Category: Conventions

Dina Litovsky: Under the Needle

Brooklyn based photographer Dina Litovsky has created a series called Under the Needle, in which she captures the serene and painful moments of people being tattooed. The photographs were taken earlier this year at both the Empire State Tattoo Expo and the New York City Tattoo Convention.


Street Spotting: Blackpool Convention

On Sunday 16th August our editorial assistant Rosie was at the second Tatcon in Blackpool, while she was there she did some street spotting, these are the people she met and the tattoos she saw…

Name: Wendy Freestone Age: 48 Lives: Stoke-on-Trent Job: Business owner and Studio mum at The Painted Pin Up Tattoo Parlour 

Tattoos: Chest piece is a rework by Natalie McShee. Business logo on her foot, hands and legs are by both Josie Morris and Natalie McShee.



Name: Bex Harrison Age: 26 Lives: Manchester Job: Healthcare Assistant

Tattoos: Bows on her calves by Mike at Nostalgia Tattoo in Leeds. Monkey by Kirsty Sanderson


Name: Laura Rafferty Age: 22 Lives: Newcastle Job: Sales advisor

Tattoos: Butterfly lady by Danielle Rose. Shiny shin by Hayley Parkin at Inkslingers tattoo studio in Newcastle.



Name: Krystian Dranikowski Age: 20 Lives: Leeds Job: Tattoo artist at 1995 tattoo studio opening next month.

Tattoo: His good friend Juan Martinez


Blackpool Tattoo Convention

Our editorial assistant Rosie attended the second ever Blackpool Tatcon  held at Norbreck Castle Hotel in Blackpool last weekend. After entering a competition on tattoo blog Inkluded’s Facebook page, Rosie won free Sunday passes. Here’s what she got up to on the day…

The convention ran for three days beginning on Friday 14th- Sunday 16th August. I travelled to Blackpool, somewhere I have never been before, on Sunday the last day of the convention. The venue was a castle shaped hotel right on the sea front and was home, for the weekend to over 100 tattooists and traders. The convention hall was made into corridors from the tattoo booths and there was a stage at the front to showcase the entertainment.

Rosie getting tattooed by Emily Dawson

I didn’t plan to get tattooed at Blackpool as I was there to blog Things&Ink and see the sea. But at conventions it is so hard to resist with everyone around you getting tattooed! The lovely Emily Dawson, owner of Holy Ghost Tattoo in Rotherham, created a cute cactus for me inspired by the art of Anne Knispel.


The convention was packed full of tattoo artists demonstrating a wide variety of styles from traditional hand poked to realism, to watercolour and neo-traditional. There were artists from all over the country and many that I had not seen before. I love going to conventions and discovering new artists, styles and ways of doing things. As I am from the Midlands it was great to see so many artists from the North of England that I admire and follow on Instagram.



Similar to many conventions the entertainment focused on burlesque performances, live bands and acts such as sword swallowing. Many tattooists commented that the music was far too loud, I had to agree as I was shouting when introducing myself to artists.

There were also awards at the end of each day for categories such as best apprentice, best small colour and best of day. These are a great way for artists to showcase their creations and be praised for their work.


Jakub Hendrix won Best Large Piece on Sunday


Ashley Luka won second place for Best of Sunday

There was also the Banana Ink stand, who were also at Liverpool convention, where convention goers could have a go at banana skins. The aim being that people will see how hard tattooing really is and the skill needed to do it, but I wonder if it will encourage people to buy a machine and have a go at creating tattoos at home?





The organisers held a charity auction which not only had items gifted from the traders, including a taxidermy chick on a skateboard but also one of a kind art pieces. The conventions organisers prior to the event had sent artists skulls in the hope that they would decorate them in their own style. The most popular being an bio mechanical skull with a working camera in one of its eyes. All the proceeds went to haematology and Leukaemia charities.

chaThis is only the second year of Blackpool Tatcon, it is a really young and new convention, so I’m really excited to see what the convention has in store for next year… 

Interview with tattoo artist: Hollie West

28-year-old Hollie West, who tattoos at Indigo Tattoo Studio in Norwich, is known for her brightly coloured chubby babe tattoos.We chatted to her about her collaboration with illustrator Gemma Correll and what inspires her work… 

How long have you been tattooing? Two and a half years since ending my apprenticeship, which I started at Indigo, after finishing my degree in illustration at the art school in Norwich.

How did you become a tattooist? I was managing a pub after finishing uni, it was a very creative pub where we put on lots of exhibitions and live music so it was fun creatively but I missed drawing and designing. I became friends with the Indigo lot as they were always propping my bar up, the owner (Gema Gold) came across a website I’d set up to get some illustration work and asked me (after a few glasses of wine) if I’d be interested in trying to convert my illustrations into tattoos.

