Dan Lorenzo: The three of us have been to hundreds of tattoo conventions, but many people who have never been to one often ask me, "Can I get tattooed at a tattoo convention?" Besides the word "yes," what would you tell somebody looking to come get ink at United Ink?
Lou Rubino: [yells] OF COURSE! You can get tattooed at the United Ink Tattoo Convention... not only can you get tattooed, you can get tattooed by the industry's top tattoo artists from around the world, right here in New York City on March 28 to April 3rd.
Jackie Rubino: One of the questions we frequently get is "Do you have to pay for tattoos?" and of course the answer is yes! What we do at United Ink is bring some of the top artists to NYC in one room for the public to peruse! A tattoo convention is a place where you can meet and get tattooed by artists you otherwise may never get a chance to have access to. Also a newer thing that has been going on at conventions... artist collaborations! You will frequently see two or more amazing artists doing a collaboration piece on one person. They usually run a contest or a social media search for the person who gets to be the canvas.
When I look at tattoos on Instagram and I see a particularly colorful tattoo, very often it was done with World Famous ink. Lou, what do you credit that to?
Lou: World Famous Tattoo Inks are amazing modern tattoo inks, that's what artists are raving about. They are heavily concentrated to saturate the skin, yet with great flow and ease of use! World Famous Forever!
You have two conventions every year. Are there many differences between them?
Lou: Huge differences. Main difference is location. One is in NYC, the other is in the heart of Long Island. The Long Island convention is inside of an incredible aviation museum, where artists are tattooing under airplanes from world wars! Talk about great backgrounds for your pictures; it's unreal. This show concentrates more on other forms of art also, like it's live graffiti happening all weekend long out front of the show. We also have many live mural artists flown in from around the world. Yet the NYC show is inside a casino; what can be cooler than this? This show has an amazing stage for our performers of freak shows and burlesque. Yet, be sure to save your money up for a tattoo from one of the super talented artists at the show, and don't blow it all in the casino. [laughs]
Jackie: Another huge difference is that our Flight shows at the Cradle of Aviation are very family friendly; we welcome all ages and have a lot of kids activities, whereas our Casino show is a more grown-up 18 and over show.
I know how much work putting on a three day convention entails. It's not an enormous money maker and you're not going to get much sleep. Why do you do it exactly?
Lou: For the love of the art of tattooing! It's not just a family business that I grew up in, it's a passion. Every day of my life is around tattoos, and I wouldn't ask for anything else! I live for this art and love to be the one who is able to bring all these amazing tattoo artists right here to NY for everyone to see and appreciate what tattooing has become today!
Jackie: We enjoy bringing our industry to the public, showing people that the tattoo industry is a very friendly place where we combine art, fun, and entertainment for almost everyone.
Lou, you're always flying all over the world. Where are your favorite places to visit?
I love Italy. That's number one on my list. Being Italian American of course the food, the vibe, the feeling of Italy is just amazing for me. My second choice is Asia. I love the Asian culture. it's super interesting to me that so much is so different than what we are used to. Of course eating all the very different foods keeps us intrigued.
Jackie, besides just great tattoo artists, what else will the audience get to see if they come to Resorts World March 31st-April 2nd?
One thing we do every year is our art gallery curated by Sara Blades. Artists from all types of mediums display, sell, or auction off work for charity. We have Vincent Castiglia whose fine arts paintings are done entirely in.... blood. Yep, that's what I said. Blood. We also have an artist that works on a three-day salt mandala, only to destroy it on Sunday. We have body painters, live fusion artists. We also have our different entertainment all weekend, ranging from burlesque with Raquel Reed, Italian tattoo artist who also does a mind-blowing illusionist act, bands, and our contests, such as the tattoo and art contests, and our Ms. United Ink contest hosted by international tattoo model Bernadette Macias.