The London Tattoo Convention has drawn to a close for another year, and damn, was it a good one this year. The organisers somehow manage to raise the bar every year in terms of the quality of artists they attract.
After a fairly quiet day on Friday, Saturday was packed out by the afternoon, and there were a few bleary eyes on Sunday after a heavy night of partying. I caught Phil Kyle of Magnum Opus in Brighton after he’d finished his last tattoo for the weekend, and asked him how the convention was for him? Did he work harder than ever? “Yes, but I also played hard!” he said.
So who were the artists drawing the crowds over the course of the convention?
Graphic tattooist Xoil had lots of spectators around his stand all weekend, as did Hungarian artist Boris and Italian realism star Alex de Pase, who was tattooing a portrait of Prince (the artist formerly known as Squiggle) onto a girl’s forearm.
I saw dotwork master Jondix was putting a beautiful geometric pattern onto someone’s inside elbow, and was in good spirits with a smile of his face on Sunday evening, even after a long few days.
Nikko Hurtado produced this striking Amy Winehouse portrait on one of the late singer’s friends, as well as an Elvis skull on Friday. He also completed an incredible octopus sleeve at the convention which was entered into the Best of the Day colour work category.
Cosmic Tattoo owner Leigh Oldcorn did this fantastic Predator design on the leg of Dickie, who is the resident piercer in his Colchester studio.
Andy Engel of Andy’s Tattoo in Kitzingen, Germany did this Edward Scissorhands piece, and has posted a video of the process on his Facebook page which is worth a look.
I also had a chat with Brian Wilson of Scapegoat Tattoo, the owner of an entirely vegan tattoo shop. The studio is in Portland, Oregon in the US, an area where there are many local businesses catering to vegans, so why not a vegan tattooist? “There can be animal products found in glycerine in soaps and creams used in tattooing, and the strips on razors, or even shellac [made from insect shells] in some inks,” he explained. Although he avoids seafood like the plague, I was able to witness this animal friendly tattooist tattooing a lovely lobster onto someone’s leg, which was nice.
In the serenity of the hand poking room, Durga, Sanya, and Brent McCown were among the artists tapping intricate designs into the skin of customers lying on raised stages.
I love the theatrical element of hand poked tattoos, they are just really intriguing to watch in progress, especially as the recipients of the tattoos often help stretch the skin and wipe the excess ink off to assist the artist, who generally has their hands full.
Of course, the convention was about more than just tattooing, there was also high calibre entertainment provided by burlesque stars such as Ellegy Ellem, sword swallower Lucky Hell, belly dancers Les Soeurs Tribales and fire breathing hotties the Fuel Girls. Alt model and convention regular Sabina Kelley was also in attendance chatting to fans on the Tattoo Life stand. New film Tattoo Nation also premiered at the convention, and there was a lot of interest in it, judging by the queue outside the door.
London 2012 definitely went with a bang. Time to get ready for the next big event in the tattoo calendar, the Brighton Convention. Brace yourselves….
Make sure you check out this site later in the week, as we have more pictures coming very soon!
My name is Hannah Smith and I am a regular contributor to Tattoo Revolution Magazine, and now I blog for Tattoosday UK, as long as you dear readers don’t run me out of town! I am on the hunt for ideas for future blog posts so please send me your pics, news, views, whatever to firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/ hannah_fran_ink