Category: Conventions

Tattoo Journeys – Portraits from London Tattoo Convention

Portraits from London Tattoo Convention 2015 byHeather Shuker Photography

A snapshot of people who attended the infamous London Tattoo Convention 2016 including artists, the general public, organisers, performers and more. As they posed, they were interviewed by Alice Snape and Keely Reichardt.


Sonja Punktum, 38, tattoo artist, Hamburg
“I’m not an angry person, but people who aren’t tattooed see rebellion, so are sometimes scared. People often comment on my tattoos, even if I don’t ask for it. Tattoos make people react, but I think that is because they are intense, they are created through pain and last forever, there is nothing else like it.”


Arrienette Ashman, 26, tattoo artist, Bournemouth
“I was 19 when I got my first tattoo, I went big straight away, as I always knew wanted to be heavily tattooed. My mum picked me up after the appointment and was shocked, but she has learnt to love them over the years. I love the thought of having art on me always. It is not just physical – it is a spiritual process.”


Ashley Green, 27, sports coach, Harrow
“I was drunk when I got my first tattoo at 16, it was a Chinese symbol. All my other tattoos are now family related, including a portrait of my mum.”


George Crew, 21, tattoo artist, Leicester
“I was 16 when I got my first tattoos, it was a rose on my stomach. I got it because everyone around me was getting tattooed. If I could go back, I would think about it more and get something of better quality. I am saving my back, though, as a backpiece is the most important tattoo you will ever get, as it is the biggest canvas.”


Monami Frost, 21, model/blogger/social media, Liverpool
“I cannot imagine my life without tattoos. Getting tattooed, for me, is a never-ending process. They are part of who I am. I think they are beautiful and they make me feel more full.”


Ermine Hunte, 37, buyer for an airline, Luton
“Tattoos and piercings are so empowering and can change who you are as a person. I have gained more confidence as they have covered scars from a kidney transplant. I am constantly evolving and gaining control over my body.”

A chat with David Corden at the 2016 Venice Tattoo Gathering

Guest writer Sarah Armstrong takes us through an inspiring weekend at the Venetian Tattoo Gathering that took place on Friday 29th April – Sunday 1st May 2016.

The Venetian Tattoo Gathering saw a private gathering of artists meet under the frescoed ceilings of the Palazzo Ca’Zenobio – a gilded 1690s Venetian Palace hidden away in the labyrinth of Venice’s canals. The Venetian Tattoo Gathering focused on learning, drawing, painting and tattooing, emphasising education for all artists within the tattoo industry and, unlike usual conventions, was not open to the general public.


Paul Booth, Jeff Gogue, Nick Baxter and Steve Butcher were among many of the artists present, and I spoke to realism artist and owner of Edinburgh’s Semper studio, David Corden, on why the educational structure of this gathering was so important to him and other artists.

jeff gogueJeff Gogue working on Juliet Preston’s sleeve

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 David Corden stood with Sam Ford and the back piece she worked on this weekend.

David believed that the gathering was able to work like this because everyone involved was taking part because it’s their passion. Unlike a ‘normal’ job, it’s not like a business sending its employees to learn the latest things and sit through seminars they don’t want to be in. David and the other artists put themselves here deliberately because they want to learn more about their craft.

painting hallThe painting hall was filled with fine artists

colin DaleJPG  Hand poke artist Colin Dale embraced by client

Sam FordRealism artist Sam Ford tattoos a neck

David, along with many other artists, gave seminars as well tattooing over the weekend.  BJ Betts held lettering workshops and there were live collaborations from the likes of Fantasy Artists Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell, Paul Booth and Stefano Alcantara.  Panelled critiques of submitted work were also held in front of an audience.

colaborationLive collaboration from Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell, Paul Booth and Stefano Alcantara

critiqueDavid Corden panels with other artists on the submitted critique

“We pay our own money to sit through a seminar from people we admire,” David told me, “and sometimes it’s just for a bit of affirmation that we are on the right track or that we are using products that are correct or techniques we have got – it may simply be that we need more experience or practice doing things.”

