Welcome to Hell City. For tattoo fans, it's heavenly. The seventh installment of Durb Morrison's international inked-skin bonanza will take Columbus by storm this weekend.

Welcome to Hell City. For tattoo fans, it's heavenly.

The seventh installment of Durb Morrison's international inked-skin bonanza will take Columbus by storm, with crowds expected to top last year's 8,000-strong swarm of body-art aficionados.

"We sold out three hotels," Morrison boasted while singing the praises of what has become one of the nation's premier tattoo events.

All those people are coming for one of the world's largest gatherings of celebrated tattoo artists, a weekend packed with activities for everyone from the needle-shy spectator to the ink obsessive pursuing full coverage.

"I think what's made Hell City a winning convention is the focus on the artists themselves and the focus on the art form of tattooing," Morrison said. "We don't just sell our booths to Joe Schmo."

The big names slated to appear include Illinois-based living legend Guy Aitchison, whose world-famous advancements in tattoo art will be taught for years to come, Morrison said. Aitchison will lead an event called Innerstate "art jam," in which 40 painters will paint live throughout the weekend.

Also on hand will be Chris Longo, a "legendary tattoo collector" who has gone through three full bodysuits thanks to laser removal. Longo will be roasted Sunday night as a grand finale for the weekend.

Other events on the schedule include tattoo contests, discussion panels, live comedy and fire-spinning. A kids' area called Heck City will include temporary tats and face paint.

With so much going on, it's hard to believe organizers are throwing another edition of the festival in Phoenix this September. But Morrison is jazzed to bring his industry to the people at a time when tattoos are more socially accepted than ever.

"Hell City is definitely a way for people to come beyond television, from watching L.A. Ink and all these tattoo shows, and actually experience it on their own level," Morrison said, "to really see a different side of tattooing, artistically."