Prescott fest toasts the art of the tattoo

Prescott fest toasts the art of the tattoo

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Prescott fest toasts the art of the tattoo

tattoo fest Model Kandy K shows off her tattoos during the Northern Arizona Tattoo Fest in Prescott on Friday. “They are the storybook of my life,” she says.(Photo: Lynn French/12 News)

PRESCOTT – They are human art galleries. A flaming skull stares intensely over the collar. A gleaming dagger rests on the wrist. A technicolor owl peers out above the sock line.

Their art accompanies them everywhere, often making a statement before they say a word. They are tattoo collectors.

The harmonic buzz of dozens of tattoo machines swells inside the ballroom of the Prescott Resort and Casino on Friday evening during the Northern Arizona Tattoo Fest, which runs through today.

Vincent Rafferty of Phoenix takes a swig of Sprite before lying down on the black leather padded table. He nods to tattoo artist Siege, pops in his ear buds and prepares to be punctured hundreds of times by another ink-filled needle.

They already have six hours together on Rafferty’s newest piece, a quintessential Arizona moment of a hawk perched on a cactus at sunset. This is not his first tattoo; it is not even his first tattoo by Siege. They have a relationship spanning five years and dozens of square inches of inked skin.

"I like his style. I just tell him how much room I have and see what he comes up with," Rafferty says.

The hawk fills in the space along his upper thigh next to a seething vampire seductress, an Irish crest, and a thumb-sized heart encasing the Arizona flag with the number 19 above it to honor the fallen Granite Mountain Hotshots.

"I have so much now, I don’t see the tattoos," he says. "I just see the spots that need tattoos."Tattoo collectors gather their pieces in much the same manner as fine art collectors cover their walls. Over time, they may choose a favorite artist whom they return to for many pieces to cover their dermal real estate. Other collectors go to numerous sought-after artists, seeking […]