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Photo Essay: Skin used as lifelong canvas of fine art

Life painted with art filled the Wisconsin Center and flowed into the streets of downtown over the September 15 weekend as the annual Milwaukee Tattoo Arts Convention celebrated its 8th year.

The show featured more than 300 of the finest artisans in the industry who performed tattooing live at the event, along with carnival-style sideshows, modern burlesques performers, and vendors with exotic jewelry, rare collectibles, and tattoo memorabilia.

Contestants, winners, and finalists from Spike TV’s hit series Ink Master appeared and tattooed all weekend at the Milwaukee Tattoo Arts Convention, as well as tattoo industry reality stars from Best Ink, Tattoo Nightmares and Black Ink Crew.

This photo essay features highlights from the event, showcasing contemporary artists that work in the body modification trade of tattooing, and members of the public who choose to host their bodies as a lifelong canvas of fine art.

About The Author

Lee Matz

A Milwaukee native, Lee worked internationally for years as an award-winning foreign photojournalist based in Asia. He was also Wisconsin's first war correspondent to report from Ukraine in 2022. Lee proudly uses MCTS as the exclusive mode of transportation for covering all his local news assignments.