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Twin Cities Tattoo Festival kicks off for the first time in St. Paul this weekend; includes local artists

Minnesota’s premier tattooing event will take place the weekend of July 14-16.

ST PAUL, Minn. — "I do a lot of black and gray illustrative, lady faces," said Ashley Dahl, a popular tattoo artist at Black Sheep Tattoo and Collective in St. Paul. "That’s my favorite thing to tattoo — kind of dark and creepy.

Dahl says her team opened the shop on Oct. 31, 2019. "Me and my boyfriend found out we were pregnant and knew we wanted to do something for ourselves instead of working for other people," she said.

What started off as just a dream, turned into a passion project – and a chance to defy the odds.

"Me, personally, I was about 15 and I’ve always been artistic, and I knew I wanted to do something with art, and I didn’t know what to do realistically instead of just doing art," she said. "When I was 18, I started looking for an apprenticeship. I think a lot of people said I wouldn’t be able to do it because I only have one hand. And you need to be able to stretch the skin to tattoo. I kept pushing and saying, 'I think I can do it,' and said, 'Someone give me a shot,' and now seven or eight years later, someone did," she said.

Now, Ashley and her team of artists are a few of several local artists featured at the upcoming Twin Cities Tattoo Festival, taking place for the first time at St. Paul RiverCentre this weekend.

The festival will host over 200 tattoo artists exhibiting their work and competing in contests spanning 15 categories. Nationally and internationally recognized artists will be set up for the public to browse and collect tattoos.

"It's the first time it’s going to be here, and we’re really excited about it. It’s here in St. Paul, we’re here in St. Paul," she said. "Being able to be a part of the first show is exciting.”

Showcasing her love of the arts, she’s now sharing advice for others with big dreams.

"If it doesn’t scare you, it’s not worth it. It’s terrifying at times, and people doubting you does make you doubt yourself, and if you know it’s something you can do, got to keep trying," said Dahl.

The Twin Cities Tattoo Festival, Minnesota’s premier tattooing event, will take place the weekend of July 14-16.  

Artists have already started booking in advance, but plenty of them will be accepting walk-up tattoos. The festival also features vendors ranging from oddities to clothing and makers of all kinds. This event is open to the public and family-friendly.

The Twin Cities Tattoo Festival is presented by Tattoo Fest and the Explorer Tattoo Conference – the world’s largest educational tattoo conference.

For more information, visit the link here.

To find out more about Black Sheep Tattoo and Art Collective, visit its website here.


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