panelOne of the many panelled discussions tackling the biggest questions in tattooing today

David explained that an artist’s ego can be an incredibly fragile thing… so if they are good on paper it frustrates them that they are not as good on skin or as quick as they would like to be. To hear from someone else that it does take a while and they are on the right track can be very valuable.

madonna like a virgin“Posing in the same place Madonna filmed Like a Virgin, because… I’m Madonna”

The Venetian Tattoo Gathering was the perfect location for this kind of inspirational event, (if it was good enough for Madonna’s Like a Virgin video) and as David mentioned, the outcome of this kind of event was supposed to help you do better work as an artist and return back in to the studio revitalised and refreshed.

The humble nature of all the artists present and willingness to learn from each other this weekend was overwhelming. David noted that by the end of the weekend “if you are lucky, you have managed to talk to some of your heroes – and thats the thing, everyone who comes here is star struck over somebody, even the most famous people have heroes here – it was just absolutely incredible and that’s the pull of things like this, they got involved because of the way it is run and the reason it takes place. ”

Writer Sarah can be contacted via her email at:

Brighton Tattoo Convention Street Spotter

Last bank holiday weekend, we had an absolutely blast at the 9th annual Brighton Tattoo Convention. The sun was shining and everyone was looking amazing, we couldn’t resist snapping a few of our favourite outfit/tattoo combos while we were there…

Amanda / Honey Pop
29, Blogger, Glasgow



Amanda’s bee by Rebecca Vincent

Tessa Metcalfe
27, jeweller, London



Tessa’s swan by Brian Wilson, jewels by David Corden


Tessa’s rose tattoo by Clare Frances

21, hairdresser, Brighton



Sophie’s back by Dotwork Damian

Lucy, 27, marketing, London (left)
Lauren, 30, trainee tattooist, Eastbourne



Lucy’s tattoo by Jaid Roberts


Lauren’s tattoo by Kiley

Tiggen / thetigerstyle
19, blogger/works in coffee shop, Herts



Tiggen’s tattoo by  Ricky Williams

Did you attend Brighton Tattoo Convention? Are you planning on going to any more tattoo conventions this year? Keep us posted @thingsandink 

Photos by James Gilyead 

Brighton Tattoo Convention Photographic Portraits

Our editor Alice Snape is getting excited about the next Brighton Tattoo Convention, here she takes a glimpse at just some of the faces who attended last year in a stunning portrait series, including some familiar faces from the pages of past issues of Things&Ink

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Portrait of Marisa Kakoulas, editor of

We LOVE tattoo conventions, here at Things&Ink, and one of the highlights in the tattoo calendar is always Brighton Tattoo Convention. Not sure if it’s the sea air, but there’s always such a friendly, party vibe! And it’s the perfect convention to meet up with friends, old and new. Nothing brings people together like a passion for tattoos, after all.

At last year’s convention, I had my photograph taken by James Hole for a portrait series capturing convention-goers and artists. The results are absolutely stunning and a real insight into the contemporary tattoo community. I think this is down to the wonderful nature and talent of the photographer James, who made me feel instantly at ease in front of the camera – I normally hate having my photo taken and he even managed to capture a natural smile (see below). The setting for the images was incredible! In a grand room in the Hilton in Brighton, which you can see glimpses of in each image behind the backdrop.

As part of the portrait series, some interviews were also filmed. They will be coming soon, so watch this space.

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Portrait of editor Alice Snape

The next Brighton Tattoo Convention is 30 April – 1 May, which will hopefully mean the sun is shining (the convention is usually in February!) and in a brand-new venue, The Brighton Centre.

