Find your missing ink at the 25th annual Motor City Tattoo Expo

Staff Pick


  • Mike Dionne

According to a 2018 survey, more than 46% of Americans have at least one tattoo — be it a regretful past lover’s name, a tribal armband, or a mishmash of Chinese characters that absolutely do not translate to “serenity.”

Or, maybe you’ve spent the equivalent of a down payment on a house to festoon your back with a full-color tat of a tiger fighting a lion in a volcano in space surrounded by Looney Tunes characters wearing a jersey by your favorite Red Wings player and some Roman numerals of the birthdays of your step-kids. Or, if you’re a Metro Times staffer, a Damien Rice lyric you got when you were engaged to a bridge troll at 22. Ouch.

OK, not all tattoos are bound to become a pending regret, and anyway, America is both the land of the free and land of the inked. For 25 years, the Motor City Tattoo Expo has honored the weird, wonderful, and intricate beauty of permanent body art and the many insanely talented, needle-wielding artists who commit our boldest visions to flesh. This year, the expo returns to the RenCen with a weekend of contests, certification classes, seminars, and more than 300 acclaimed tattoo artists, including Kelly Dotty, Liz Cook, Myke Chambers, Remember, Carl Grace, Big Ceeze, Big Gus, and Bob Tyrrell, all ready to stick it to you.

The event begins at noon on Friday, Feb. 28, and 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 29, and Sunday, March 1 at the Detroit Marriott at Renaissance Center; 400 Renaissance Center Dr., Detroit;; Single-day passes are $20; weekend passes are $45.

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