Ink-N-Iron - Pandemonium On The Pacific
If it's a murderer's row of the world's best ink slingers, the hottest custom cars and hot rods, beautiful pin-up chicks, sick music, and the company of the most serious skin art collectors with...Ink-N-Iron was created with you in mind.
If it's a murderer's row of the world's best ink slingers, the hottest custom cars and hot rods, beautiful pin-up chicks, sick music, and the company of the most serious skin art collectors with which you would choose to spend your weekend, then Ink-N-Iron was created with you in mind.

It's a true testament to the hard work and vision of show promoters Riun Van Driessche, Trace Edwards, and the staff at Keen Entertainment that I-N-I continues to be one of the most cutting-edge and relevant ink expos on the third rock from the sun. Ten years on, this ink orgy on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA, is still the place to be to kick off the summer if you claim membership to the body-modification family.

It's unusual that a tattoo show that includes so much non-ink activity can draw artists on a level that you find each year at Ink-N-Iron. The tenth anniversary show boasted a line-up of tattooers that included such A-list names as Oliver Peck, Roman Abrego, Myke Chambers, Steve Tefft, Nikko Hurtado, Boris of Hungary, Randy Engelhard, and Jess Yen. Sessions with these top-caliber slingers for this weekend are often booked a year in advance. Still, the word on this ship was that there were a few last minute cancellations, so some attendees were able to get ink from their dream artists as walk-ins.

For your peeps at Rebel Ink, it's all about getting the tats in front of the camera and bringing the action to our loyal readers. RI lensmaster Steve Prue pitched his tent on the Queen Mary early Friday evening, and captured a good deal of the many inked masterpieces on display over the weekend. The pin-ups, hot rodders, and their admirers repped the old school ink, and this traditional American discipline could be found wherever collectors roamed. The fastest rising style of ink, especially on the West Coast, Dia de Los Muertos, was also prominent aboard the ship and surrounding show areas. Portraiture, running from Dali and Marilyn to Jesus and Mary, left eyes wide and jaws hangin' from fellow collectors and fans of brilliant works on the human canvass.

The badass element of the Ink-N-Iron show comes from the tattooers and the killer work done on premises. However, the circus atmosphere of I-N-I comes from the seemingly bottomless well of entertainment provided by the twisted minds of Van Driessche and Edwards.

The cars in the dock lot are the other main attraction at I-N-I, and the "iron" in the house seems to get wilder and crazier each summer. Nothing on earth can touch an American car club, and everything that is cool about hot rods, rat rods, and classic whips can be found at this show. The cars also provide an extra layer of spectacle to the event, as well as fertile soil for photo ops and backdrops for the legions of shooters and weekend filmmakers who made the trip out west.

Lovers of beautiful, inked members of the female gender did not leave Long Beach disappointed that first weekend of June. Pin-ups, burlesque beauties, pole dancers, and all ilks of alt-creatures were everywhere! Other highlights of the show included Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School, a Vintage Fashion Bazaar, movies, and more.

With my hand on the Good Book, I don't remember there ever being a hotter line-up of musical acts at an I-N-I jam than what was unleashed on the crowd last June. Among the headlines were no lesser names than Iggy Pop and the Stooges, Dead Kennedys, The Fleshtones, The Offspring, and The Stranglers. Are you serious?!

Each day also brought with it an itinerary of tattoo contests. Along with Best Of The Day, Friday had traditional, tribal, and Japanese tattoo work contests. Saturday had BOD as well as Black & Grey (large and small), arm and leg sleeve, and portrait categories. Sunday brought with it awards in best "All Around" categories, as well as Best Of The Day, and Best Of Show honors.

No matter how hardcore or old school you are about conventions and the commercialization of tattooing, you can't ignore what this show brings to the table as far as moving the tattoo culture in a forward direction. I-N-I is a progressive expo, presenting everything there is to love about tattooing in a positive light. Ink-N-Iron is spectacular, informative, inclusive to all members of our community, and just plain f'n fun!

For information on Ink-N-Iron 2014, visit ink-n-iron.com.

Photography by Steve Prue
Article by T.K. Whelton

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