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Monday, June 8, 2009

Speakeasy with Tom DePriest

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A lot's changed in the world of tattoos since the first Atlanta Tattoo Arts Festival took place 13 years ago. While skin art was still on the societal fringe back then, today there are magazines, TV shows and websites dedicated to tattooing.

Tom DePriest, whose facial tattoos still stand out among an ever-growing tattooed population, has attended every Atlanta Tattoo Arts Festival since its inception. The longtime artist for Sacred Heart Tattoo is now one of the organizers of the convention and practices his craft out of Sacred Heart’s newest location in Chattanooga (where he also helps put on the Chattanooga Tattoo Arts Festival, occurring next month).

DePriest steps away from the ink for a moment to talk about the Atlanta event, taking place June 12-14 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Perimeter.

How would you say this convention has changed with the public’s changing perception of tattooing?

We’ve started to tattoo more and more people in the last couple of years that we normally wouldn’t be tattooing. The public’s curiosity about tattooing and the whole subculture and lifestyle has just exploded. So everybody wants to come see what a tattoo convention’s about and look at different artists from all over the globe and see what kind of tattoos they’re doing. It’s more appreciated as an art form; it’s not just for bikers, sailors, drug addicts, criminals and prostitutes anymore.

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