Inked goes big

LIHU‘E — Mothers, grandfathers and art lovers were among the two dozen people rolling up their sleeves and taking off their shirts to show off their tattoos at Inked Hawai‘i Saturday.

The event, which marked the first time Kaua‘i hosted a tattoo convention, was at the Kaua‘i Memorial Convention Hall.

Attendees signed up to compete in 25 different categories, which ranged from best back piece to best fantasy tattoo.

Sheena Galbraith of ‘Oma‘o was named Ms. Ink and Mark Sirianni of Princeville was named Mr. Ink.

“I wanted to get with epic fantasy,” Sirianni said of his “Star Wars”-themed sleeve, which won him the title. “I’m a big ‘Star Wars’ fan. It will make uncle George proud.”

Sirianni took home awards for Best Color Award Male and Best Fantasy Tattoo. He plans on filling his other arm with KISS-inspired ink.

“I want a total 70s theme,” he added while praising the work  tattoo artist Garrett of Kapu Tattoo did on his arm.

Galbraith, who readers met in The Garden Island Newspaper column Inked a few weeks ago, took home the title of Miss Ink along with an award for Female Best Portrait.

Among her dozens of tattoos, which include a life-like portrait of Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe, Galbraith’s latest ink is of a pair of laced up ribbons on the back of her calves.

The event was organized by Tina Balai, who runs a tattoo calendar company.

“I love the art,” she said.

Balai said she got her first tattoo seven years ago of a rose on her shoulder. Today, her skin  is 85 percent inked.

“Some people like to wear their feelings on the inside. I like to wear it on the outside,” Balai said. “I have every emotion on my body.”

Balai was driven to organize a tattoo convention on Kaua‘i because she wanted people to see that Kaua‘i has beautiful ink.

“I wanted people to come to see that behind each piece of art is a story.”

Jason Lagmay, Ivy Anderson and Angel Balai judged the tattoos, and Moon Lake emceed the event.

With year one in the books, Tina Balai is already looking to next year.

“My goal for next year is a full-blown convention where you can get tattooed.”

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