Photo Gallery: Tattoo and Body Art Expo

POMONA - Kids like tattoos too.

Children and tots were a conspicuous part of the crowds Sunday at the Tattoo and Body Art Expo at Fairplex.

The youngsters looked at trinkets laid out on exhibitors' tables and waited, sometimes impatiently, as their parents made purchases.

"Yeah, I see a lot more parents with their kids here," said Vincent Huerta of Anaheim, who was assisting tattoo artist Luis Gonzalez as he consulted with a mother who was getting a tattoo on her forearm as her young son and daughter watched. "The kids getting tattoos are younger, too. They turn 18 and they go get inked."

What only a few years ago was reserved mostly for men living on the fringe of polite society has increasingly gained acceptance.

"I consider it art," said Nereyda Lopez, 37, of San Gabriel, who was at the expo with husband Anthony and their son, Anthony Jr., 12, and daughter, Alexis, 10. Alexis was sporting a temporary henna tattoo of a flower on her forearm.

"I don't discourage my kids from getting tattoos when they're 18 - I just tell them to make sure it has real meaning and to never get a girl's or guy's name," Lopez laughed. "They're just asking for trouble."

Chris "Big Chris" Wood of Tempe, Ariz., was selling his art and helping design tattoos for a friend, Bobby Moss.

Moss has been tattooing for more than a decade and for him, slinging ink is a family affair. His wife Heather and his mother both tattoo.

At conventions, Wood will often have consultations with a customer and Moss and create a unique design for the customer.

"This way no other person will have that unique art," Wood said.

Others, though, want a specific piece of art for their tattoo.

R.J. Koch, 22, of Santa Clarita chose artist Manuel Flowers to recreate the cover art of the album "You Can't Take it with You" from the band As Tall as Lions.

"This is one of the most complex tattoos I've done," said Flowers, who also hails from Tempe, Ariz. "I mean look at those lines and the colors. It's going to look good."

Many up-and-coming artists looked at the three-day expo as a way to make their name known.

"I do my own art," said Eli Sanchez of Palm Desert as he pointed to detailed ink and pen drawings of detailed and complex grim reapers and skulls on a table. "Right now I want to get a little more recognition and build on that."

The expo, billed as the largest body art exposition in the world, also held contests for best tattoos, including best portrait, best black and gray, best color and for best piercing.


Reach Beatriz via email, call her at 909-386-3921, or find her on Twitter @IEBeatriz.