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Tucson’s Spark Project breaks world record for most tattoos in 12 hours by 12 artists

Desarae Tucker
The group of Spark Project artists with Johnny Vasquez, Yvette Madison and adjudicator Michael Empric celebrate after the announcement that they beat the world record on Friday, Oct. 13, in Tucson at the Tucson Expo Center.

Spark Project Collective broke the Guinness World Record for most tattoos done in 12 hours by 12 artists on Friday, Oct. 13 at the Tucson Expo Center.

The record was held by Alessandra Bonacorsi’s team of artists in Italy with 836 tattoos. Spark broke the record by a hair with 841 tattoos. Their goal was originally 900. Spark is the first to break the record in the U.S. 

“The attempt came down to the wire,” Michael Empric, Guinness World Record adjudicator said. 

Tattoo artist Jena Haro is part of the team trying to hold a Guinness World Record on Oct. 13 at the Tucson Expo Center. Haro has honed in on her craft and can complete a tattoo in under five minutes.
(Celeste Lizarraga)

The event was held from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and had a large turn out with a steady flow of people throughout. They were accepting walk-ins on top of the reservations. Bookings cost $100 and people were required to check in an hour prior. Volunteers were stationed to check in all of the participants. 

People were required to receive at least two tattoos each. One person — Blake Sullivan — got all 37 tattoos on his thigh. He was there from the start and finished just before 3 p.m. 

Per the Guinness World record requirements, all tattoos had to be about four square inches, two inches tall and two inches wide. Participants could either get tattoos on their arms or legs. Red and black were the only colors allowed and they had to have shading.

Yvette Madison, marketing director for Spark, explained that there were about 100-120 tattoos being done every hour with each tattoo taking about 7 minutes. That didn’t include the time for stenciling and wrapping. 

In order to beat the record, all participants’ tattoos had to be fully done and wrapped. There was a stenciling and wrapping station with help from volunteers. They were also cleaning artists’ stations and prepping the tools. 

The volunteers would announce when the artists hit certain marks and cheered them on. The artists stopped tattooing around 9:45 p.m. giving them enough time to count all of the remaining participants. 

Empric announced the results just after 10 p.m.

“I can now announce that today, in Tucson. Arizona. USA. You had 841 tattoos,” Empric said. 

The results led to screams and tears of joy. 

Johnny Vasquez is the owner of Spark Project Collective. He had been prepping with the team for about two months and was excited for the artists to get their names out there. Vasquez said he felt like a “proud father.”

“I feel like they are as strong, if not stronger than a lot of five to 10 year artists that are out there,” Vasquez said. 

Participants are seen behind Malia Carrasco waiting for their stencils to be placed on Oct. 13 at the Tucson Expo Center. To streamline the process, volunteers placed the stencils and the artists focused on their craft.
(Celeste Lizarraga)

Hunter Burns is a tattoo artist at Spark Project Collective and he tattooed in the record breaking attempt. Along with the other artists, he worked hard to reach the goal even with his sore hands and back. 

Burns said he was excited for the chance to break a world record.

“It came down the fucking wire but it feels crazy,” Burns said. 

His favorite tattoo was the skeleton head wearing a top hat. 

They also had Friday the 13th flash tattoos and piercings being done in a different section.

There were about five rows of multiple vendors as soon as you walked in the doors. One of the vendors that attended was RareDragons, a shop that creates lore books, playing cards, oracle decks and more. 

Volunteer for RareDragons, Denise Ware (24) got her first tattoos at the world record attempt. She received the vampire teeth and the crow skull. 

“I’m so excited it got done and it wasn’t as painful as I thought it was going to be,” Ware said. 

Ware said her tattoo artist made her feel comfortable and was accommodating to her needs.

It was a fun and hectic experience for Spark Project Collective and the artists worked hard to reach their goal. 

“I am so proud of this team,” Vasquez said.

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