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Tropical tattoos: Costa Rica hosts masters of skin ink

Hundreds of international and local tattoo artists raised electric needles in Costa Rica on Friday for an annual get-together to swap ideas and designs, and show off their latest creations.

Tattoo artist Carlos Arce participates in the 6th Edition of the Paradise Tattoo Convention in San Antonio de Belen on May 5, 2017, which drew more than 300 local and international tattoo artists. / AFP PHOTO / EZEQUIEL BECERRA

The small crowd of pierced, tattooed and hair-dyed specialists were holding their sixth Paradise Tattoo Convention in San Antonio de Belen, a town close to the capital San Jose, for three days into the weekend.

“I’m really impressed with the quality of the attendees. This is the best one I’ve seen yet,” said Yazmin Ugalde, whose belly boasted a big tattooed wolf.

Ugalde, who had part of her head shaved under a green mohawk with a bright pink fringe, was there to sell clothes, bracelets and collars.

Steve Butcher, a tattoo artist known internationally for his hyper-real designs, was enthusiastic that “a New Zealand tattooist who does incredible stuff” had come to take part.

Surrealism was well represented by an American expert, Carlos Torres.

Ostensibly, however, this year’s edition of the congress was dedicated to designs inspired by pre-Colombian art.