And we have TWO weekend tickets to give away, all you have to do is share one of the images in this blog post on Instagram and use the hashtag #BTCTIcomp. We will pick a winner this Sunday 24 April. Good luck and hopefully see you at the convention! We won’t have a stand this year, but we will be taking pics and enjoying the convention, so come say hello!

Some of our favourite BTC portraits are below… all these people have also graced the pages of T&I over the years…

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Wendy Pham, cover star of The Identity Issue

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Cally-Jo, cover star of The Anatomy Issue

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Grace Neutral, cover star of The Modification Issue

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Claudia de Sabe, cover star of The Launch Issue

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Matt Lodder, art historian

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Brian Wilson, cover star of Stripped Back 2/3

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Tiny Miss Becca, cover star of The Celebration Issue

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Rebecca Vincent, interview in The Love Issue

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Andrea Furci, interview in The Art Issue

you can see more portraits on the Brighton Tattoo Convention blog

Mondial du Tatouage

Mondial du Tatouage is known as one of the world’s largest conventions with over 30,000 visitors and over 300 artists. In this post our Italian contributor Ilaria Pauletti shares her first time at Mondial du Tatouage convention in Paris… 

3_View from the top
This was my first time in Paris and my first time at Mondial du Tatouage. A dream come true!
It was Friday 4th March and obviously I woke up very early, feeling pretty nervous as usual but also very excited for my upcoming appointment with Rodrigo Souto– I just couldn’t wait.

The Grand Halle de La Villette was very easy to reach, located just 200 m from its own metro station, which was great and made the whole trip a lot easier. Giving me loads of time to walk around and see just how many people were attending the convention.

6_Hannah and GuyHannah Sykes and Guy Le Tattooer 

The doors opened at 12 and there was a huge queue at the main entrance, while waiting, I met a lovely Sardinian couple of tattoo collectors who had an appointment with Dane from Inkamatic – Trieste, and a German girl, Eva, who was waiting to get tattooed by Samuele Briganti. She got a beautiful black and grey lady head on her arm.

I ran to get into the convention, powered by excitement,luckily the map of hundreds of booths was right in front of us and I could immediately get to Rodrigo’s one.
He made me feel at ease and he totally got what I wanted on my skin. After he drew the design onto my arm by hand and I had a look in the mirror we were ready to go.

I have to say the pain was pretty bearable but that elbow/ditch spot was actually really for me. And my friend Marina, who was there with me, can confirm the struggle was real!
Three hours later my arm was like a giant sausage, and then I could walk around the convention.

2_Peony by Rodrigo

Ilaria’s peony

I met a lot of the artists I have been tattooed by, for instance Guen Douglas, Morg Armeni, Arianna Settembrino. They were all working hard! I also saw local tattooists who were also very busy, like Mikael de Poissy and Guy Le Tatooer. The booths were a lot larger than ones I have seen at other conventions, meaning that both the tattooist and client could enjoy themselves with no awkward positioning of limbs and machine.

I treated myself to lots of amazing prints by some of my favourite artists, it was really hard to decide what to buy and what to not. The main stage showcased the Best of Day contests, with some great judges including; Kari Barba, Filip Leu, Bill Salmon and Luke Atkinson.

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Yall Quiñones getting tattooed by Roberto Borsi

I hope to be back and I can’t wait to see what’s next, because tattoo conventions are made of this: good company, quality tattoos and a great location!

Fashion Pearls of Wisdom: Tattoo Tea Party

Last weekend saw Tattoo Tea Party return to Manchester for its fifth season and our columnist Natalie McCreesh aka Pearl, a fashion lecturer, freelance writer and creator of Fashion Pearls of Wisdom popped along to see what this year’s convention had to offer… 

An action packed convention with an all the fun of the fair theme- dodgems, waltzer and side shows galore. Hosting over 350 artists over the sprawling Event City we wandered the maze catching up with old friends and discovering new. Tattoo styles were diverse with many artists choosing to offer walk-ups all weekend what better place to get your latest tattoo fix.

