Tattoo expo

The "Ink Master" reality TV show is coming to Fairbanks Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the form of a tattoo expo at Westmark Hotel, 813 Noble St.

Tattoo artists from the reality TV series “Ink Master” are in Fairbanks this weekend for a three-day event that’s all about the buzz.

The artists are part of the Fairbanks Tattoo Expo, a first-time event hosted by “Ink Master.” It will feature contests similar to what’s on the TV show, tattoo exhibits and chances to meet stars of the show. It’s being brought to Fairbanks by Ray Hernandez, who created both the TV show and the expo.

“Some people can’t travel out of state to see these artists,” Hernandez said. “What I do, I bring all these shops from the show.”

“Ink Master” is a competitive reality TV series, now in its 12th season, airing on Paramount Network. It features tattoo artists of various skill levels who compete in challenges. Contestants are eliminated one by one until a victor remains. 

“It’s kind of like a learning lesson,” Hernandez said via phone from Anchorage, where he just wrapped up an an expo. “If you want to see what a tattoo is about, this is the place.”

He’s put on several shows in Anchorage, and each time Hernandez said he’s had requests from guests urging him to bring the show and expo to Fairbanks. He and his team started looking at venues in Interior Alaska and settled on Westmark because of its size and location, he said. The expo itself will feature 50 booths and 100 tattoo artists, with artists from the show as well as local tattooers. About 70 percent of the sittings are already booked, Hernandez said.

“It all happened because a customer said, ‘You should do Fairbanks,’” he said. “We’re getting a lot of good response from the public. They’re excited for us to be there.”

The art of the tattoo has come a long way in recent years, Hernandez said, moving away from the outlaw image and into the realm of artistry. It’s a changing of the times from older generations, he said, and there’s a market for the craft across the United States.

The No. 1 tattoo for Alaskans? The aurora.

“We’ve had a lot of people request the northern lights,” Hernandez said. “Everything has a meaning behind it. Even if you don’t want a tattoo, come learn about them.”

The Fairbanks Tattoo Expo is Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Westmark Hotel, 813 Noble St.

Contact Features Editor Gary Black at 459-7504 or on Twitter at

If You GO

What: Fairbanks Tattoo Expo, hosted by “Ink Master” reality TV show, featuring artists from the series, giveaways and tattoo opportunities

Where: Westmark Hotel, 813 Noble St.

When: 1:30-11 p.m. Friday; 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday; 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday

Cost: $20 per day or a three-day pass is available for $35, available at the door, cash only