Is it the custom of the church that if you don’t get one before 10 a.m. Saturday, you have to wait until 9 the next morning to get one? Is it a matter of some kind of religious or economic imperative for Catholics to get a tattoo now that the Vatican is giving away all its unused tattoos for the year? These questions and many more could well be answered next week at the International Tattoo Congress in Seattle.
The Congress runs from Thursday to Sunday at the historic Hotel Capitol Hill. The event will offer an exhibition by local tattoo artists, seminars on topics like religion and culture, a free food court, an exhibit called “Laws of the Past,” discussions on tattoo etiquette, and hands-on workshops on skin healing and body piercing. The Seattle edition will feature an annual award for artistic excellence from the King County Tattoo Expo.
For the first time, the event will feature a booth by Michael Gee, a former pastor at a nondenominational church in Seattle, whose new tattoo practice, Healing Spaces, is taking off in the Seattle market. In June, Gee posted on his website about his plans to tattoo a number of women in the area on their arms and back.
In November 2015, Gee took part in the International Tattoo Congress in Berlin. At that event, he and a group of people asked for tattoos, and many came for free tattoos. So to speak. Gee said his next goal is to start this type of project in Seattle.
“I’d like to see it as a local thing, maybe in Chinatown or Ballard or the Pioneer Square area,” he said.
In April, Gee was invited to speak at the International Tattoo Congress in Melbourne, Australia, where he spoke about the importance of social media and the power of tattoos to express oneself. He also touched on tattoos’ cultural and physical meanings, such as tattoos with the cross or a swastika.
Gee got his first tattoo when he was 2 years old, and his sister took it off about 10 years ago. Now he’s getting a new one and hopes it will express his identity, he said.
“The way I see it, this is a tattoo as a gift from God, but I don’t look at it as a badge of honor, like a religious or ethnic or caste,” Gee told the audience at the London Expo last week. “To me it’s much more like a statement of identity and as much as it means
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