Over 100 tattooists gather at the Am-Jam Tattoo Expo

100+ tattooists ink fans at Am-Jam Tattoo Expo

The 33rd annual event featured artistry and competition for upstate fans of skin art, piercings and body modification.
Published: January 28, 2019
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Tattoo artist Marie Jorgensen inks Rob Ford at the AM-JAM Tattoo Expo Saturday in Syracuse.

Just a few hours in a chair can change the way you look forever, and that’s exactly what happened for some adventurous souls this weekend at the annual Am-Jam Tattoo Expo. Take Jeffrey Miner for example; he’s been getting tattooed for half of his life. This Saturday marked his second time at the expo, and his 30-something tattoo.

“There’s a lot more people involved,” Miner explained when referencing the difference between a traditional tattoo parlor and the Am-Jam event. “Everybody is looking around. You get to look and see other artists, see what they bring to the table.”

Over 100 international and locally known artists attended the Ramada Hotel by Carrier Circle to show off their skills in various competitions in front of an array of potential customers. Miner was in Saturday’s “best super heroes” contest.

“This one’s Hellboy,” Miner said while looking down at his quad. “He’s one of my all-time favorites. I’ve got the Hulk already, and I need to do Hellboy.”

“I guess what it is, it’s a way to express yourself,” Miner said. “I always tell people that are really religious or whatever that say your body’s a temple, and all that, I always just tell them I’m hanging pictures on the wall. That’s how I look at it.”

He served four years in the military, and he hopes to eventually add to his collection of skulls and superheroes to convey that part of his story as well.

Jeffrey Miner sits in chair while getting a tattoo at the Am-Jam Tattoo Expo

Jeffrey Miner sits in chair while getting a tattoo at the Am-Jam Tattoo Expo.

Miner was working with an artist from the Element Ink station, a company based in Fulton, NY. He said he’s known the person inking him since he was 12. He described it as a trusting process where he comes up with the design, but allows his friend to have creative freedom with the rest.

Working with artists he didn’t know in the past led to “horrible” results. Moving forward, Miner is doubtful he’ll give unfamiliar tattooists a try. For him, tattoos are a way of conveying a story.