The Best Of The Midwest
Photography By Ernie Bustamante
Council Bluffs, Iowa, was the historic starting point of the Mormon Trail, which opened to the West from 1846 until the late 19th Century. The town sits on the east bank of the Missouri River across Omaha, Nebraska.
Last February the Leading Edge City welcomed travelers with a slightly different destination: The Mid-America Center. The tattooed clan came by cars and airplanes and other modern modes of transportation. They came for the first annual Best Of The Midwest Convention presented by Shane O’Neill’s Infamous Productions. “Our event was based on talent and tradition,” Shane said. His simple philosophy was appreciated by the many hardworking tattooists, both local and from other parts of the world who came to this show.
“Ten percent of the attending artists work in the Omaha area,” Shane said, another fifteen percent were from the region and the rest were national and international. It was a great opportunity for the entire Midwest to get work from artists that are typically inaccessible to them without traveling a long distance,” he added.
Collectors were invited to attend and shop for a tattoo all weekend, and there were professional seminars daily for the artists. There was live entertainment, an art gallery, and contests to enjoy as well.
A highlight of the convention was the announcement of the first Annual Chaudesaigues Award, which was presented to James Kern from No Hope No Fear Tattoo in Portland, Oregon. James received a trophy made of bronze, marble and gold, a free booth at a convention in Europe, a one-week trip for two to Paris, and a three-day seminar with a renowned tattoo artist. Merci, Chaudesaigues family and Shane O’Neill, for two memorable firsts.