This was my first visit to the Brighton Tattoo Convention and I am so glad that I went. Brighton is always a pleasure to visit and we stayed at the Artist Residence Hotel a minute’s walk up the hill behind the Hilton Metropole where the convention was being held.
I have only attended the London and Amsterdam Tattoo Conventions in the past and every time didn’t really have much of a clue of who’s who in the tattoo world. All that changed this time around thanks to Instagram since the majority of people I follow on there are tattoo artists most of whom I found through @topuktattooartists.
So beautifully laid out and organised. The staff were friendly and the security very serious haha!
This was sadly the last UK convention for Crispy before he heads back to Australia this year.
Some of the artists really put in the effort to decorate their display tables which I thought was a wonderful touch.
Above, Stu Rollison.
Strangely, my favourite artists were paired with each other in their booths, like in this case with Matt Hart and Sneaky Mitch. And above with Kid Kros and Antony Flemming as well as Crispy Lennox and Cesar Mesquite.
The baby on the left was rotating!
Hannah Keuls at Gilded Cage Tattoo Studio.
I don’t know why I didn’t buy some of these cute bird skull candles! By Gilded Cage.
Valerio Serpetti does amazingly realistic and colourful tattoos.
The convention was perfect. It felt like a boutique convention, like it was almost an invite only affair. It felt intimate and special and every one enjoyed all the beautiful and interesting people who attended, you really couldn’t turn your head in any direction without laying eyes on an attractive person!
Dan Chase‘s art is amazing.
I was really taken with the beauty of this woman.
My beautiful friend Fran.
Having a better idea of tattoo artists made it all the more exciting being able to see in person the people behind the art and in some cases meet them. My friend and I had a chat with Kid Kros as he and my friend are both from Croatia. I was surprised that there wasn’t a cue around the corner for Kid Kros as his work is phenomenal and he is based in Croatia. I did my best to persuade him to get a residency in the UK where he would be kept very busy.
I also met in person Antony Flemming and his beautiful girlfriend Belle Jorden who’s stunning chest piece he did. I feel like I was somewhat instrumental in getting him a booth at the convention by badgering anyone who would listen about him needing a place there! I was happy to pick up a beautiful print from him too but unfortunately didn’t have the funds to book in with him this time around. He is on my list however, along with Kid Kros and Sneaky Mitch.
The first day I simply introduced myself to my artist, Ian Parkin, bought three of his prints and then went round the convention to see who was attending and check out the handful of vendors. I got to meet Alice the woman behind new women’s tattoo culture magazine Things & Ink and we later chatted about ideas for me to write for the magazine in a future edition.
Alice on the left doing an impromptu photo shoot with a fan who just got a lamp tattoo that is similar to the one on Alice’s left arm.
Upstairs I found a gallery of some artwork from a variety of the artists in attendance and a large mural that anyone could colour in with the markers provided which I thought was a wonderful way to make people feel included and involved and for them to leave their own mark.
I was delighted to meet George who is a caricature artist and who painted my likeness in about 4 minutes including capturing my “crazy eyes” which was just amazing to me, what an incredible talent!
The buzz of tattoo machines combined with the smell of antiseptic was making me itch to get my tattoo done but I had to wait till Sunday afternoon before it was my turn and finally I got to sit down after weeks of waiting in anticipation. Ian worked super fast and got almost all of the line work done before the fire alarm in the hotel went off and we were all told to evacuate! An entire tattoo convention then converged on the main beach road in front of the hotel, some wrapped in silver blankets, all making passers by stare in wonder and the strange and beautiful people crowding the streets.
After about half an hour we were let back in all shivering and ready for a stiff drink but it was to be another two hours before I could have that drink and by that point I really needed it.
Ian did an amazing job on my tattoo but oh hell did it hurt! I’m not sure if tattoos have always hurt this bad and I’ve just forgotten about it, or if I was just extra sensitive that day but it was all I could do to not to grimace and even almost cry. I think I may have punched Ian in the leg a couple of times too! I was told I was really tough for sitting through such a big tattoo, but I felt like I acted like a little bitch in all honesty. By the end of it, I was really irritated, sore and raw. I really enjoyed the double Sailor Jerry rum and coke we had once it was all done and wrapped up. I also liked sneaking home my black Sailor Jerry rum cup it was served in.
My other favourite item I picked up at the convention was this cheeky t shirt from Tattoos By Joel. Definitely a new favourite of mine! I love to rock the proverbial boat 😉
Outside of the tattoo area I found the vendor section and bar which was a welcome respite from the heat of the tattooing area and was swathed in red lights and fabric draped from the ceiling with bands performing throughout the event.
Missy Le Pink performing between selling her 100% natural, vegan, chemical and cruelty free tattoo tonic of which I bought a small pot which I am using to nurse my tattoo.
This little baby had some serious ‘tood! Loved her! Her mommy makes a line of baby clothes for badass babies too.
Curiosities vendor Eaton Nott had all manner of weird and wonderful things could be found here and they make the most incredible head pieces that have been used in editorial fashion shoots and worn at weddings. I found a similar shop in New York that I spent about an hour in just looking at all the strange and bizarre things one could buy.
Pickled puppies anyone?
I absolutely fell in love with Kerry Evans‘ incredible artwork. I want so much from her collection!
This black crow painting was my favourite.
Tessa Metcalfe who makes this jewellery told me that she casts pigeon feet in bronze and then coats them in sterling silver. I really loved the foot holding the ball, which actually moves so you can turn it absent mindedly while you’re thinking up your next tattoo design. I didn’t have £85 to buy it, but one day I might.
The entire weekend was just fantastic. I loved attending the convention and will definitely go next year if I am in the UK when it is on. Thank you to Woody and his team for a wicked awesome convention, can’t wait for next year!