NI Tattoo Convention | Review
Waterfront Hall, Belfast • 28 – 29 May 2016
By Melanie Brehaut | Photography Darren Mcveigh
The 6th NI Tattoo Convention rolled around again this May Day Bank Holiday weekend, but this year there was something different about it: having well and truly outgrown its previous home in the Ulster Hall, it was moved to the recently extended Waterfront Hall beside the picturesque River Lagan.
As well as allowing people to move around more freely, the move also meant that the variety of the stalls increased, as well as the ability to properly showcase the competition entrants, as the Waterfront is equipped with both a lower stage (allowing people at the front to see) and a bigger screen. It certainly proved to be a win-win situation, and one that means that the convention can continue to grow.
As mentioned there was a real increase in the number of stalls this year; convention goers could indulge their desire to spend their hard earned cash on more than just tattoos. New additions included the Comic Book Guys, Forever Living Products, beautiful handmade trinkets from Ember Jewellery, Sullen Art Clothing, a sweetie stall (yum!), pinball machines, a professional photographer and the Comfy Geek cushions. Returning were favourites from last year such as Bella Muerte clothing and accessories, Holdfast Piercing, Abrade Tattoo Removal and two stalls selling ink and machines to the tattoo artists. Also new this year was a cosplay area which included talks, displays and opportunities to purchase various cosplay items.
Of course the main focus is on the tattoo artists and their work. This year, although there were a few national and international artists such as Dasier Navarro (Holland), Leah Moule (England) and Samoan tattoo specialist Lawrence Ah Ching, the predominant accent was a local one. And what a smorgasbord of talent there was on display from them: from traditional, to intricate portraits, to fantasy and sci fi pieces, the quality was simply outstanding. From Zombie Bunny Ink’s Karen Hogg’s quirky pop art pieces to Alan Hindes’ breathtaking black and grey animal portraits to White Dragon’s Chris Crooks’ superb Japanese work (Crooks scooped four trophies: Best Backpiece, Best Japanese, Large Colour and Best Sleeve), the attention to detail and beauty of every artist’s work was stunning.
Northern Ireland may be a small place but the standard of work coming from our tattoo artists should make everyone proud. See you next year for the 7th NI Tattoo Convention – who knows what will be there to dazzle us then!
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