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We chatted to Bex Lowe who was offering the most kawaii flash think smiley pizza, grinning tea cups with some old school gamer influences too, Hadoooooken anyone? Tacho Franch came armed with bold traditional Japanese flash peonies, neko, Noh masks and fat toads. Whilst we and many others gathered around to watch in fascination the hand tapped tattooing by Lawrence Ah Ching.
Tea Party is a vibrant, family friendly show which return next year 4th-5th March 2017










Let’s Talk About Tattoos: London Pop-Up Photo Booth

WOW! Women of the World Festival


This Sunday 13 March, we’ll be teaming up with blog Women with Tattoos to stage a pop-up photo booth at the annual WOW! Women of the World Festival at London’s Southbank Centre.

Come see us and get your tattoos photographed by Eleni (the brains behind Women with Tattoos) and chat to Things&Ink editor Alice Snape about what your tattoos mean to you.

Where: Level 2, Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX
When: Sunday 13 March, 11am – 6pm

Alice Snape Women with Tattoos

Editor Alice Snape photographed by Eleni for the Women With Tattoos blog, check out her interview at:

Pearls of Wisdom: Tattoo Conventions

Our guest blogger is Natalie McCreesh aka Pearl, a fashion lecturer, freelance writer and creator of Fashion Pearls of Wisdom. In this post she’ll be talking about getting tattooed at tattoo conventions… 

I went to my first tattoo conventions this summer, the first Liverpool Tattoo Convention, the second Leeds International Tattoo Expo. They were two fairly different experiences, Liverpool being a huge gathering spread out over a warren of rooms filled with artists and merchandise stalls whilst Leeds was a smaller, more intimate affair. I enjoyed both equally.


Before my first convention I wasn’t sure what to expect, admittedly getting tattooed with an audience wasn’t on my list of fun activities but it was an occasion to get tattooed by my artist without having to travel as far. So I booked in to have my knee cap tattooed by Max Rathbone who had tattooed the rooster on my shin the year before. Yep my knee cap, in public – one of the most painful places or so I’d been told. I wasn’t getting tattooed until later in the afternoon so I had chance to say hello to friends and watch my boyfriend James get tattooed by Andy Walker. This is where we differ as a couple, I like to book my tattoos in advance whereas he prefers to be spontaneous on the day and go for walk-ups (choosing from the artists flash or pre-dawn designs on the day). He also got a little filler from Ad of Folklore Tattoo– a super fun bunch. My turn came and Max scribbled on my knee with coloured pens, he assured me these freehand scribbles would be a peony so I trusted his word and let him crack on. Max had tattooed me before and I was familiar with his style so I could sit back and relax knowing I would end up with an amazing tattoo. To my surprise getting your knee tattooed wasn’t half as bad as I’d expected, phew! Although the swelling after scuppered any plans for a night out, it was back to the digs with a pizza and a bag of frozen peas, our arms laden with prints and other trinkets.

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My second convention experience was just as good, after the vastness of Liverpool the intimate nature of Leeds Expo was a real contrast. Whilst there was less to do there was more time to chat. I had booked in with Holly Ashby whose work if been a fan of for a while, having bought some of her stunning prints for our home and as gifts so I was excited to meet her. Even though I’d not met Holly we had chatted before hand and decided on a design, having already been tattooed at a convention I wasn’t freaked out like I had been for the first convention. That said at Leeds there was a lot more people walking past and taking photos, at first I found this a bit weird but Holly was absolutely lovely and it ended up being really fun talking to other people approaching her booth. We got to chat to people from all over the globe including other people there to get tattooed by Holly – it was like joining a special club. Inner thigh was a bit of an awkward spot as I ended up sat on a bench with paper towels tucked in my knickers, but it was worth the slight embarrassment as I adore the placement of my gorgeous pooch tattoo. In one hilarious moment a couple came running up to us brandishing a napkin, after some confusion it turned out they wanted a lipstick kiss print too use as a tattoo template. I am still left to this day wondering if some has my kiss tattooed!


