UK Tattoo Conventions: five of the best
From Edinburgh to Brighton and back again, we take a look at the best conventions to get inked this year
Let nobody say there’s a shortage of opportunities to get tattooed this year. Dozens of conventions across the UK delight in sharing their love of tattoos, piercings and body art. As the number of shows in Britain continues to rise, more and more artists worldwide are starting to take notice, traveling oceans and traversing countries to bag a spot to show off their skills. We’ve compiled a handy list so you can check out your nearest, but have also spotted some we think it’s worth travelling for.
Scottish Tattoo Convention – Scotland’s most-anticipated tattoo con has been going since 2011, increasing its pulling power year after year. Thanks to the capital’s wealth of talent, visiting artists are happy to travel from across the globe to work alongside the home-grown guys, indeed this year sees appearances from artists from across Europe, as well as Philly, Long Island, San Jose and even Abu Dhabi. The entertainment kicks the weekend up a notch: husband and wife duo Til Death Do Us Part present their cut-throat cabaret show – think sword swallowing, knife throwing, fire and the reassuringly-named Board of Death. There’s also cover girl and blogger Lusy Logan, fetish model and burlesque performer Cervena Fox and Mr Beardie competition, all hosted by Pedro.
Sat 26 & Sun 27 Mar, Edinburgh Corn Exchange
Brighton Tattoo Convention – Nine years deep with no signs of abating, Brighton Tattoo Convention pulls ink lovers out of the winter funk and plonks them into the depths of British Summertime. This year there will be more than 300 artists to choose from, with guests arriving from as far and wide as Iceland, Argentina and the US. As well as the chance to get drawn on, there’s also Paul Hewitt and his band of barbers putting on a barbers expo, the Lead Room – a custom car show, and the premier of The Point of No Return, which explores the history of tribal tattooing in Borneo.
Sat Apr 30 & Sun May 1, The Brighton Centre
Cardiff Tattoo and Toy Con – Mixing two of your favourite hobbies, the Cardiff Tattoo and Toy Con sees collectors and artists get together for a harmonious weekend of geek vs chic. Artists from all the nooks and crannies of the UK will be appearing, but the weekend will also be supplemented by a display of Marvel props (think Ironman, Batman and Captain America), a cosplay competition, magicians, tarot reading and, because no convention is truly fun without one, a bouncy castle.
Sat 23 & Sun 24 Jul, Motorpoint Arena
London Tattoo Convention – Attracting some of the best tattoo artists in the world, London Tattoo Convention is gearing up for its 12th year as one of the leading lights in body art cons. As well as the chance to get something really special, the convention also boasts three separate stages: Fuel, Voodoo and Pinup, featuring artists including the fire breathing, aerial and pyro Fuel Girls, plenty of burlesque and live music, plus pop-up beauty parlours and beauty competitions.
Fri 23-Sun 25 Sep, Tobacco Dock
Manchester Tattoo Show – Up there with the best and longest-established UK conventions, Manchester Tattoo Show has a reputation for mirroring the traits of its home city by being both badass and friendly. Expect world-renowned artists, and a host of non-tattoo related activities including, but by no means limited to, awards, burlesque, live music, tarot reading and an after show party.
Sat 29 & Sun 30 Oct, Manchester Central