“But what is shape? Only a cup for the blazing soul that God provides us all.” ― Ray Bradbury, The Illustrated Man

Philadelphia-based tattoo convention organizers, Villain Arts, returned to America’s Dairyland for the 8th year to host their traveling tattoo arts event over the September 15 weekend.

The Milwaukee Tattoo Arts Convention hosted hundreds of the finest professional tattooers, tattoo memorabilia, and a curiosity-themed carnival of sideshow performers. The sprawling exhibition has produced annual appearances nationwide for more than two decades. This year Villain Arts added four major cities to its annual convention circuit, including Houston, Denver, and Miami.

Hundreds of internationally renowned tattoo artists presented rare and unusual merchandise for subculture enthusiasts and tattoo art collectors. The Villain Arts Convention included a number of appearances by celebrities from movies and reality-TV tattoo competitions, like Ink Master, Best Ink, and Tattoo Nightmares. Visiting artist seminars for professionals in the tattoo industry was also a feature at the Milwaukee show, and included topics on social media and marketing, tattoo application techniques for working artists, and Q&As with longtime tattooers and legends in the business.

According to extensive 2016 study conducted by the University of Miami School of Business Administration, having a tattoo has no impact on an individual’s employment or earnings. After factoring for personal traits like education, behavioral choices, human capital, and lifestyle factors, the researchers found no significant difference in the way people with tattoos are treated in the workplace than those without tattoos.

“Qualitative research shows that tattoos are definitely becoming less taboo and somewhat accepted even in traditional workplaces, especially among younger employees,” said Michael T. French, professor of health sector management and policy at the University of Miami School of Business Administration. “If someone’s main concern about getting tattooed is whether body art will make them less employable or limit their earnings, this research suggests it should not be a major deterrent.”

Since founding the Villain Arts organization, Troy “Tattooed Kingpin” Timpel, has grown the original Philadelphia Tattoo Convention, organized twenty years ago by tattoo legend Crazy Philadelphia Eddie, into a fifteen city and growing national tattoo tour known for drawing upwards of thirty thousand attendees over the three day weekend events.