(CBS Seattle) — The Seattle Tattoo Expo returns to the Seattle Center Friday, August 15 – Sunday, August 17.

And while it’s a common assumption that the event is exclusive to those who posses dozens of ink jobs on their bodies, it is actually an incredibly diverse gathering — ink or no ink.

“It’s a very safe environment,” says Hidden Hand Tattoo co-owner and artist Jeff Cornell. “It’s an opportunity for people to peruse hundreds of artists’ work.”

Jeff Cornell, Hidden Hand Tattoo (photo credit: Hidden Hand Tattoo)

Jeff Cornell (photo credit: Hidden Hand Tattoo)

Cornell has been part of the expo in Seattle for 13 years and has run his shop in Fremont for the past seven. Cornell operates Hidden Hand with his wife April and have made it into a cornerstone of the greater Seattle tattoo community.

SEE ALSO: Hidden Hand’s April Cornell Talks ‘Tattoos For First-Timers’

He credits the Pacific Northwest’s culture as the main reason for the event’s success, saying the region embraces art unlike any other part of the country. And if you’ve ever felt guilty for observing someone’s extraordinary body art, worried that you’re staring, Cornell maintains one of the expo’s most important features is “people watching.”

“There are contests and all kinds of people specifically out there to be on display,” Cornell says. “It’s appropriate to people watch in this environment.” Cornell stresses that it’s not a confined atmosphere such as a tattoo parlor.

Some of the contests this year include “Best Cover Up,” “Best Portrait,” and “Best Religious.” There will also be a “Tattoo of the Day” award given out each of the three days.

(Hidden Hand Tattoo)

(Hidden Hand Tattoo)

Both Jeff and April will be appearing at the expo as well as Damon Conklin who spoke with CBS Seattle last year about the event’s longevity and why Seattle’s crowd is special.

To order tickets and get more information, head to http://www.seattletattooexpo.com.

You May Also Enjoy:

2013 Seattle Tattoo Expo [Gallery]

Danny Bonaduce’s Full Back Tattoo [Video]

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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