5th annual Visionary Tattoo Arts Festival 7.25.14
Kelly Killigan of Premium Blend Tattoos in Manahawkin works on Courtney Letwinch at the 5th annual Visionary Tattoo Arts Festival at the Asbury Convention Center in Asbury Park. (Alex Remnick/The Star-Ledger)
When Ray Bradbury wrote "The Illustrated Man" in 1951, he conjured up the fantasy of a man wandering America as an outcast. The character was unable to keep a job because he was covered with tattoos that moved and told a story that often revealed the future of the beholder. Even more outlandish, the artist who illustrated him was a woman who claimed to be from the future.
Last weekend, the fifth annual Visionary Tattoo Arts Festival was held in Asbury Park. Thousands of people gathered at Convention Hall either to be illustrated by the artists present, or proudly show the ink they already wear.
According to a 2012 poll by Harris Interactive, one in five Americans has a tattoo. For the first time, women outpaced men in having one. Since the previous poll in 2008, the number of women with tattoos rose 10 percent to 23 percent in 2012. In the same amount of time, men gained only 4 percent for a total of 19 percent.
Jon Jon Lane, director of the festival, says attendance at the event is evenly mixed between men and women. And each year, it gets more visitors. Lane thinks being tattooed is becoming more popular in the mainstream.
Alyssa Sperduto is tattooed by Taylor Mills at the 5th annual Visionary Tattoo Arts Festival at the Asbury Convention Center in Asbury Park.Alex Remnick/The Star-Ledger
"It is more respectable for women to get tattooed. Before it was seen as a more masculine type of thing," he says. "Now you see a lot more younger females with tattoos, which I think is great for everybody."
One place the even mix between men and women is not evident is on the artist roster. With 150 artists to choose from at the […]