Sharon Townsend lost a bet over 20 years ago, and had to get a tattoo.
A tiny, four-leaf clover has adorned her skin for over two decades. Now at 69 and with two more tattoos since that lost bet, she sits in a chair waiting for the completion of her next tattoo.
Sharon, along with her daughter, Kelley Townsend, traveled from Athens to the Inkmasters Tattoo Show in Tyler on Friday. They decided to go through with a plan to get the same tattoo as mother and daughter: a Celtic knot on their arms to represent family and their Scottish-Irish heritage.
“This body, to me, is only a canvas of my life: Every scar that I have (and) every tattoo that I have is the same,” Sharon Townsend said. “It is representative of my life.”
She has chosen to honor her family by getting other tattoos, representing her son, daughter and grandchildren. The next tattoo that she will share with her daughter is no different.
Looking on, Kelley Townsend, 46, waits for her turn in the tattoo artist’s chair.
“Tattoos are incredibly personal,” she said. “They tell a story, and they tell a story on each individual person that has it done. It’s their story.”
The Townsends talked about getting the Celtic knot tattoo for a while and went through with it after finding out about the event on Facebook.
“It was a good opportunity to look at everybody else’s work and see who you like the most and then choose the artist,” Kelley Townsend said.
Dozens of booths with tattoo artists will fill Harvey Convention Center throughout the weekend. In addition to the artists, the show includes vendors for tattoo supplies and piercings.
Across the room from the Townsends, tattoo artist Andy Lizalde draws on the leg of his wife, Jamiele Lizalde, in preparation for a tattoo.
“Your body is a canvas," Jamiele Lizalde said. "It’s a walking canvas, so that’s how I see it. It’s just an expression of art.”
With over 30 tattoos already, she waits to receive her next tattoo, which will be entered into a lettering contest at the convention. Andy Lizalde, who has worked 2 1/2 years professionally as a tattoo artist, said he would be proud to receive an award for his work.
“I worked very hard for this,” said Andy Lizalde, who works at La Familia Tattoo Studio in Tyler. “I’ve invested a lot in this. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do.”
The Inkmasters Tattoo show is the first tattoo convention for the couple as well as the first time the tour has made a stop in Tyler. It’s hasn’t been convenient for the Lizaldes to make it to other cities’ conventions in the past.
“But since we’re here in my hometown, I said, ‘Why not?'" Andy Lizalde said. "So I’ll go give it a shot, see how it goes (and) hope everything goes well so I can start traveling to other cities, too.”