By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The 15th annual Tattoo Artists Convention kicks off today at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, in center city.

“You’ll see stuff here that you’ll never see in your entire life again,” says organizer Troy Timple.  He says that more than 20,000 ink lovers are expected to attend the conference, which boasts hundreds of artists from as far away as LA and even England, to as close as Eddie’s on South Street.

And he says it’s more than merely tattooing — it’s all things related to the tattoo lifestyle.
“They can come down here, get tattooed, see amazing, death-defying sideshow acts, suspension acts, burlesque, heavily tattooed people,” Timple tells KYW Newsradio.

He says celebrity artists from TV shows such as “LA Ink” and “Ink Masters” will be there.

But if you want a tat, it could cost you anywhere from $100 to $250 an hour, or more.

Edwin is a tattoo artists from LA and says it does hurt, but they help you work through the pain.

“You have to be a little sadistic so you don’t care when they cry,” he says. “I keep going until they say stop.”

History is also a big part of the convention.  Jimmy Skuse (at right in photo) is president of the Bristol Tattoo Club, which he says is the oldest club of its kind in the world.

“Tattoos have been around for centuries,” says Skuse, “and getting together and meeting is what it’s all about.  I brought Paul Rambo from Manchester (England); he has museum and he brought some of his collection.”

“If it wasn’t for the history,” says Rambo (at left in photo), “a lot of these LA Ink rock star tattooists wouldn’t exist.  The history is really important, because if you don’t know where you come from, it’s hard to figure out where you’re going to.  Tattoo is not a new thing.”

Skuse and Rambo say some inventors of tattooing needles and other machinery will also be in attendance.

Tickets cost $20 per day, or $40 for the weekend. The convention runs through Sunday.  For more info, go to or

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