Conventions & Art Show Schedule
Ink-n-Iron Fest photo by Nicole Reed
Tattoo events are taking place every thirty seconds throughout the summer, from New Jersey to Taiwan. Here's our pick list for the next few months to get you planning your own tattoo tour.
This weekend, June 11-13th, at the Ink-n-Iron show, custom cars, pin-up girls, Rockabilly bands, and top tattooists converge around and aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA. I've been following the road trips of artists and vendors on Twitter as they make their way over for the seventh year of this sleep-less event. Too much to do there: live shows, the International Pole Performer Showcase, the Pin-Up Pageant, Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School, hot rod and kustom car contests, and of course, you could get tattooed by these excellent artists. Check the photos from previous shows, like the one above, on this page.
I noticed a few of my faves weren't going to be at Ink-n-Iron this weekend but instead are working the Krakow Tattoo Fest in Poland--artists like Robert Hernandez, Victor Portugal, Zsolt Sarkozi and even Jeremiah Barba will be there (and not in his Long Beach homebase--I also think Slayer has something to do with this).
Next weekend, June 18-20, artists will also be divided among two popular shows, Northern Ink Xposure (NIX) in Toronto, Canada and the Evian Tattoo Show in France. The longstanding NIX show will host seminars, Art Fusion and a fine art gallery, among the mix of tattoo goodness. On Thursday before the convention kicks off, there will be a silent auction benefit for Skate4Cancer where tattoo artists donated custom painted skate decks for the charity.
I'm a little bummed that I won't be able to make it to the Evian Fest as it's the last show in this beautiful city. Gene Coffey of Tattoo Culture offered his thoughts on last year's show here (from friendly crowds to dapper mustaches.) He also took some photos, including this one below of a tattoo he did there. The client wanted Gene to tattoo the words "Bonjour Mademoiselle" but in the way he thought it would be spelled. Gene has never taken a French lesson. Obviously.
So, remember the Pint Size Paintings exhibit I've been talking about, which launched at Hell City Killumbus? Well, the show is coming to NYC's Sacred Gallery but for one night only, July 9th. Don't miss it!
Alas, I will miss it myself because Brian and I will be in County Cork, Ireland, July 10 & 11, for The Traditional Tattoo and World Culture Festival. I am so excited for this! It's going to be a small gathering, in Cobh, of artists and collectors who love traditional tattoo--not in the Americana sense, but the tribal. For me, it's really a family reunion with Colin Dale and Xed Le head, who were featured in my Black Tattoo Art book, and a chance to hang out once again with the audacious Pat Fish, Queen of Celt. If you're looking for a tattoo vacation in a sea-side town with a bunch of beautiful freaks, please join us.
July 30 through August 1st, Asbury Park, New Jersey will be home to the Visionary Tattoo Arts Festival. I usually don't list first conventions because most have a rough start but when I saw the artist roster, I had to include it. It's another beachfront party--albeit a bigger one--with live painting, music and sideshow performances. We'll be there handing out Needles and Sins swag so look down. I'm short.
That weekend is also the Taiwan Tattoo Convention. Paul Booth, Shige, and Jason Stewart will be the main attractions but the tattoo art that's coming out of Taiwan itself demands attention, like the work of Andy Shou shown below. For more info on the show, hit the Tattoos.com page.
August 6-8, over 300 tattooists will descend upon Doncaster, England for Skin Deep's Tattoo Jam, one of the biggest conventions in the UK. When I went to the Tattoo Jam in 2008 (held in Wales), I had such a blast and got a hand-poked Thai tattoo as well. [See the photos here.] The diversity of artistic styles is vast so there's something for everyone at this show.
Also, Tattoo Jam has teamed up with the best named tequila brand ever for the Hornitos Design Competition where you get a chance to design a limited-edition Hornitos bottle, and if you win, oh, prizes abound.
August 27-29 is Hell City Phoenix's "Let It Burn" fest. What more can I say? If it's as good as last month's Killumbus show, then it's worth braving Arizona, even if you look like "an illegal."
For some advance planning, here are our favorite shows in September and October:
And with that, I'll leave y'all to update your calendars.