Natalie getting tattooed by Holly Ashby taken by Graham Pile

Come and take a seat…

Come and take a seat… in the Things&Ink pop-up photo studio, exclusively at London Tattoo Convention 2015.


Become part of London Tattoo Convention history in a very special portrait project by Things&Ink magazine. The pop-up photo studio will be located on the upper floor in Tobacco Dock and will be set up for the duration of the convention from Friday 25 September – Sunday 27 September.

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London Tattoo Convention Floor Plan

Come and see us at the Things&Ink stand to grab a copy of The Horror Issue, as well as back issues of the magazine.

A selection of kewpies from Miniature Ink II, a collaborative exhibition with Atomica Gallery, will available to buy at the convention in the Sailor Jerry room down in the basement, with proceeds going to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.

The convention address is Tobacco Docks, 50 Porters Walk, London, E1W 2SF and the closet tube station is Shadwell.  This year the convention are providing free travel on classic London Routemaster buses, taking you from Tower Hill to Porters Walk everyday of the show from 10am- 2.30pm.

Advance tickets are available online until 12pm tonight, get yours here. You can also buy tickets on the door.

Adopted doggies from Battersea

Our Miniature Ink II exhibition (which opens today, Wednesday 23 September) is being held in collaboration with Atomica Gallery to raise funds for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. So we thought we’d chat to Sailor Jerry Ambassador UK, EmmaLi Stenhouse about her adopted pooch…

Can you tell us a bit about what  you do for Sailor Jerry?
I am the UK ambassador for Sailor Jerry, which basically means I get to do all the good stuff like sorting all their events and sponsorships, educating bartenders and customers all around the country, and getting people to hear about us by trying our rum. I get to travel a lot and meet good people! I’ve been doing this for six years now and I’ve made a lot of great friends. Because Sailor Jerry (Normal Collins) was a tattoo artist, we have a lot of history within that culture, so I’m lucky enough to be involved in things like the London Tattoo Convention, and we do a lot of in-store tattoo shop events and sponsorships. I guess I consider my role to be about telling Norman Collins’ story, doing my best to support the industry that he loved and inspired, celebrating great art, artists and tattoos, and bringing in all the rum!

Did you enjoy last year’s Miniature Ink?
Last year’s Miniature Ink was great! I worked on the bar all night and don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard! It was great that it was so busy! The best part about getting there early to set up was having the opportunity to go round and see all the artwork whilte it was still quiet! I fell in love with about 10 different pieces, although stupidly didn’t act quick enough to buy any! I loved the fact that everyone had the same size canvas, and the same brief set out, and yet they were all so unique and interesting. I knew a few of the artists featured, and it was nice seeing their style and personalities condensed onto a postcard, and I also discovered new artists and went home with a list of names I wanted to look up!


EmmaLi with Lola

What is your connection to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home?
My sister has worked at Battersea Dogs & Cats home for the past eight years.  She’s fostered a few dogs over the years, the ones who are a little too sensitive or unwell for the kennels.  After meeting some of the dogs and hearing a few of their stories – both the horror stories and happy endings – it has made me a huge advocate for rescuing dogs and can’t imagine going anywhere else now.

Are you pleased we’re fundraising for them for Miniature Ink II?
I was so happy when I found out your chosen charity this year was Battersea Dogs & Cats Home! There are so many charities to choose from, it’s always such a tough call, but after seeing first hand all the great work they do and the many happy endings and wagging tails there, it’s totally worth it!

Can you tell us a little bit about your own adopted dog?
My boyfriend and I bought a house last year, and we always said as soon as we were settled in, we’d get a second dog. We are both massive dog lovers, and he already had a male rottweiler called Syrus when we got together seven years ago, which I was more than happy to adopt and I consider him my own! He’s nearly 10 years old, and although seems happy and healthy still, we always knew we wanted to get another before the time came that it would feel like a replacement! It was still a tough decision as he is absolutely perfect and we couldn’t have asked for a better dog – we didn’t want to disrupt him or make him feel left out so our priority was finding him a mate that he was happy with.


