Brooklyn gets inked up
by Andrew Pavia
Jul 02, 2013 | 754 views | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
UTC in Sunset Park
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Brooklyn is well known for not being afraid of doing something different. That’s why when Al Fiction, president of the Urban Tattoo Convention (UTC), was looking for a place to host his fourth annual event he turned to Sunset Park.

Fiction later explained that Urban stands for, Unity Running Beyond All Nations.

UTC took place on Friday, June 28 through Sunday, June 30, featuring artists and vendors from as close as New York City and as far as China.

The first three conventions were in Manhattan, however the popularity of the event made it impossible for the vendors to cram into the space. This event is filled with tattoo artists taking requests, airbrush painters using almost-nude models and tattoo suppliers hawking everything from tattoo guns to ink.

Fiction grew up in the Park Slope and used graffiti as a stepping-stone to finding his way to the tattoo gun. Before becoming a world-renowned tattoo artist and a judge on Spike TV’s ‘Ink Masters’, Fiction explained that it was hard for him to find a place to work because he is black and Hispanic.

“We don’t discriminate against anything,” said Fiction, who would later add that there is a lot of racism that exists in the tattoo industry.

Fiction said Brooklyn was chosen because the hotels were a little cheaper and the venue at the Industrial City complex, located at 233 37th St., had an urban feel to it.

“It’s hard for us to be at the Marriott,” he joked.

“The UTC is different from every other tattoo convention because it feels like a family party,” Fiction explained. “Nobody is judging each other and not talking to each other. It’s one vibe, it’s one love here.”

One tattoo artist who traveled from Maryland to be apart of UTC is Seth Moulden. He drove six hours Friday night to join in on the weekend festivities., and with only three years as a professional tattoo artist, Moulden said that it is important to attend these conventions to get people talking about your work.

“You come to these to get your name out there and to meet people who are trying as hard as you are and to make connections,” Moulden said. “And at this convention, I’ve gotten a lot of really cool pieces.”

Moulden isn’t the only one traveling from out of state to attend UTC.

Fiction estimated that 70 percent of those who come to showcase their work and tattoo attendees are not from the city, and that two vendors came from Brazil and China.

Along with tattooing individuals at the convention, live performances were taking place. There was even a heavy metal group from Brooklyn made up of 12-year-olds on Saturday night.

Face painting was also a fixture at the event and awards were even given out for best and worst tattoos.

So when Fiction chose a place to host his convention, he said he wanted it to reflect what the artists were doing.

“I just think that Brooklyn has a funkier feel to it for the Urban Tattoo Convention,” Fiction said.

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