9 November 2010
Halloween Tattoo Bash 2010
If you've never been to a Tattoo Convention, you're really missing out on quite a treat - what other opportunity do you have to openly watch tattoo artists from all over the UK and beyond at work?
But a Tattoo Convention isn't just the buzzing of an entire orchestra of machines, and the Halloween Tattoo Bash, held annually at Newton Abbot Racecourse in Devon, offers visitors one hell of a weekend. This year was their 4th convention, and they somehow manage to cram more and more into the weekend, ensuring that it keeps getting better year on year.
Beyond two solid days of tattoo artists at work, and, of course, the opportunity to get a brand new tattoo or piercing yourself, there are traders selling all sorts of bizarre and fantastic items, live music and entertainment, competitions running all weekend, and the Saturday night fancy dress party. There are also a lot of people keen to show off their tattoos: get advice and recommendations, swap tattoo stories, inspect artwork. Where else will you get to see someone keen to drop their trousers and show off the tribal designs inked onto their buttocks?
This year there was great excitement and furious competition to claim the title of 'The Fastest Gun in the West'. Competing artists were given an identical design and a willing volunteer from the Bash's crew to ink. The finished tattoos were judged on quality as well as speed. The prestigious title was snapped up by a local artist; Colin from Bodyshock in Plymouth.
More willing volunteers were also called upon for the Girl's and Boy's Face-Off Competitions - girls were tattooed with a witch design, and boys with a wizard. The winner of the Girl's Face-Off was Hazel from Design 4 Life, Liverpool, and the Boy's Face-Off was won by Myth from Indigo Tattoo, Cheshire.
And should you actually bore of looking at tattoos, there were plenty of varied traders for a little retail therapy. You could have kit yourself out from head to toe - footwear, new and vintage clothing, jewellery and accessories - you could have even kitted out your children with their own hoodies or tattoo-inspired baby grows. There was plenty of original artwork on display, both prints and one-off originals, or, if you wanted something a little more different, perhaps a shrunken head for your home? No home is complete without a shrunken head, surely.
And if the incessant buzzing of a whole host of machines started to grind a little (it does tend to vibrate the brain after a while!), live music was being performed on both days by Mark Emmins.
And if that still wasn't enough for you, Liverpool's White Star Tattoo brought along a Freak Show.
But, let's get back to the tattoos. Because not everyone was sitting under a modern tattoo machine for their new ink. There were also opportunities to receive more traditional tattoos done by hand. A longer process perhaps, but, we are reliably informed, less painful.
Hand tattoos were available from Sakura, from Old Town Tattoo in Edinburgh, using the hand poke method, or from Le Segaula Tatau using the tapping method; originally from Samoa, but now based in Colchester.
On the Sunday, the emphasis was on the competitions. Many of the tattoos entered had been completed over the weekend, and some of them had been finished off just minutes before being judged. The judging panel for each category were made up of artists attending the show.
Cheltenham's No Regrets Tattoo Studio scooped themselves a whole load of victories, with artist Meehow winning the Small Black & Grey, Small Colour and Realistic Tattoo categories, Tommi winning the Best Old/New Skool Category and Sass Obuhov taking the top prize; Best of Show.
Pete Oz from 7 Star Tattoo won Best Traditional Tattoo, Astrix from Kustom Kulture won Large Black & Grey and Spear Studio's Leah Moule won Best Large Colour Tattoo. Best Halloween/Horror Tattoo was won by Myth from Indigo Tattoo, while Dan Hancock from 72 Tattoo took the Best Newcomer Prize.