After two straight hours of drawing, Sam D’Amico decided to take a break from his canvas.
As he got up and walked away, so did his canvas.
Emily Record’s bare thigh was dressed loosely in plastic wrap to prevent the freshly inked appendage from being disturbed as she navigated the tattoo expo at the Saratoga Springs City Center on Sunday. Her homage to the alternative metal band Otep was only slightly more than half done, but already taking shape: An anime woman brandishing a gun in one hand and the head of Richard Nixon clutched in the other.
“I can’t wait,” said Record, a Ballston Spa resident. “I can’t wait to see it.”
The tattoo was the sixth and final job for D’Amico, a tattoo artist employed at Union Ink in Schenectady, over his three days working the expo. For artists, the expo is more about showing what they can do with an ink pen, not how many tattoos they can finish.
“I’ve done some big ones, too,” he said.
Cassandra Clark of SpOo’s Artistic Creations in Johnstown did even fewer. She stopped after finishing the second of two major jobs Friday and Saturday, content to display her work to prospective clients.
Her work included a custom-drawn tattoo she did for a client who solicited her during last year’s expo. The woman loved her first tattoo enough that she sought out Clark for her second work, the face of a Native American woman with elements harkening to her German and Irish heritage.
Clark said the tattoo was grueling — almost non-stop work for almost nine hours — but the result was worth it. She proudly displayed a picture of the woman’s shoulder with the completed tattoo.
The tattoo was also Clark’s last work of the weekend. As other artists buzzed on around her, she was content to simply take names for future work.
“It’s great for advertising your business and making new appointments,” she said.
Now in its third year at the City Center, the tattoo expo draws roughly 80 different businesses, most with a pair of tattoo artists. The expo features some of the top talent from around the nation and gives people a chance to shop for the artist they like the most.
“There are a lot of very famous, well-known tattoo artists here from around the country,” said Bill Lawyer, one of the expo’s coordinators.
And the tattoo artists filling the city center this weekend didn’t seem to have a shortage of work. Just about every booth had at least one person getting inked.
Others contented themselves with the Elvis Presley impersonator belting out tunes throughout the day. Live entertainment is a hallmark of the expo — an outlet for people to watch while their friend gets inked or just a sound to break up the chorus of humming tattoo machines.
Lawyer, whose grandfather founded Spaulding & Rogers Manufacturing in Voorheesville, estimated roughly 3,000 people attended the expo this year. He said the talent coming to the expo seems to jump up another notch each year.
“The work coming out of this room today is just phenomenal,” he said.