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Palm Springs Tattoo Convention celebrates ancient form of expression

Published On: Jul 12 2014 07:56:35 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 12 2014 10:42:35 PM CDT

Palm Springs Tattoo Convention celebrates ancient form of expression. Natalie Brunell has the story.

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -

"You know the saying a picture is worth a thousand words? a tattoo is the same way," said Justin Broughton of Twentynine Palms.

Tattoos seem to be everywhere.  Once associated with sailors and gang members, now about one in five Americans has at least one.

"I feel it's now getting appreciated in the art world instead of being looked down upon," said Rob Hill, who has a booth at the Palm Springs Tattoo Convention for his shop, Ventura Tattoo.

People have marked their bodies with tattoos for thousands of years. The permanent designs are sometimes simple, sometimes intricate, but almost always personal.

"It stands for wings of freedom and after deployment in Afghanistan I became really patriotic," Broughton said of one of his five tattoos.

"I am of Hispanic culture and it represents my grandma when she passed away," said Jessica Gomez of San Bernardino who has eight tattoos.

"It gives me a way to express my inside and let people know what I'm connecting to," said Bobbie Brown of Yucca Valley.

The most popular tattoos at the convention vary between men and women. Women prefer floral designs and Day of the Dead faces, for men skulls top the list.

"It has an angel wing and a demon wing, it means we both have a good side and an evil side," Broughton said of his skull tattoo.
 
Even though you can turn your skin into a canvas right here at this exhibition these artists say think, before you ink.  Tattoos aren't easy or cheap to remove. 

In fact, one-third of people wish they could undo at least one of their tattoos.

"When I was young it was like let's get a tattoo! Now I'm like, why did I do that?" Gomez said, adding she regrets a few of her tattoos.