Despite the pandemic, tattoo artists say their business has never been better
CINCINNATI – For Vincent Dibiaso and his wife Amanda, tattooing is a family affair. They spend their days creating works of art and experiencing with people that will last forever.
Vincent is an artist and Amanda is a store manager at Hive Tattoo Collective. Both are co-owners of the new location in West Chester Township.
“I do everything but the tribe,” Vincent said.
Not so long ago, tattooing was taboo but over the past few decades it has become a huge global industry. And over the past few years, growth has skyrocketed despite the pandemic.
“Isolation just makes (people) really want to express themselves,” says Vincent. “I think it just adds to the creative side of people.”
Vincent added that for two months at the start of COVID-19 when stores were forced to close, he had people texting him constantly because of work. And the rush still refused to let go.
“My books have been full since then,” he said. “We don’t have a slow winter season like we usually do. “
Hoping to grow their business and become even more famous in the industry, Vincent and Amanda made the last-minute decision to attend the Tattoo Conference last weekend at the Duke Energy Convention Center. It was a decision that paid off because even before the doors opened, most of Vincent’s weekends were booked.
He’s just one of more than 300 tattoo artists from around the world who have traveled to downtown Cincinnati to tattoo non-stop for three days.
One of the main attractions of the conference is a world famous artist with the name “Penny Boy”.
“If you’re a tattoo artist, people think you’re a rock star, especially when you travel,” he says.
Penny Boy grew up in Milan, Italy. He’s been tattooing for 15 years, and for about a decade, he’s traveled the world, taking his artwork with him everywhere he goes.
“I’m just losing myself in what I’m doing,” he said.
Last weekend was Penny Boy’s first visit to The Queen City, yet his DM was flooded with requests from Cincinnati people wanting a chance to experience his unique traditional tattooing style.
“In Cincinnati, I get a lot of requests. Like crazy requests. Everyone likes my style,” he said. “They don’t care what the price is.”
Penny Boy says that while Cincinnati has been particularly good to him, the tattoo craze is an international phenomenon. Since the COVID-19 travel lockdown ended, in every country he visited, there were a lot of people wanting a tattoo like he’d never seen it before.
“Honestly, I knew this was going to happen,” he said. “Every time you close someone in a cage, admit that when you open that cage, they just start running. They just start to be happy and run away. “
Donahue and Zach Buckwald, agree. Both traveled from the Cleveland area to get work done at the convention.
“It’s kind of an itch. I feel like during the lockdown you have nothing to do. So everything you watch you just get more ideas,” Tay said.
She has always loved tattoos but she says that after quarantine she just goes to work. Now, she has one arm completely covered in art and is slowly working with the rest of her body.
Zach just finished half a decade of service in the Marines. He was serving when COVID-19 hit and says most of his downtime with friends when they’re not on duty is spent sharing ideas. And it’s exciting because now they’re able to turn those ideas into reality.
“It’s like man, go out and do this. We’ve got a plan for this, we’ve got the funds to do it,” he said. it is making up for it now. “
There are countless reasons why people decide to get a tattoo. The artwork has been around for millions of years, and it’s clear that it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
“So great. Penny Boy says: “Tattoos help people accept themselves if they weren’t there before and it gives people strength and confidence,” he added.
“Most jobs these days are pretty cool and that’s a great thing. Vincent said it’s less demonized and people are more open about it. “I think it’s the younger generation getting into senior management jobs and they’re less stigmatized about it.”
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