Tattoo artist Scott McMahon sports a light manner and, hopefully, an even lighter touch.
“You do know I’m not going to feel a thing,” he said Friday, needling Barry Gehosky, 57, of Johnstown, who settled in for his first-ever tattoo.
“That’s not necessarily true,” Gehosky sparred back with an implied threat.
Gehosky was the first customer to brave the Tattoo Expo set up at the Pasquerilla Conference Center.
Eight vendors from across the country have set up shop there as part of Thunder in the Valley, offering cosmetic and artistic tattooing as well as piercings.
Gehosky’s arm was getting marked up with an image of two eagles soaring over a mountain.
“It’s pretty cool,” Gehosky said as McMahon began work on the $350 tattoo. “It’s just something I always wanted to do.”
He said he wanted to get body art off his bucket list, leaving riding his motorcycle in each state still to do.
Gehosky even passed on a shot of whiskey – liquid courage – available at the lobby bar.
“If you can’t do this sober, you shouldn’t do this when you’re drunk,” Gehosky said.
Visions of “The Hangover.”
Joe Peterson of Zaza Ink of Boston said Thunder in the Valley sponsors had heard of the tattoo and art festival he hosts in Massachusetts with up to 150 artists. They asked if he would put together some folks from that show for a trip to Johnstown.
If this weekend works out, he said, he’ll line up even more vendors next year.
Peterson said abstract art is one of the newer trends, but, “As wide a range as you can see in artists, you can see in tattooing.”
Keri “Righty” McDaniel and her husband, Lefty, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, run Lefty’s Tattoo.
He said the tattooists are a community, and they see each other at various shows after stopping back home for a little R&R. “We’re all friends,” he said.
McDaniel was looking forward to a successful weekend.
He said inking up to a dozen tattoos a day – 36 for the three-day expo – would make the event worthwhile for him and his wife. Tattooing will be available again from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. today and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
Back at the Sticky’s Tattoo area, Gehosky glanced up at the chuckling McMahon.
Gehosky: “What’s he laughing at?”
McMahon: “Eagle? I thought he said beagle.”