TULALIP — Ed Scoll’s body is a work in progress.
From his neck down to his feet, his body is covered with tattoos. A tiger leaps across his back. A snake wraps around his right leg, from the top of his thigh and down to his foot. Designs in bright colors come to life on his chest, arms and stomach.
Scoll, 57, of Marysville collects tattoos like some people collect paintings.
On Saturday afternoon, he watched artist Lance Dozier of Electra Tattoo of Marysville work in his booth at the Jet City Tattoo Expo at the Tulalip Resort Casino that began Friday and continues through today.
By Saturday afternoon, about 1,400 people already had attended the show, where 100 artists from all over the country set up shop this weekend, said Tim Azinger, one of the organizers. His studio, Pinnacle Tattoo, is based in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Scoll first went to see Dozier about seven years ago to cover an old tattoo of a dragon on his right arm. That dragon is long gone, but Scoll got hooked. He’s been going to Dozier’s studio three or four times a month for years, gradually turning his body into an elaborate canvas.
“It’s just something I really wanted to do,” Scoll said. “I like art.”
Some of the larger, more complex tattoos that span across his body took several sessions to complete.
Dozier worked on him some on Friday, but Saturday he just stopped by to watch.
Scoll works for an aerospace company. He said most people compliment his tattoos, but he’s gotten mixed reactions.
The pain, however, doesn’t bother him.
“I’ve fallen asleep several times,” he said.
Gypsy Johnson, Dozier’s wife, marveled at Scoll’s pain tolerance.
“It’s kind of addictive,” she said, shouting over the incessant buzzing of 100 mechanical needles.
Johnson, wearing a fedora hat, was helping Dozier at the show. She makes jewelry and is studying ceramics. The couple live in Everett.
Not too far away, tattoo artist Sean Wright of Portland, Ore., was getting ready to do his first work for the day.
Wright has been doing tattoos for about nine years.
“I’ve always been an artist, and the tattoo part just kind of came along,” he said.
He specializes in traditional American designs that include skulls, roses and eagles, and the organic style, where “you approach it more like you would a painting,” he explained.
People have different reasons for getting tattoos, but it goes back to self-expression, Wright said.
“I think people just want to express themselves. It’s a natural need.”
Katya Yefimova: 425-339-3452, email@example.com
The Jet City Tattoo Expo continues today at the Tulalip Resort Casino, noon to 7 p.m. Admission is $15.
For information call 412-531-5319 or go to http://tattoopgh.com/jetcity.html