says to expect even more vendors this year than were present in 2022!
Click here to see a list of scheduled vendors.
Chris tells me they're also adding a few new tattoo history displays and collectors to this year's expo.
Ava Strong Memorial Ride
In addition to the Art Fusion project that gives back to the community, the Indy Tattoo Expo is also hosting the Ava Strong Memorial Ride on Saturday, June 10. Registration is from 9 to 10:30 a.m., and kickstands are up at 11 a.m.
The ride, which begins and ends at Embassy Suites and incorporates stops to be announced later, benefits Maci and Abbi, two extremely young sisters who are both dealing with neuroblastoma.
Participation in the Ava Strong Memorial Ride is $25 per rider and $5 per passenger. Show your wristband from the ride to receive half off the Indy Tattoo Expo ticket price that same day.
To learn more about Maci and Abbi, the ride and Ava Strong, click here.
Hours and Tickets
The Indy Tattoo Expo will take place on Friday, June 9 from noon to midnight; on Saturday, June 10 from 11 a.m. to midnight; and on Sunday, June 11 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
You have the option to purchase single-day passes or a weekend pass to the Indy Tattoo Expo upon arrival. Friday's and Sunday's single-day tickets are $25 each day. Saturday's single-day pass is $30. Save some cash and purchase a weekend pass at the door for $70.
However, Chris gave me a valuable insider tip to save even more money. Purchase your tickets in advance for a discount!
Click here and you'll find Friday and Sunday presale tickets for $22 each day, Saturday's presale tickets for $27, and a weekend pass for just $60!
And yet another insider tip from Chris (he's full of these, isn't he?): go to the Indy Tattoo Expo's website, and you will find a link to save up to 40% on tickets to the Indianapolis Zoo! And the tickets are good through the end of the year!
What a cool sponsorship by the Indianapolis Zoo! No word yet on whether or not Chris has tattooed a lightning bolt on a cheetah's bicep yet (I wouldn't put it past him), so you'll just have to grab some of these discounted tickets and go see for yourself!
See you at the 2023 Indy Tattoo Expo!