3 November 2008
Halloween Tattoo Bash 2008
A tattoo convention is a strange place. Rows of tables set out like market stalls, each covered in black plastic, bodies strewn in various positions and that hypnotic buzz of an entire chorus of tattoo machines... although I must admit, I hate the sound of a tattoo machine; it's just far too similar to that of a dentist's drill!
But to be able to wander around watching tattoo artists at work and see the looks of pain on their clients' faces is an odd phenomena. As our friend pointed out, when you go to a tattoo parlour you are commonly 'hidden away in some cupboard' to get inked, but here you are completely on display and quite often even drawing a crowd!
I love to look at other people's tattoos; the artwork they've decided on is personal and special enough to have branded on their skin for all time, whatever the reason for it. For example, when I was in my sitting, a man with a jar of flaming marmite tattooed on his neck came and asked if he could get a winking Jesus on the other side, just because it would "amuse him endlessly".
I saw some amazing tattoos, both in portfolios and on people's flesh; and there were people there who hardly seemed to have any skin left for tattooing. It must be hard to reach that stage: I think I would run out of skin (or, at least, skin I am willing to have a needle stuck into repeatedly) before I ran out of ideas for tattoos. And I always love to see women who are tattooed head to toe.
Although tattoos are becoming more and more socially acceptable, it is still often more shocking/surprising/unusual to see a heavily tattooed woman as opposed to a man. But I've seen women tattooed all over with stunning and feminine designs that only adds to their natural beauty. It is no longer just something for sailors and prostitutes: you may well find that the suited businessman you see on the tube every morning has an entire bodysuit of tattoos under his clothes, or the woman on the bus has a huge dragon on her back. Whatever their drive, the desire to have a tattoo is reaching into the minds of a very wide demographic.
One of the best thing about this convention was getting the chance to see people tattooed with the traditional 'tapping' method and 'the word on the street' is that this is a far less painful method, although, of course, the sittings are longer.
But amongst the competitions and raffles, this convention gave people the opportunity to be tattooed by artists they wouldn't normally get the chance to be done by. There were not only tattoo artists from all over the UK, but from all over the world, and Dan Gold from London Ink was there doing sittings too. My other half turned up with an idea for a small tattoo and ended up in a 4 hour sitting with a tattooist from Norway - when else would he get the chance! And after she had finished tattooing him, she went off to have a tattoo hand tapped into her! That's definitely some stamina!
And the poor man shown right spent his Sunday in a nine-hour sitting. Both the tattoist and his client reached their limit after that, so he was booked in for a second sitting to finish off his leg piece. Tattoos is something you definitely have to be completely committed to, probably even obsessed with.