Scene from a previous tattoo festival produced by Villain Arts. Photo by Carl Murray

More than 130 tattoo artists from Maine and beyond will descend on Brick South at Thompson’s Point this weekend for the Maine Tattoo Arts Festival.

The three-day event is both a showcase of the artists’ work and place to find inspiration for a new tattoo – and maybe even get one on the spot.

But you don’t have to be in the market for new ink to enjoy the festival, where entertainment will include burlesque performer Reggie Bügmüncher, a circus-themed show from James Maltman of Ringling Brothers, and Cenobyte Suspension, whose act involves people being pierced by and hung from large metal hooks. Food will be available from Noble BBQ and Fire & Co., and there will be a bar on site with draft beers, wine, cocktails and non-alcoholic options.

All three days of the festival will feature tattoo contests and showcase some of the day’s best creations.

Some of Chris Dingwell’s tattoo work. Photos courtesy of the artist

“Tattooing has always been very much about helping other people express their own creative vision and helping people develop their own creative vision for themselves,” said Portland tattoo artist Chris Dingwell, who has been tattooing for 30 years and will be showing his work at the festival.

Special guests include Mystical Mike and Anwon Boneface from the Paramount+ tattoo competition show “Ink Master” and, traveling the farthest, Massimiliano Pennella from PennyBoy Tattoo in Italy.


If you’re seriously interested in booking an appointment (and you’re at least 18 years old), head to the artist list section of the festival website and reach out to the individual artists on their websites or Instagram pages.

Some artists will offer walk-in appointments, and others will offer limited-edition flash pieces with designs that they chose beforehand.

The festival is among 30 put on annually by Villain Arts and its Puerto Rico-based owner Troy Timpel, who has been tattooing for 31 years and presenting festivals around the country since the late ’90s.

It’s the second time the festival has come to Maine; last summer, it was held at Cross Insurance Arena. Timpel said he loves the Brick South space, especially because it’s near places like Bissell Brothers Brewing Co. and the International Cryptozoology Museum.

“It keeps growing, and the public’s interest in tattooing has never been stronger,” said Timpel. “Through running these events, we’re able to draw more interest in the medium of tattooing and help people see what tattooing is capable of.”

The festival offers attendees a chance to meet local artists, which can help people interested in their first, or next, tattoo figure out the style of art they want. “You can interact and see who you want to get tattooed by in the future,” Timpel said.

Artist Harley Gray tattooing at the 2023 Portland festival. Photo by Kylee Emerson

Participating artist Harley Gray of Diversified Ink in Bangor has been tattooing for 15 years. As a child, she would draw on her friends’ arms with Sharpies. When she was a 16-year-old student at Bucksport High School, she was part of an arts mentorship program. She looked into art school after graduation but instead got an apprenticeship at Diversified Ink.

At last year’s festival, Gray took home a couple of awards for her work. It’s a different kind of experience to tattoo in a public festival space, Gray said, but she loves it.

“I feel like I excel in a fun and chaotic environment with lots of people, sounds and noise,” she said.

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