Harrison County

Crowds, colorful creations at tattoo convention in Biloxi

JUSTIN MITCHELL/SUN HERALD 
 Billy Jordan, who works at The Bell Rose in Daphne, Ala., tattoos a client at Due South Tattoo Expo in Biloxi on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016.
JUSTIN MITCHELL/SUN HERALD Billy Jordan, who works at The Bell Rose in Daphne, Ala., tattoos a client at Due South Tattoo Expo in Biloxi on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016.

BILOXI -- As the band played on stage, faint sounds of buzzing tattoo guns could still be heard from dozens of artists' booths at Due South Tattoo Expo inside the Golden Nugget Casino Grand Ballroom on Sunday.

The convention, hosted by Ocean Springs tattoo artist Matt Stebly of Twisted Anchor Tattoo and Gallery, was packed all weekend.

"We had more people walk through the door by 5 p.m. on Friday than we did the whole whole weekend last year," Stebly said. "It's been great."

The second annual expo ran so smoothly, Stebly had time to get a new tattoo on his calf. Artist Dave Tevenal, who works in New York and Ohio, inked on Stebly a fiery feline.

"Some sort of big, ferocious, fighter pilot cat," Stebly said.

He expected Sunday to be a slow day, but his predictions were wrong. Doors opened at noon, and about 130 entered in the first hour.

"I've gotten nothing but excellent feedback," he said.

The stage was filled with live, local entertainment throughout the weekend. Artists set up booths to sell their paintings, prints and merchandise.

Crooked Letter Brewery also unveiled a new brew for the convention, Red Tide.

"The beer was great. We've run out of it every day," Stebly said.

Christina Jackson, event coordinator for Due South, said the convention has been busy.

"It seems like we definitely have more artists who are continuously keeping their chairs filled," she said. "It's been really great."

Jackson said she's also seen some stellar tattoos -- and unique artwork -- leaving the convention.

Stebly also credited the casino with helping make the event successful.

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