I, of course, jumped at the chance. The next morning I visited Indigo with my portfolio and fortunately Gema was already waiting for me, after looking through my work and discussing the reality of an apprenticeship she took me on. I was over the moon!

If you weren’t a tattooist what would you be? A children’s book illustrator, I love character design and bright colours and unusual images. I think a lot of the designs I tattoo wouldn’t look out of place on the pages of a kid’s book.

How would you describe your style? Illustrative, bold, colourful, bright and fun (hopefully). It’s difficult fitting my work into a tattoo category, it’s not really traditional although I definitely draw a lot of inspiration from that style, it’s not really new school either.I think there are a lot of girls doing similar work to me at the moment and I guess we all fit into a category together, I just don’t know what you’d call it!

You are known for your chubby women tattoos. How did your chubbas come about? I find curvy women so much more fun to draw, they have such a great flow which lends itself to tattoos so well. Big bums and boobies always come across so cheeky and fun, rather than seedy and overly sexual. They can be super sexy but in an old school pin up way that would make you have a giggle rather than rubbing your thighs and grunting.

I only did one or two as a little fun project but thanks to Instagram they kind of took off and I was getting emails all the time with amazing ideas from people about what these curvy ladies could be doing. It’s so great when people give you a basis for an idea but let you run with it and do your own thing, when I have the freedom with a design they often end up the best ones because I get to play and have fun with them.

What inspires you? Kids books, I have a huge collection, I get them bought for me at Christmas and birthdays. Colour, my particular corner of the studio is like a busy rainbow mess, so is my bedroom. I think collectable clutter around me definitely inspires me. I get all sorts of strange little creatures from charity shops, customers are amazing and bring me more to add to my shelves too.

I like fairy tales and stories, fantasie, nothing too real life and serious.

Is there anything you’d love to tattoo. I recently drew a castle, I’m going to have a go at a couple more and see how they might look as tattoos. I love how buildings look in tattoos, there are some really skilled tattooers doing landscapes and buildings and I think they’re such an odd, un-organic thing to sit on a body but they (for that reason I think) just work, I’d like to challenge myself to do something like that. It’ll end up looking like a princess castle even if I’m attempting a burning church though, I can’t escape girly and cute.

Can you tell us about your Gemma Correll collaboration? I have been lucky enough to be tattooing Gemma and her husband over the last year or so, they’re such amazing and creative people, it’s great spending time talking with them. I’ve always loved Gemma’s work (like the rest of the world!) and after tattooing her one day a few weeks ago I came up with an idea that we might be able to do to raise a bit of money for local animal charities. Her illustrations lend themselves so well to tattoos, I’d done a few previously and Gemma had said how much she likes to see her designs as tattoos.

So Gemma has designed a flash sheet which we will be taking to the Norwich Body Art Festival in August, we’re keeping it secret for now so that people who arrive will get first pick of the designs, as we will only be doing each design once. All money raised will be going to charity so it’s great that Gemma was willing to give up her own free time to design these, we’re both really excited about it, it’s getting a lot of attention on Instagram.

Do you have any guest spots and conventions lined up? Just Norwich convention and hopefully in Bristol in September, I’ve done a few guest spots this year at amazing studios such as Cock A Snook, Painted Lady and Never More. I’ve made such amazing friends doing these, I would love to be invited to do more. It’s so great to have a job where you can travel and socialise as part of it.

Tattoos from the first ever Southampton Tattoo Festival

The first ever Southampton Tattoo Festival was held over the weekend 4th-5th July at Ageas Bowl, Hedge End Southampton. Yellow Vintage Fair have teamed up with Ian Ink Tattoo shop to bring a family-friendly tattoo convention like no other.

Here are a few of the tattoos created at this year’s convention:












Leeds Tattoo Expo – tattoo round-up

We had such a lovely time at Leeds Tattoo Expo, which was held at New Dock Hall on 5-6 June 2015. Here’s our pick of some of the best tattoos created at the convention…











Did you go to this year’s Leeds Tattoo Expo? Which is your favourite tattoo? 

Ladies! Ladies! Art Show

Ladies! Ladies! Art Show, curated by Miss Elvia, Emma Griffiths and Pat Sinatra, promises to be extra special this year (it is now in its fourth year). It recognises generations of women tattooers, and a portion of the profits will go to a great cause.

Art by Miss Elvia


Here’s what Miss Elvia had to say about this year’s LLAS:

This year especially we made an effort to contact a few more women who have been tattooing 20+ years, such as Vyvyn Lazonga, Debra Yarian, Jennie Peace, Debbie Lenz, Miss Roxy, Judy Parker, Bev Robinson (aka Cindy Ray), Shanghai Kate Hellenbrandt and more. Along with them, works by other well respected names in tattooing include Jill Bonny, Hanna Sandstrom, Monica Moses, Virginia Elwood, MaryJoy, Megan Kargher, Anna Waychoff, Miranda Lorberer, Sabine Gaffron, Titine Leu — and more, including new upcoming talents.

