The Coney Island Tattoo and Motorcycle Festival


The first thing that you notice at the Tattoo and Motorcycle Festival is the sound. The rumble of revving engines comes at you from every angle, starting and stopping like a mechanical chorus. Then there’s the whine of tattoo guns, punctuating the overall ruckus, underscored by the blasting of Nicki Minaj songs. And that’s even before you get to the actual event: a sort of Hells Angels pageant, celebrating gleaming choppers of every make, embellishment, and size. Not to mention the freelance tattoo artists, and the heavily pierced and generally freaky, who were out in full force. There were spiked leather seats and inked portraits of Lady Gaga! There was a little person who mooned us! All this, and more, after the jump.

The trophy winner for the best stock bike takes a victory lap around Surf Avenue.

A particularly fearsome competitor, showing off his motor. Note the fantastic vintage metal helmet.

The impressive array of hogs lined up for the judges’ inspection

For those braver than your humble Flavorwire correspondent: the outdoor tattooing booth.

Little Jimmy, the master of ceremonies, was there to officiate the proceedings in a sequin cap.

An entrant in the “Best Color Tattoo” and “Best Back Tattoo” categories

A contestant shows off her color tattoos to the judges. The judging panel was composed of tattoo artists and regular performers at the Coney Island sideshow: a sword swallower and a snake charmer, among others.

A sweet Lady Gaga leg tattoo won the color category, and our hearts.

This depiction of Judgment Day — we think — won the black and white category. Notice the lions!

Another amazing black and white inked portrait. Bizarrely, this person didn’t win the category.