Flashback: Dunstable Tattoo Expo 1994
Yesterday, our friend Paul posted in the Needles & Sins Facebook group, this video (embedded below) from one of the most iconic tattoo conventions worldwide: the Dunstable Tattoo Expo. The video, which is from 1994, offers a glimpse of 90s tattoo culture, complete with a long blonde-haired Paul Booth, a village of tribal tattoos, and people having a ton of fun.
I had never been, but my tattoo artist, Daniel DiMattia of Calypso Tattoo, speaks of it fondly and how important it was, not just as a community gathering, but how it helped a lot of tattooers progress artistically. Before Instagram and Facebook fan pages, being featured in tattoo magazines (remember when tattoo magazines showed lots of good tattoos) brought recognition -- and more bodies to tattoo. Dunstable was the place to have your work seen. At one of the Dunstable shows, Dan brought a bunch of punk friends he had been tattooing for free in his heavy blackwork style at the time -- big tattoo pieces. He wanted to work further in this style he was developing, and showing his work at Dunstable was a pivotal moment. His work was photographed and appeared in tattoo magazines; soon, more tattoo collectors, and fellow tattooers, traveled to his studio in Liege, Belgium to get his style of tattoo work. With the flood of tattoo images on various platforms that we see today, I wonder if conventions still have that kind of impact. Maybe they still do.
When thinking about putting up this post today, I did some searching for old Dunstable photos and found these on Flickr (via bainbiker). So cool to see body modification guru Elayne Angel, and Guinness World Book holders (and badasses) Isobel Varley and Elaine Davidson. Some great pics there.
If you have any Dunstable stories of your own to share, feel free to post them in the comments in our Facebook group.