Connie Fenner is a local business owner, community connector, and proud breast cancer survivor. She’s committed to supporting orgs that bring people together to create healthier communities, including powering our Go See This series this season. The Ancient Arts Festival is right around the corner, and we invite you to Go See This . . .
Get ready for the ultimate ink and oddity extravaganza! This October 20-22, the Ancient Arts Festival hosted by 401 Tattoo and Antiquities comes to the Chatham County Agricultural Center. This is the autumn celebration you’ve been waiting for, bringing together talented tattoo artists, mind-bending oddity, macabre art vendors, and an unforgettable lineup of interactive experiences. If you are looking for a chance to unleash your creativity and reveal your inner mystique, the weekend will feature a Masquerade Costume Contest and a chance to take home the prize. Put on your most enigmatic disguise and enjoy an event that is sure to be both wondrous and strange!
Guests will have the opportunity to see incredible artistry in real-time with live tattooing by skilled local and out-of-state artists. The most exceptional ink will be recognized and celebrated through contests and awards. The weekend is packed with entertainment, including live music from Turquoise Trader, live painting from Good Trip Gallery, and interactive and showcasing puppetry parades.
Jimmy Bissette, artist and owner of 401 Tattoo and Antiquities, speaks about what inspired him to found and organize the Ancient Arts Festival: “This will be the fourth year I’ve hosted a festival. In prior years it was actually TattooFest Raleigh, in conjunction with Tobacco Road Harley Davidson Bike Week. It was a huge event, but then Covid happened and that put a halt on everything. After that break, I was at a convention with some buddies of mine who were interested in doing the festival again. I found the Agricultural Center and figured, different area, let’s change up the name. So, ‘Ancient Arts,’ trying to pull in other ancient art forms.”
Tattoos, as an ancient art form, have transcended time and cultural boundaries. They have served as a means of personal expression, cultural identity, and storytelling for thousands of years. Leif Hansen, artist and owner of Great Wolf Tattoo, has spent years studying traditional Japanese tattooing and the art of Edo Japan. “As a passionate tattoo artist, I am excited about working with clients to bring their visions to life,” says Hansen. “With a focus on Japanese bodysuits, I appreciate the opportunity to take on new projects and push my artistic boundaries. Conventions like these provide an opportunity to learn, connect, and grow with my peers in the tattoo community and pay tribute to the rich history of this art form.”
Puppetry, too, can trace its origins back to ancient civilizations. Donovan Zimmerman of Paperhand Puppet Intervention, who will appear at the festival, speaks on the history of his craft: “When I think on puppetry and masks, I think back to the earliest humans. Some people think that shadow puppetry was one of the very earliest art forms, because they would use the cave walls where the fire was lighting the storyteller to exaggerate grand gestures and add to the drama and mystical nature of their stories. Pretty much everywhere around the world where culture took root, there was a kind of master puppetry that co-evolved with people as they were trying to reflect on their own humanity and reflect humanity back on itself.”
A bevy of vendors are set to display unique wares unlikely to be found anywhere else. Come browse Crowz Eye Oddities, a gallery of macabre art, as well as rare and strange antiquities and books. Pick up handcrafted items from artisans like ZenJumps Chainmaille, Rhinos Exotic Wooden Pipes, and The Vanity Witch. Food and beverage trucks will abound, fueling the fun throughout the weekend. In addition, long-time sponsors Tobacco Road Harley Davidson will be having a ride in on Saturday morning (free admission for riders) and holding raffle giveaways that will make this event even more thrilling!
Mark your calendars, invite your friends, and prepare for a weekend of unparalleled fun, creativity, and artistic wonder. This is an event like no other, and you won’t want to miss it! Get your tickets now and head over to the Ag Center for an unforgettable celebration of tattoos, art, and the extraordinary.
The Short Version
- Who: 401 Tattoo and Antiquities, Paperhand Puppet Intervention, Turquoise Trader, Tobacco Road Harley Davidson (for a full list of artists and vendors please see the festival website below)
- What: Ancient Arts Festival hosted by 401 Tattoo and Oddities
- When: Friday, October 20 – Sunday, October 22, 2023
- Where: Chatham County Agricultural Center,1192 US-64 Business, Pittsboro
- Cost: Single day $25; Weekend pass $55; Costume Contest Entry $15
- Parking: Visitor parking on site
- Accessibility: Accessible parking on site
- For more info: https://www.ancientartsfest.com/