Despite pandemic, tattoo artist says business has never been better

Cincinnati — For Vincent Dibiaso and his wife Amanda, tattoos are a family affair. They spend their days creating artworks and experiences with people that will last forever.

Vincent is an artist and Amanda is a shop manager. Hive Tattoo CollectiveBoth are co-owners of their new location in West Chester Township.

“I do anything but tribal,” said Vincent.

Not long ago, tattooing was taboo, but in recent decades it has become a massive global industry. And over the past few years, growth has skyrocketed despite the pandemic.

“Isolation made[people]really want to express themselves,” Vincent said. “I think it really stimulated everyone’s creative side.”

Vincent added that in the two months that the COVID-19 outbreak began and stores were forced to close, there were people texting non-stop for work. And it’s still going strong.

“Since then, my book has been completely full,” he said.

Hoping to grow their business and gain more prominence in the industry, Vincent and Amanda made a last-minute decision to attend last weekend’s Tattoo Convention at the Duke Energy Convention Center. Even before the doors opened, most of Vincent’s weekend was already booked, so it’s a decision that paid off.

He was just one of more than 300 tattoo artists from all over the world who landed in downtown Cincinnati and got tattooed non-stop for three days.

Photo credit: Christian LeDuc

Artists from the Hive Tattoo Collective joined hundreds of artists from around the world at a tattoo convention in Cincinnati in early September.

One of the highlights of the competition was the world-famous artist known as ‘Pennyboy’.

“If you’re a tattoo artist, people will think you’re a rock star, especially when you’re traveling.

Pennyboy grew up in Milan, Italy. He has been tattooing for his 15 years and has been traveling the world for about 10 years, bringing his artwork with him wherever he goes.

“I’m just into what I do,” he said.

Last weekend, Penny Boy visited the Queen City for the first time, and his DMs were inundated with requests from Cincinnati people to experience his unique take on traditional-style tattoos.

“In Cincinnati, I got a lot of requests. Like crazy requests. Everyone was crazy about my style,” he said. “They don’t care about the price.”

Penny Boy said Cincinnati was especially good for him, but the tattoo craze is an international phenomenon. , there is a surge of people asking for tattoos like he’s never seen before.

“Honestly, I knew this was going to happen,” he said. “Every time you close someone in a cage, sure if you open that cage they just start running. They just start getting happy and run away.”

Tay Donahue and Zach Buckwald agree. Both of them traveled all the way from the Cleveland area to do convention work.

“It’s kind of hard. It feels like there’s nothing to do during lockdown, so everything you see gives you more ideas,” Tay said.

She has always loved tattoos, but after quarantine she said she just did it. Now she has one arm completely covered in art and is slowly working on the rest of her body. increase.

Tay's tattoo.jpg

Photo credit: Christian LeDuc

Tay traveled from the Cleveland area to tattoo artist Nick Wood, who was in town from Omaha, Nebraska for the convention.

Zack has just completed five years of service in the Marine Corps. He was on duty when COVID-19 broke out. He said much of the downtime he spent with friends when he wasn’t at work was spent sharing ideas. And now it’s exciting because they can turn those ideas into reality.

“Hey, it’s like, let’s go out and do this. We’re planning this, we have the funding, so let’s do it,” he said. It makes up for it now. “

Convention photo.jpg

Photo credit: Christian LeDuc

Thousands of tattoo enthusiasts attended the Villain Art Tattoo Convention at the Duke Energy Convention Center in early September.

There are myriad reasons why people decide to get a tattoo. Artwork has been around for millions of years and is clearly not going anywhere anytime soon.

“It’s crazy cool. Tattoos make me feel good,” said Penny Boy. He added that it helps him accept himself in ways he was previously unacceptable, giving him strength and confidence.

“Most of the jobs these days are pretty cool, which is great. It’s less demonized and people are more open about it,” Vincent said. “I think there is less stigma about it as younger generations move into higher management positions.”

Vincent in conviction.jpg

Photo credit: Christian LeDuc

Vincent Dibiaso tattooing a client at the Villain Arts Tattoo Convention in Cincinnati.

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