Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- A new festival celebrating tattooing is headed to the Capitol City, just years after the service became legal in the state.
The Immersed in Ink Tattoo and Art Festival runs March 15 - 17.
A passion for art drew Jimmy Snaz to the tattoo industry.
"There's a lot of beautiful things going on, a lot of beautiful people with beautiful art," said Snaz.
Now he's hoping the upcoming festival will introduce others to a community he loves.
"A tattoo convention can definitely be an eye opener for anybody, even somebody who's completely against tattoos, they can go and maybe, hopefully, have an open mind and realize it's not just a stain on somebody's skin," he said
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says it began licensing tattoo shops in April 2008. The agency says 104 shops currently hold licenses in the Palmetto State.
For Jimmy Snaz the newness of tattooing in South Carolina makes the festival that much more important for the state.
"Well being from out of state I was kinda culture shocked when I got to Columbia. It's stricter here, it's not nearly as open, it's still very, very new," he says.
The Immersed in Ink festival has made stops across the country for the last eight years, but says this is the first time it is traveling to South Carolina.
Snaz says it is a good chance for artists to network and see new things, but it also creates an opportunity for the community to learn more about the tattooing culture as well and boost the industry in Columbia.
"They can also talk to us and we will still be here next week, unlike these other artists. So it's a good opportunity for people who maybe haven't been to our shop or haven't heard of our shop who happen to go to the convention and say wow these guys are actually local," he said.
For more infomation on the event and admission visit their website here.