Those who donned one of the special VIP passes (yes, that included us) got to chill in a private lounge with cushy couches, a private bar, and a prime view of the stage.

In a city replete with art galleries, art fairs, and street artists willing to sketch a caricature or sell you an original painting, it shouldn’t be surprising that Seattle plays host to an event honoring a truly enduring art form: tattoos.

The annual Seattle Tattoo Expo sets up camp on the second weekend in August, and while this year the crowds at the Northwest Rooms of Seattle Center may have been a little sparse (we estimated a couple hundred on the Saturday evening we were there), those who did attend were only the most hardcore tattoo aficionados and dedicated tattoo artists.

What was once a subculture reigned supreme here; it was rare to see an arm not covered in a sleeve of tattoos, or a leg go by unmarked. And those who felt they needed a bit more art inked on their skin were in luck, over 100 different tattoo shops—from as far away as Copenhagen, as close as Capitol Hill—provided on-site tattooing at the expo.

Take a look at our slide show to see some of the colorful tattooed art we saw on display.

All photos by Alexandra Notman.