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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


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Laura Jorden

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