Tommy Mann Jr.
The Orange Leader
Two local tattoo businesses won awards this weekend at a tattoo convention in Southeast Texas.
The Immersed in Ink Tattoo and Arts Festival will held this past Friday, Saturday and Sunday inside the Beaumont Civic Center featuring more than 100 artists from across the United States, as well as numerous local tattoo artists and business owners who competed in several of the daily contests at the festival.
Randall “Flipper” Doolittle, owner of Flipper’s Skin Flix in Bridge City, walked away with two first place awards from the weekend. Doolittle won honors for “Best Sleeve” and “Best Color Photo Realism Portrait.”
Another artist from Flipper’s, Mark “Markavius” Mayea, received a third place award for “Best Ink of the Day.”
“We were just trying to do something that would promote ourselves to people in the area by participating in this event,” Doolittle said. “I’m hoping it will bring a little more notoriety to the industry and to those of us in Orange County who operate clean, professional shops.”
Doolittle said the experience was definitely a positive for himself and many other business owners, and it also brought a positive reflection to the art.
“I think this event, combined with these awards, just put Bridge City on the map in the tattoo world,” he added.
Terry Bussinger, owner of NVS-Ink Tattoo Studio in Vidor received a second place award for “Best Back,” which was for a back art-piece. He agreed the Immersed in Ink Tattoo and Arts Festival was a worth-while event.
“We decided to take part in it because it was a real tattoo convention,” Bussinger said. “Also, this is my 21st year in the business, and I saw it as an opportunity to show the rest of the area about my business.”
Bussinger said he and two other business owners, Ryan Green of All About Art in Lumberton, Texas, and Xavier Sanchez of Studio 409 in Port Arthur, rented the largest booth space possible in an effort to promote their respective businesses and show unity among local businesses.
“We don’t all hate each other, and we aren’t all cut-throat businessmen,” Bussinger added. “Our goal was to make it something awesome for all of us, while letting people know about our businesses and our services. It was a good weekend and a great experience.”