Next week, you can turn your body into a canvas for some of the nation's top tattoo artists. Or, you can simply show up, explore the vendor booths and hear live music. Chicago band Disturbed will bring its "Music as a Weapon" tour to the Civic Center on Wednesday.
Next week, you can turn your body into a canvas for some of the nation's top tattoo artists. Or, you can simply show up, explore the vendor booths and hear live music.
Chicago band Disturbed will bring its "Music as a Weapon" tour to the Civic Center on Wednesday. It starts at 2 p.m. with an outdoor festival.
Heather Vantress, operations manager of the festival, describes it as "a mini Warped Tour" and says there will be vendor booths, a place to design your own tattoo and print it out, live music from Suicide Silence, Spineshank, Bury Your Dead and Crooked X, and "enough to keep you busy for the four hours that the tattoo fest is going on." It's free to attend the festival, but tickets for a 7 p.m. concert by Disturbed, Killswitch Engage, Lacuna Coil and Chimaira are $39.75, on sale at the Civic Center box office, Ticketmaster outlets and by phone at (309) 676-8700.
Ahead of the event, we spoke with Oliver Peck, a renowned tattoo artist who has been featured on TLC's "Miami Ink" and MTV's "Bam's Unholy Union."
"If you're interested in getting a tattoo at all, it's worth coming out to the show, to see the artists work," said Peck, who will be showing off his skills at the event. "Even if you don't have any but you're thinking of getting them, you can see how people deal with it and get insight into it before you take the plunge yourself."
Peoria Journal Star: What kinds of artwork are your customers looking for?
OLIVER PECK: Some people have a specific idea and some people just want a certain style. So I'll look at what else they have and see what will go well with what they have. Pretty much what I do is considered traditional Americana stuff - turn-of-the-century sailors, and military and folk art. A lot of patriotic tattoos, a lot of eagles and skulls and hearts and anchors, stuff like that. Or banners that have words - family names, or military slogans.
PJS: What is the first step? If I showed up wanting a tattoo, how would you guide me?
PECK: First of all, you want to find out how big of a tattoo you want and what types of stuff you like already. Usually if someone has no tattoos and they don't really know what they want, then we generally try to get them to think about it and make a decision. Because the removal process is not really 100 percent, and it's more expensive and painful than getting a tattoo.
PJS: What was your first tattoo? How old were you?
PECK: I was 17, and I did it on myself. I did a moon and star on my ankle from a skateboard graphic in the late '80s. It's still there today. My body suit - my tattoos - are complete; no cover-ups and no removals. Some tattoos, I have stuff in my mom's name, stuff from certain artists that were my favorite and I said, "Do whatever." It's my favorite art medium. There are a lot of artist that I really like, and a lot of them are also painters so I've picked images out of their paintings.
PJS: For a tattoo artist, is it the ultimate compliment to get a customer who says 'Do whatever'?
PECK: It's pretty cool. When you start out, for the first so many years, you do stuff off what we call flash - the designs on the wall. People come in and want names and little tattoos. You do that for a few years, but definitely your aspiration is to do your own art.
PJS: What's the longest you've ever worked on a tattoo?
PECK: Nine hours. And that's a pretty intense gig to sit through. I've been tattooed for eight hours. I hardly have (any spots on my body) bigger than a silver dollar left. But I'm really happy with my choices so far. It's really painful - I love having them, but I hate getting them.
If you're getting a little tattoo on an easy spot, that's not that bad - it takes 15 minutes to an hour. When you're getting a whole side panel of your body done - down your ribs or back - you have to sit for a long time. It gets pretty excruciating. I've been in motorcycle wrecks, skateboarding accidents, I've broken bones, and getting a tattoo is the most painful thing I've ever done. But if it's worth having there's going to be some sort of payout to get it.
PJS: What's it cost?
PECK: Most tattoo shops have a minimum, and it's usually between $40 and $60 - that's something very small that would take 30 minutes or less. Most of the more experienced tattoo artists will charge between $100 and $200 an hour.
PJS: Any advice for people ahead of getting a tattoo?
PECK: I would say the most important thing is to research the tattoo you're getting, because certain images have certain meanings. Certain symbols - a skull with wings - is a very prominent insignia of a very large motorcycle gang. So people could get in a bad situation over having it visible on their arm.
And research the person who is doing the tattoo; look at all their work. I usually tell people, you should get an artist recommendation. See what you like on other people and find out who did it. Make sure you're satisfied with their work. There are a lot of tattoo artists out there that misrepresent themselves. Just because there's a sign out front that says "Tattoo" doesn't mean you'll get a good one.
Danielle Hatch can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go
What: Grammy-nominated hard rock band Disturbed's "Music as a Weapon IV Tour," featuring vendors, tattoo artists, an extreme sports complex with motocross, BMX and skate teams, a technology and gaming zone.
When: 2 p.m. Wednesday.
Where: Peoria Civic Center.
Cost: Free to attend the festival. A 7 p.m. concert in the Civic Center arena will feature Disturbed, Killswitch Engage, Lacuna Coil and Chimaira. Tickets for the show are $39.75 at the Civic Center box office, all Ticketmaster outlets and online at Ticketmaster.com, or by calling (800) 745-3000.