Video Game Tattoo Con 2023 Review: I Now Want a Tattoo

So this weekend was a little bit of a new one for me for a couple of reasons. One was the fact that this was the first year for Video Game Tattoo Con in Knoxville, TN. Since that’s really close to me I made a last-minute plan to attend this last Sunday. Plus it’s the first tattoo con I’ve ever been to and I was pretty excited to attend despite my inconsistent luck with first-year events.

First I’ll talk about the guests and the artists because I think it might be best to group them together since the artists are the stars of this event. The convention had four voice actors attending and they were all very incredible actors with a wide range of roles but truth be told unlike most conventions I’ve attended the guests weren’t the highlight of the event. Sure I had a great time talking with them and I got some autographs but I almost missed them entirely since they were in the middle of the convention floor which is unlike most events that put guests around the walls. So the guests were amazing they really were but it was such a different experience in this environment that it took me a bit to adjust to it.

The artists were phenomenal. I think there were over 200 artists in fact when my wife and I arrived we accidentally found the wrong parking lot and were told this was roughly how many artists were attending. Plus the guy enforcing the parking helped us find another really good spot to park so huge thanks to him for the helpful directions and the info. I found a lot of artists that had artwork and samples of their work that really captivated me and as an art fan, this really was a spectacle. Plus many of the artists had availability even on Sunday so if we choose to we could have very easily gotten a tattoo that day. However, the combination of a last-minute plan to attend and a last-minute planning convention budget made that a hard no for this weekend. I did find an artist that is a few hours from me that I think I would like to actually get my first tattoo with so overall this was a huge win.

As for the art itself, I saw a ton of Pokemon tattoos that were very creative, and as a self-proclaimed Snorlax master seeing a ton of Snorlax art was a treat. I was hoping for some Fire Emblem art but sadly didn’t see any but that’s also understandable as I’ve not seen much in the way of Fire Emblem tattoos, but I did make that suggestion to some artists I really liked so crossing my fingers on that. Pokemon was the primary video game seen around the event but you also had some artwork of the Mario franchise, Animal Crossing, and also various animes.

Normally here is where I’ll talk about vendors but tattoo cons are very different in that area. The vendors are the artists themselves since a lot of room is needed so they have plenty of space to not only showcase their work but also to tattoo clients for the weekend. The layout was really good. Everything was very spacious so I got to see everyone’s work in great detail and I got to chat with several artists which truthfully helped ease my fears about the idea of getting a tattoo. Plus they were all just friendly and easy to talk to in general it really was a welcoming environment.

For those who expect me to also talk about panels, this is also something that’s different about this style of convention. I think they had a handful of panels but not many of them which makes sense. Tattoos take a while to do and it’s about impossible to plan an elaborate tattoo while planning to go to a panel so I think this was a very smart move.

Overall what I saw this weekend was an incredible array of talented tattoo artists that made me really want to get one for myself one day. It was a layout that was easy to walk around in and the artists were easy to talk to and very welcoming which made for a fun day. This convention does have guests and it was fun to see them but the reality is the artists are the highlights of this convention. I’m planning on saving up and keeping an eye out if this convention happens next year because I’m already prepared to save the dates this time.

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