EmmaLi with Lola

I stumbled upon this picture of the sweetest looking rottie Misty (who we have since renamed Lola) , and I sent the link to my boyfriend, saying “can we?”, only half joking… he called me back a few minutes later.  It was more about finding the right dog, not necessarily a specific breed, but as soon as we both saw her picture we kinda knew she was special. I called my sister and we arranged an appointment to go visit the next day. We arrived and went straight into the interview process. They ask you about your home, your experience with dogs and what kind of breeds you’re considering, and then tell you if they have anything they think might be suitable. It’s important to remember that most of the dogs they see in rescue centres have already had a bit of a past, and maybe a bit of emotional baggage, so it’s extra important to make sure they match the right dogs to the right people who can give them the care and love they need! We told them we’d spotted a lovely rottweiler, and they said she could be a good match for us, but she currently had kennel cough, which is like flu to dogs. She was on treatment and would be fine soon, but it meant she might be contagious still and meeting her could put our boy Syrus at risk of catching it from our clothes.


Syrus and Lola bonding

She arrived and was pretty timid, but excited to meet people and be out of her kennel. We stayed seated and gave her a chance to pluck up the courage to come over to say hi to us first. She was just lovely! They explained that she was a nervous dog, and probably always would be, but she had a heart of gold and with the right family who could give her the attention and love she needed she would be a lovely pet.

We went back up to Battersea the following day, but we still hadn’t introduced her to Syrus yet, which was going to be a deal breaker. It was a risk exposing him to the kennel cough but we knew what signs to look out for and to take him straight to the vets if he showed any symptoms, so we had to bite the bullet and let them meet. We went to a big room and Misty (now Lola) was brought in, she ran over excitedly and gave him a good sniff. The rest was history! We did all the paperwork, bought her a new bed, and she came home with us that night!


Lola on her first day at her new home

Why is it important to take in dogs from homes? 
There are so many dogs that, for various reasons, don’t get the lives they deserve. All dogs have the potential to be loveable family pets, but sadly some idiots don’t treat them right, raise them to be aggressive, neglect them and sometimes worse. Dogs are loyal and love even the worst owners, and they live to please you. If you treat them right they will be the best asset to your family you can imagine. Just walking around the kennels or cattery is enough to make you see the difference you can make to one of these animals lives, and how rewarding it can be. Without people re-homing them they have no future – and it’s heartbreaking. The amount of joy I get from knowing we gave Lola a chance she wouldn’t have had otherwise, makes it all worth while and I wouldn’t change her for the world.


Lola hiding in the bushes during her first week in her new home

How long have you had her and how you getting on with her?
We changed her name to Lola when we first got her, Misty didn’t suit her and we wanted to give her the fresh start she deserved. She settled in pretty quick, but I’d be lying if i said there weren’t teething problems! Firstly she acquired a taste for shoes… no shoe was safe. She also had no bladder control and completely ruined the wooden floor in our hallway. Most mornings I’d come down to a few surprises! We persevered though and with lots of positive reinforcement, consistent training and rules, and just accepting that she was still coming to terms with life indoors we eventually saw improvements! Lots of long walks and play time kept her worn out and she stopped the chewing when she finally settled in, lost some of that anxiety and realised she was home now. She has been with us a year now and is just the sweetest, kindest most loving dog you’ve ever met. She is so much more than we ever dreamed of, and a million miles away from that nervous skittish little thing we first met. She’s blossomed with our help and I’m so proud of her and of us to have made such a positive change in her life. I’d recommend it to anyone!


Head over to Atomica Gallery tonight from 6pm to see Miniature Ink II, all profits from sales will be donated to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. Join the Facebook event.