MIDLOTHIAN — According to a recent study conducted by 501c nonprofit Heal the World, the percentage of American adults with at least one tattoo is about 42 percent. With over 21,000 tattoo parlors in the United States, there is, presumably, at least double that number of tattoo artists.
The numbers make it safe to assume that tattoos are quickly becoming one of the most fascinating and polarizing topics across the country. From countless television shows depicting reality competitions between expert and amateur tattoo artists also on the rise, the talents of the artists that do not get the chance to showcase their work and achieve the recognition for their dedication to the craft is also on the climb.
All of which makes it perfect timing for Midlothian residents Chanler Hobbs and Charles Chapman.
The two Midlothian-raised tattoo artists are making their names known around the state at the Ink Masters’ Tattoo Expo. Hobbs has built his business at Urban’s Tattoo Studio in Arlington, while Chapman, a freelance tattoo artist, features his work at a variety of different studios. Both have also recently made their rounds at the various expos in Texas, which culminated in early February when the two shared a booth at the Ink Masters’ Expo in College Station.
“It’s basically a collective of people that fly in from all around the world to do this tour. [...] Everyone has their own category that they tattoo through the weekend and we all compete to win awards. It’s a big collaboration of a lot of amazing artists,” Hobbs said.
Hobbs also explained that the Ink Masters’ Expo tour is recognized nationally and around the world with the artists coming from all over the world to show off their work.
In College Station, Chapman finished atop the division for his work in the “medium color” field and Hobbs placed with his work in tattoo cover-up.
Hobbs will hit the road again when he attends the next session of the Ink Masters expos, this time in Killeen from March 24-26, where he is up for several awards in the “large realistic,” “large cover-up,” “medium color,” and “medium traditional” divisions.
In order for Hobbs to take home the award for his cover-up work, he must bring a picture of the tattoo on the client beforehand so that the judges can see the process of the cover up job.
Hobbs said he specializes in realism and neo-traditional tattoos. He described realism tattoos as a work that resembles a portrait, while neo-traditional tattoos tend to blend the line between past and modern tattoo work with the usage of heavily bolded lines.
Hobbs assured he would also attend the next two shows in Beaumont and New Braunfels in April and early July, respectively. Hobbs also said he is attempting to snag awards in all of the same categories across each of the expos during the Texas tour.
According to its website, The Ink Masters’ Tour features anywhere from 150-200 artists, who tattoo throughout the weekend on patrons in attendance. Those tattoos are then judged throughout the day.
The website for the Urban Tattoo Studio, where Hobbs operates, states it offers a relaxed and high-end atmosphere, with flat screen TVs, leather sofas, two seating areas, outdoor smoking, fresh drinks and a variety of professional artists to answer any questions that you might have.
“We provide a drama-free, drug-free, gang-free environment you can feel comfortable bringing your family to,” the website states.