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ook at the Humber bridge for example, yes some would say it was an eyesore; I see it as a thing of engineering and design beauty. Look at The Deep Aquarium, designed by Sir Terry Farell, an amazing angular piece of architecture, which, like the bridge, could be seen as an eyesore, but it stands proud looking out oyer the River Hull and the Humber estuary. Look at the ship yards and repair shops, with the broken shells of once great ships, slowly rusting away. They are, in my bizarre outlook on all tilings decaying, stunningly beautiful. I think people assume that because Hull is one letter away from Dull that that's what it is. You'd be very, very wrong. Where else, on a cold grey day in May, could offer a wonderfully matte backdrop for some very colourful and talented creative people?

Can it be true? Has it really been a whole year since I was last in Hull? It seems like last week! These are some of the questions I was mulling over in my head on the journey down to Kingston-upon-Hull, a journey made a tad longer by the fact we went via Doncaster! (I admit it was my fault, it involved some song I hate and the threat of chucking the CD out of the car window, right at a crucial turn off, but hey-ho, I digress).

As this is the second year out for the Hull Ink convention, I was interested to see how the show had been improved from last year, I wasn't disappointed. The show was again held in the beautiful surroundings of Hull City Hall, a building that I find as intriguing as it is stunning. With its wood panelled and stone carved staircases to its domed and ornate atrium, this venue, ¡ike I said last year, offers a fantastic backdrop for a convention.

As we arrived about an hour after the doors opened, I expected the place to be filled to the rafters, yet I was slightly taken aback by how quiet the main room was compared to last year This was made up for the fact that even though there weren't that many people inside, the atmosphere around the convention was like condensed electricity. Coupled with a real laid-back and chilled vibe, I knew this show was going to be good.

It was awesome to see some regular faces from the circuit including, Bob ur.sktadeep. co.uk Lsslis IBB

Jon Hul Art

As this is the second year out for the Hull Ink convention, I was interested to see how the show had been improved from last year.

Hoyle, Ryan Dames, Kail Fletcher, Mat Lapping, Jan Moat John Anderton (sans sideboards), Hazel from D4L and Mick Tomo, alongside some lesser-known artists like Jess from White Rabbit (who made her debut at Hull last year) and Pavol Dutko.

The show was accompanied by a handful of trade stalls alongside the musical sounds of the cover band, The Chiefs of Leon (no prizes for who they covered) and the street magician Dominic Li, who was wowing punters with his amazing abilities in close up magic. 1 could have spent all O

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The convention rolled on and before long, time seemed to evaporate and it was the hour for the judging and competitions.

day watching him perform various card and rubber band tricks, but unfortunately I had other pressing matters to attend to.

Even though the attendance this year, in my eyes, wasn't as high as last year (probably due to the bank holiday and all the football that was going on) the tattooed faithful who were there were displaying some really canny work, and I had no problems delving in head first into photographing some pretty tight tattoo work.

As usual here are some of my personal highlights from the show. Let's start off big with the Best of event winner Mike by Mat Lapping; boy this guy goes from strength to awesome strength, with his use of bright, bold colour and composition coupling to produce an amazing forearm piece. Mat's work, if you haven't already, I implore you too go take a look: it will make your eyes water!

Staying with stunning colour, I welcome you to feast on Thomas by Pavol Dutko at SKA Tattoo, CZ; in my muddled mind, I can't remember if I have seen Pavol's work before, but flicking through his portfolio I was very impressed, and this cheeky tattoo of a girl licking a toad is no exception. The smoothness of his tattooing and the use of matte-like colour really make this cartoon piece stunning.

Chris and Dave by Jan Moat; these two sleeve pieces are just amazing. Jan's tattooing has gone from strength to dark and twisted strength over the past couple of years. These two black and grey sleeves incorporate solid black and shade with portraiture work which would make your eyes bleed, and his colour work is worth a look too!

To single out Chris here; he sat for a piece a while ago, which was a collaboration between Jan and Mat Lapping, and although these artists come from relatively different backgrounds, the piece they have created together is nothing short of mastery, I'm looking forward to some more collaboration by these two in the future.

Emma by Bob Hoyle; I feel we tend to associate Mr Hoyle with black and grey work, but this full colour three-quarter sleeve is a testament to Bob's versatility as an artist.

Louise by Scott at Ink Vs Steel; this delicate black and grey elephant Ganesh was a great spot by Davinia as I had totally missed it. The subtle shading in this piece looked more like a shaded drawing than a tattoo.

What convention wouldn't be complete without a tip of the proverbial hat to Hazel at Design 4 Life, the Jonny Depp Mad Hatter she laid down on Zara was another great example of Hazel's individual tattooing style, with her cartoon-esque style and use of muted and dark colour made this tattoo just beautiful. A well deserved win in the Colour Small category.

The convention rolled on and before long, time seemed to evaporate and it was the hour for the judging and competitions. This saw a massive turnout of people exhibiting their work for the panel, so many so, that, when it came to the announcements of awards, there

" had to be second and in some cases third recalls of people to be judged; this I feel was down to the sheer body of people with quality work to show. The judging and awards did take some time and a few people fell restless, but I found it a good opportunity to have a little rest and a chat!

After the awards, there were one or two machines still buzzing away to their own solo staccato beat, but it was time, unfortunately, to leave a very dulled, and harmonious convention behind. I just hope the Hull crew can pull another good show out the bag next year and improve on an already solid foundation.

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