Tattoo Artists Gather in Bolivia to Show Off Their Skills

In an effort to educate people about the tattoo culture, ink artists from around the world gathered in Bolivia over the weekend to show off their skills at a three-day tattoo convention.

Organizers say the convention in the capital, La Paz, was designed to celebrate the art and culture of tattoos.

Chilean tattoo artist Marco Epul Bozo said as far as designs are concerned, anything goes.

"There are no rules with tattoos. It is an art, free from everything," he said.

American tattoo artist Lenny Borgenson said that tattoos hold different meanings for different people.

"It's usually something from their hearts, from their mind and from their soul," Lenny said.

Tattoo client Javier Pattoo said that Latin America still has a long way to go when it comes to accepting tattoos, but conventions like this are helping to change people attitudes. "Each year people are a bit more open-minded," he said.

Juan Pablo, who's from El Salvador, said that in his home country there are many misconceptions about people with tattoos. "They think we're gang members or are involved in some other type of (criminal) activity," he said, adding that people with tattoos should be more vocal about explaining what they mean so that more people understand them.

One of the convention's organizers, Bolivian tattoo artist Gunnar Quispe, said that although in Bolivia the stigma of tattoos isn't as strong as in other Latin American countries, there's still room for improvement.

"What we try to do is inform and educate about this kind of art and show that, more than anything, it is the memory of a moment captured on the skin," he said.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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