It’s almost March!

Guys, one of my favourite tattoo conventions is just around the corner. This is always too cool. This year, Peterlee’s convention will be its 10th, which means the guys are pulling out all the stops! Along with some really cool tattooers (see the list here!), and the usual trade stalls, we’ll also be joined by The Tattoo Club of Great Britain Tattoo Museum. Awesome!

Peterlee is one of the friendliest and laid back shows in the world. I wrote something for this convention last year, but it didn’t make it to print properly. I thought it would be a cool idea to post it up here so you guys can see how great a show this is. I have some pictures I took, too. I hope you guys enjoy it.

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- every year at the Peterlee Convention, the sun comes out. In the north, where that barely happens in March, this means that people seem so much happier and good to each other- so it’s a good job they were at the Peterlee Tattoo Convention to have a good time! The Peterlee convention takes place every year on the last Sunday of March, and welcomes tattooers and enthusiasts from all over for their one day event.

As I made my way to the convention right as the doors were about to open, I realised just how popular this convention is getting. The size of the queue outside was huge, with many people extremely excited to get inside. Within seconds of joining the line, I spotted some of the entertainment outside, willing to relieve some of the boredom of people waiting. Lexi Sexx was spotted outside, asking visitors to help her stick nails up her nose and play with fire- you know, as people do. She was met with a couple of sniggers from some people, but even they knew this had set the scene- Peterlee was going to be a lot of fun! The long queue which had formed in front of the door quickly descended inside, as well-prepared organisers and helpers made sure you were quickly allowed inside, welcomed by a big smile.

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Once inside, you could see for yourself how good your day was going to be. This convention pulls out the stops to make sure they have great quality artists working, and it shows. There are two big halls full of tattooers working away, talking shop and making sure their portfolios can be seen from any visitors to their booths. The great work which comes from these tattooers every year can be outstanding, and each year seems to get better. The work seen on customers also gets better every year, and it’s really great to see where tattooing seems to be going in terms of what tattooers are into right now. The work that people were showing off was incredibly varied and well done, which is always something that’s great to see!

Soon enough, Jolene was at the microphone ready to entertain us all while we took a look around. This particular singer is something I really like about Peterlee, because she doesn’t sing the usual angry mental or punk music that a lot of conventions put on. The entertainment throughout the day was actually really varied, and it’s really cool to see a convention which doesn’t assume that all people with tattoos like the same thing. Throughout the day, we were treated to Jolene, stage performances by Lexxi Sexx, Dragonfly and Amelia Le Shay, a band called Kelda and Zirkus Der Grotesken’s stage show- not too shabby at all for entertainment!

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With Peterlee, however, the entertainment is slightly shadowed by the perfectly organised registration and presentation of their competition, for tattoos done both on the day and from anyone visiting. The competition is a huge deal at this convention, so I’m sure the entertainers don’t mind at all. Registration for the competition starts as soon as the doors open, and continue for another three hours until judging starts. This is a great way to see some fantastic tattoos being presented on the stage. As I looked over the tattoos being judged, one in particular really caught my eye, on a young man called Polish Dan, who tattoos at True Colour in York. I asked him about it, and he told me he tattooed it on himself, then showed me his stomach, which he’d also tattooed with an amazing colour realism piece. I have no idea how someone can have the balls to tattoo their own stomach, but that was something wonderful to see.

While judging was going on, everyone was free to walk over whenever they pleased, and keep coming back to see what was happening. While I took a break to see what was going on around the main hall, I saw the great Gary Weidenhof at Inkredible Kreations start work on a small skull. Does Gary use a stencil? Nope. Not even freehand a drawing onto the customer’s skin? No way, he just starts tattooing away! He put it down to laziness, but I saw sheer talent and confidence. Gary let me watch him work on this skull for a while, and it was great to be able to see a tattooer work in this way. A convention is sometimes the only way you get to see someone work this way, unless you get tattooed yourself. Gary went on to win the Tony Young Memorial Award later that day, which was well deserved!

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While on the subject of Tony Young, I must tell you all about the Art Fusion, which took place throughout the day. Art Fusion takes place every year, and has done since 2006, in memorial of Tony, who was a friend of the convention. Art Fusion is basically a very fun small project for the artists, who will take turns to add to a picture, working for two minutes each until someone else comes along to add something new. The work is then auctioned off for charity- this year it was for The Great North Air Ambulance service. The Peterlee convention does quite a lot for charity, and manages to encourage visitors to be generous while they’re there, too.

This feature will never really do this convention justice, because there are so many things I have to miss out, but let me tell you that this particular convention always feels extremely special. There is a great sense of community here, with artists returning year after year either to work or see what’s going on, and collectors always ready to see what’s been happening since the last time they were here a year ago. Those who have been a few years always end up getting to know each other, and come back to see their small tattoo “families” time after time. It’s great for your first time here too, as this convention is always welcoming to anyone, and pretty much everyone ends up making friends by the end of the day. This sense of community is at the heart of the Peterlee convention, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.

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