read the news // live the culture

London Tattoo Convention: A Visual Spectacle of Alternative Art

  Wednesday 2nd October 2013

Tobacco Dock once again played host to the International London Tattoo Convention last weekend as thousands of body-art devotees assembled to immerse themselves in all things tattoo. While some looked as though they’d walked off US drama Sons of Anarchy with their Harleys parked out back, the rest of the painted-people spectrum was intriguingly diverse. Vintage “va-va voom” ladies and snazzy gents, ultra-stylish with an artistic tat or two, through to the multi-adorned young and old – every demographic was evident, there to enjoy the three-day extravaganza of contests, exhibitions and stage shows.

The Great Gallery offered the chance to observe, or to receive your latest tattoo from over 300 of the world’s most sought-after skin-art masters (including star Ami James from reality show Miami Ink) and the Hand Tap Tattooer. This provided the absorbing opportunity to see people being inked by international tattoo artists using traditional tools. Tattoo Convention 2013

Tattoo technology is constantly upgrading – as shown within The Trade Rooms, where welcoming international experts displayed new handcrafted and vibrantly attractive tools such as liner and shader machines (also referred to as Guns, although some tattoo artists dislike that term). Yet the actual process of tattooing hasn’t vastly altered from when the Egyptians were in on the body-art act over 5000 years ago. This was explained at the Amsterdam Tattoo Museum where visitors learned the interesting history of this much-maligned, ancient and extremely expensive art form. 

The lower vault floor contained packed bars, music, and a pricey but tasty food court. Plus, a mind-blowing array of stalls offered body-art merchandise of every description, and as the ideal companion to the ever-expanding vintage scene, customised corsets, alternative accessories, handcrafted jewellery (retro, religious, even confectionary themed) and so much more. 

The main stage was the hub, hosting various tattoo contests like Best Back Piece and Miss Pinup UK. Beatrix Von Bourbon (seen last year on Britain’s Got Talent) was a big hit and audiences were enthralled by specially-created performances from beloved burlesque artists including the raunchy latex-clad The Nerdy Stripper and foxy Elegy Ellem.  

Many also gathered to have calendars and prints autographed by a host of their favourite alternative-model idols.

This captivating convention was well organised and jam-packed with things to see and do. As next year is the 10th anniversary, that weekend’s set to be even more ink-credible. 

Laura Jorden
Photos: Andrei Grosu

For further information about the London Tattoo Convention and future events visit here

More about the author

Laura Jorden

Share this story


  • Pin It
  • Share on Google+
  • Reddit
  • Stumble
  • LinkedIn

Latest related

United We Fall | Movie review
United We Fall

Not to be confused with the 2010 documentary of the same name about the North American Union – which is reportedly [read more]

Drowners at Borderline | Live review
Drowners at Borderline

The atmosphere is beyond lively as we arrive at the packed out basement room of Soho’s Borderline, which [read more]

Duke Dumont at Oslo | Live review
Duke Dumont at Oslo

The world of electronic dance music is heaving with DJs trying to make a name for themselves at a time when the demand [read more]

Stiletto nail art at Pretty Little Polish
Stiletto nail art at Pretty Little Polish

Sometimes nail art can be quite in your face and it’s not really suitable for wearing all the time. However, the nail [read more]

Revolution Farm at Newham City Farm | Theatre review
Revolution Farm at Newham City Farm

Community Links presents Revolution Farm, written by James Kenworth, inspired by George Orwell’s Animal Farm and [read more]

Archives