I was born and raised in Blackpool. The beach, the tower, the promenande… that’s my childhood, my memories, my feeling of nostalgia, my happy place, my everything.
I was gutted not to be able to go up to this year’s Tatcon (2016 is definitely in the diary!) but Inkluded‘s writer and convention virgin Rose, luckily, was already in the area just in time for this year’s epic North West tattoo event.
Not only was I dying to hear what she made of the convention, but also wanted to know what mischief this lovely London lady was getting up to in my hometown.
I’m currently on tour as Wardrobe Mistress for Puttin’ on the Ritz at Blackpool’s Grand Theatre. We’re here for the entire month and I have been taking full advantage of Blackpool’s entertainment scene. The circus, the tower, the Pleasure Beach, the piers, Lazer Quest, drinking, dancing, drag shows… I guess all that was left to add to my fun-packed list was a tattoo convention!
I wasn’t sure what to expect but decided in the taxi on the way there that I would set myself a mission to come away with my top five tattoo artists of the day. Easy? Nope.
The atmosphere of the convention was fairly overwhelming – the constant buzz of machines, bodies wandering around excited, a magician, an auction, live music… I spent the first few hours walking around in a slight daze, which I’m not saying is a bad thing!
I was jolted out of my daze when Przemyslaw from Banana-Ink called me over to see if I would like to try my hand at tattooing tattooing a banana skin (yes, that’s right). A few seconds in and I suddenly felt at ease – a fantastic ice-breaker that really got me into the spirit of Tatcon.
Post-banana, I’d settled into the swing of things, and I truly could have wandered around all day… and more. If you’ve never been to a tattoo convention before, I think the best way to describe it would be a cross between an art exhibition and an indoor market.
At Tatcon, there was a really nice atmosphere and everyone was either hard at work or happy to chat away about their art. There was also a large variety of other stalls where you could explore clothing, jewellery, taxidermy and other accessories. There was also a section dedicated to showcasing the history of tattooing in Blackpool, which was really interesting.
Overall, there was a really good mix of artists’ styles: traditional, realism, cartoon, watercolour, portraits and even bamboo tattoo methods. I spent a lot of time admiring Dan JD Robson’s incredible watercolour artwork and I was inspired by EmilTattu’s bright and bold designs. But in truth, female artists stole the day, including Miss Jo Black, Marie Cox, Sophie Brown, Lucy Hawkins/Blue and Ashley Luka.
Both the guys and gals were kicking ass. It’s a rare occasion to have the chance to watch an artist at work, and as a convention first-timer, I feel very lucky to have experienced it.
Words: Rose Adolph
Intro: Beccy Rimmer
Photography: Rose Adolph
Tatcon have announced 2016 dates: