For thousands of years, people have put permanent markings on their bodies. The markings have served status symbols, signs of religious beliefs, commemorations and even sometimes punishments.

And for those who wanted to get that something personal forever imprinted on them, the Central Texas Lowbrow Art and Tattoo Convention at the Harker Heights Event Center in Harker Heights was just the place to do so.

The convention, held from Sept. 14-16, featured 135 tattoo artists. Some of the tattoo artists were from the local area and others were from distant areas including Mexico, Mexico City, Virginia and California.

“Killeen has a lot of tattoo shops and I wanted to offer a venue to bring artists together as well as bring in artists from different areas,” said David Robert Gutierrez, owner and organizer of the convention.

The tattoo artists were available and equipped to give tattoos on the spot during the convention.

“Sometimes, there are waiting lists anywhere from six months to a year to get a tattoo by some of these artists,” Gutierrez said. “But during the convention, people don’t have to wait that long.”

For Morgan Tolles, 20, taking advantage of the artists from various locations proved to be successful.

“I have seven tattoos now,” Tolles said. “I went to Killeen tattoo shops before, and then I decided to come here. I like how diverse the tattoo artists are and the many different types of art.”

Tolles had an Anime scene tattooed on her leg while at the convention.

And for tattoo artists, the convention helped them to meet clientele they would not normally encounter.

“It is a different group of people in this area — people who typically would never come in your shop,” said Weldon Lewis, a tattoo artist with Mr. Lucky’s Tattoo in San Antonio. “Here, I might do more military-styled tattoos.”

Lewis’ passion for tattooing began at the age of 20.

“I was going to school for advertising art and getting tattooed at the same time,” Weldon said. “I wanted to do something where I would be drawing all the time.”

For those who weren’t ready to have a piece of art permanently inked on their bodies, different types of art was available for purchase — paintings, drawings, hats, shirts and jewelry.

“I like the art here and the fact people can purchase original pieces,” Gutierrez said.

Like tattooing, the convention is here to stay as it is held annually.

For more information about the art and tattoo convention, visit the Central Texas Lowbrow Art & Tattoo Convention Facebook page.

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