We are also very excited because this year’s art show is also a fundraiser to help Charlene Anne Gibbons — daughter of the famous Charles and Artoria Gibbons — raise money to publish the book about her parents true story. We will have many prints priced to sell, as well as originals, and other items for tattoo collectors, for example, […] original Sailor Jerry acetates, courtesy of Kate Hellenbrandt. So this is a chance to get together, meet some of the artists, view and buy tattooers’ art and support a cause!

The opening is on 11 June and takes place Forget Me Not Tattoo in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, from 7 to 11pm. It’s free and open to all. The works will be on view and for sale every weekend until mid-July. For more information visit their website.

16th International Tattoo Expo Roma

Our Italian Contributor Ilaria went to Rome Tattoo Convention, this is the diary of her visit, including the incredible artists she met along the way…


“The International Tattoo Expo Rome was held from 8th to 10th May 2015. I could not resist, so I went there on Sunday, the last day…

“It is one of the biggest tattoo conventions in the world, where you can meet 300 international tattoo artists, from St. Petersburg, Beijing and Austin to Las Vegas, Montreal and London. The artists are very prestigious, and the convention allows the curious to get tattooed by their idols: for example, Sarah Miller, star of the US television show Ink Master, the phenomenon of Los Angeles Matt Arriola or the artists coming from the famous Lowrider Tattoo Studios.

“During last year’s convention, actress Asia Argento had marched on stage showing off her brand new tattoo done by Marco Manzo, as a competitor in the 2014 Tattoo Contest. This year Marco Manzo is still bringing his Haute Couture tattoos to the tattoo scene – feminine black lace inked onto skin. Last February, he also presented his tattooed clients at Maxxi Museum, the National Museum of XXI Century Arts in Rome. It was a success and a great step towards the acknowledgement of tattoo as an art form.

“Next I met Miss Juliet and Fabio Gargiulo, who created two limited editions prints to help Nepal earthquake victims. The proceeds will be donated to the appeal, and they will go on selling these artworks at other tattoo conventions: Naples, Athens, Milan and Cagliari. I think this is a strong and wise action, and the tattoo community has once again demonstrated sensitivity to world emergencies.

Miss Juliet and Fabio Gargiulo


“Walking around, I spotted so many new artists and I had the opportunity to meet some amazing people. Here are four people I was super happy to see:

David Côté. He is a young graphic designer and tattoo artist from Montreal, Canada. His psychedelic tattoos are stunning, and he is really a kind guy. Here is what he created during the convention.


Denis Elice. He is from Turin, Italy. I think you should keep an eye on him. He has clear ideas and his tattoos evidence this. Whales, sailors, roses, these are only some of his subjects. His style is black traditional, but with a very personal touch.


Chad Koeplinger. Well, he is one of the greats. Here are some of his tattoos from the convention.


Nicoz Balboa: (yep, after three men, we have a powerful woman!) She is an illustrator and her works on skin are simply beautiful, I think she has the right sense of balance between colour and subject, and she is great in freehand tattoo.


“Tattoo conventions always make me feel at home, and I think this is the best feeling ever. No judgments but only love and admiration for tattoos and art (that, to me, are just the same thing).”

Street spotting at Liverpool Tattoo Convention 2015

Style and tattoo spotting at Liverpool Tattoo Convention, 16-17 May 2015 at The Adelphi Hotel. Here are a few of our favourite people at the convention and a selection of their tattoos…

Name: Sophie Brown / Age: 21 / Job: Tattooist at Forever Ink Warrington 

Tattoos: Dagger and lady on left back calf by Chris HayesPerfume bottle and lady on arm by Danny Edwards at Forever Ink, Lady on right calf by Chris Martini 



Name: Natalie @superelevated / Age: 33 / Lives: Sheffield / Job: Lecturer in fashion industry 

Tattoos: Back piece by Tacho Franch,  thigh by Paul Goss, Wolf by Kelly Smith 



NameLauren Williamson / Age: 24 / Lives: Wirral / Job: works in an office 

Tattoos: Skull by Rob Nolan 13 Ink, Liverpool,
Skinhead by Dan SmithPortrait by Kyle Williams from Raw Ink in Wrexham 



Mondial du Tatouage 2015

The International Paris Tattoo Convention, or as the French say Mondial du Tatouage, was held at the Grande Halle de la Villette from the 6th to the 8th March 2015. The venue was vast and for one weekend only filled with internationally renowned tattoo artists creating works of art on the skin… Unfortunately we couldn’t attend the event ourselves (maybe next year), but we enlisted a couple of photographers to document the event for us.

Photos by Arnaud Sommier using analog


Photos by Katha

Edgar Allan Poe tattoo by Ivy Saruzy and the Jesus dinosaur by Debora Iglesias