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_UV tattoos or blacklight tattoos are tattoos made with a special ink that is visible under an ultraviolet light. Depending upon the ink, they can be invisible without a black light, they are a popular consideration for people seeking a nightlife party tattoo. They are particularly popular in the raves.
Even in a recession, it seems people are willing to spend thousands of dollars to get tattooed. Even while people lose their jobs, foreclose on their homes, and sell their cars, tattoo artists say their businesses are thriving.
Shop owners say tattoos are personal and people are willing to pay for them. A little needle and a lot of ink goes along way and a tattoo convention in Las Vegas this weekend is attracting 30,000 enthusiasts.
"You know, I can't even count them. At this point I'm by hours, and at this point I'm 450 hours in," said Patrick Ricciardi.
Ricciardi says he pays about $100 an hour for his body art. With 450 hours in, that's $45,000. "I try not to look at the money, because if I did, I'd think, ‘Why is the world am I doing it for,'" he said.
But tattoo artists say people are willing to spend the cash. They say tattoos are personal and with body art becoming more mainstream, their audience is growing. "We do lawyers and judges and the oldest person we've tattooed was 93-years-old and she got a cancer ribbon," said shop owner Mark Hawkins.
Silvia and Danny Antonucci are celebrating their 23rd wedding anniversary this weekend. "I'm a mom with two kids and people usually like them. They usually want to see them and look at the art and how well its done," said Silvia.
Silivia and other women at the convention say 30 years ago people saw their tattoos and looked the other way. Now they're appreciated and accepted. "At the time, only bikes and criminals had tattoos but now it's a way to express yourself," said Michelle Ross.
And shop owners say as the stock market tanks and employers cut jobs, more people are getting tattoos to remember their struggles and their hardships. "Tattooing is always flourishing. When economy gets less and less, then tattoos become bigger and bigger. It was the same in the 20's, it was the same in the 60's," said shop owner Mario Barth.
The tattoo convention is open to the public. Locals even get in free. It's at the Mandalay Bay and ends on Sunday.