the point where you are paralysed and can't decide. Research artists and find one that does the kind of work you want, don't be afraid to ask tattooists questions either; if they don't want to make the time to listen, do you really want them working on you?"
Johanna made some good points about how it's a tough industry to start out in, it consumes your entire life and you can never afford to have an off-day, "For me it is important to love the tattoo I am doing, after ail it has my name on it so it had better be fucking spot on! Ha ha, that should be my motto. I want people to have good memories of me". It's good to see S
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afraid to ask, but be prepared to listen to and accept the feedback and advise that you get given". Wez4 expands on this point,"If you are supposed to be a tattooist someone out there will give you the chance. Just because your mum and your best mates say you are good it doesn't mean you are... If no one gives your portfolio the time of day you simply are not good enough. It's not the Hollywood lifestyle you see on TV, it is hard work for those who care, but its those that care that last".
At a time when most people in the industry are complaining about it being mainstream, Mike has a much more rounded point of view about the effect on the industry, " It's in a good place, people are wanting quality and there are more people out there who can deliver it. The standards in the industry are being pushed higher and higher and I can't wait to see what's next!".
Nick probably has the best advise for someone who is new to tattoos, "Get involved and come to us for it. Only kidding, think hard about what you want and where. Don't obsess too much though, otherwise you get to iBBLie 1R4 iv IVVLT. 5ki ndeitp.co. uk 21
people taking such pride in their work, we have all seen too many footballers and celebrities with lots of time and money sporting terrible tattoos where patchy shading and poor line work is obvious even from the ___
photos in the tabloids. Unfortunately this kind of celebrity worship, and artists selling their careers on the back on shoddy work on dubiously famous non-personalities, has made many artists reluctant to talk about, whom they have tattooed in case they look like they are fame chasing. In this interview it meant that I almost didn't get to find out that JJ had tattooed Joe Strummer (of the Clash) a few years before he passed away. Having spent 15 years working on his ait and craft, it is safe to say that JJ isn't trying to get credibility or acceptance by name-dropping. In an increasingly 'instant' and disposable culture, which seems to be spreading to tattooing too, it's refreshing to speak to someone so down to earth.
Jim4's closing statement is a pretty good summary of what makes it all worth the hard work, "We are lucky to have friends at Pearl in Kent like Marcus and Martin Ox. We also have guest artists who are great friends like Chris Hatton, Norm from the States, Taliami from Japan andBerckart from Germany. It's been really good to meet all these people and to work with such genuine talent. That's why we started!
They have all been there for me. like a rock and given me the hope to keep alive and kicking, for that I am forever grateful and respectful".^*
IT'S BEEN REALLY GOOD TO MEET ALL THESE PEOPLE AND TO WORK WITH SUCH GENUINE TALENT. THAT'S WHY WE STARTED!
The venue was pretty empty when I arrived at the Gold Coast Exhibition Hall but outside the sun is scorching and the streets are filled with sparsely dad women and men who seem to enjoy showing off their bodies. Sunglasses are a must, Billabong shorts and blond streaks and a windswept hairdo are also recommended.
Inside the exhibition hall also features people with an urge to show off their skin art, but it's not the same goods on display. Weil, not entirely anyway. In this case it's body art, and as always the visitors draw almost as much attention as the artists and their portfolios. The convention features about a hundred artists and the man behind it all, Marco Ventura, is happy with the outcome.
"It all comes back to the fact that I am a tattoo artist myself. I know a lot of these guys and they know I've got an independent vision. So I've had a lot of help from magazines and support from other artists abroad".
Besides being the head organizer and tattooing at Satisfaction Art he also manages Custom Magazine. He's originally from Lima, Peru and the idea of organizing a convention came to Marco while tattooing at a convention in Amsterdam, three or four years ago.
"I had been attending conventions for about five years so I asked myself why we didn't have one in Australia? The only tiling we had was small, local shows run by different clubs. So I started planning this one".
A brief look through the program shows that Marco has managed to pull together quite a few artists from overseas. Alex from Rites of Passage in Denmark, Wick Morte from Norway, Gilles Lovisa from Tahiti, Xio Dong from Mummy Tattoo in China and Bob Tyrrell, Mike DeVries and whole lot more from the States are just a few who came to work.
And there's no mistaking who the biggest star is. People constantly surround his booth during the two days he's actually tattooing and visitors as well as the organizers and
The idea of organizing a convention came to Marco while tattooing at a convention in Amsterdam, three or four years ago.
other tattoo artists are talking about the two portraits he does at the convention. And they both make it into the top four in the Best in Show-competition. One of them takes home the title wliile the other lias to be content with winning first prize in Best colour portrait. Nikko Hurtado from Black Anchor Collective in USA even gets to sign autographs.
"It's a bit strange. I mean, I'm just a tattoo artist", he says and shrugs his shoulders. It's his first visit to Australia and he's more than happy so far. Even though he, like every other international artist, had to take Queensland's special two-hour health and sanitation course the day before the convention started.
"It's the only thing with Australia, their rules, and I honestly didn't think I'd pass.O
went ok. Otherwise it's been awesome. I've always wanted to go to Australia and when I talked to the organizer he seemed cool. They've treated me well and it's been really busy. I even talked to some older tattooists, who have been doing tliis for 30 years, and they were cool. Normally they're a bit harder than the younger generation".
On Saturday there's a lot more people. In the afternoon there's a long line just to get in. A couple of winners were crowned already on Friday, some more today and Sunday features the big, most prestigious contests.
The quality of the tattoos made at the convention is generally very high, and it's predominantly portraits and realistic styles that the Australians seem to enjoy at the moment.
"It's been a trend the last four years or so", Marco Ventura says. There are a lot
"It's been a trend the last four years or so", Marco Ventura says. There are a lot of painters and airbrush artists who have become tattooists and they have different influences to the classic tattoo artist.
j of painters and airbrush artists who have become tattooists and they have different influences to the classic tattoo artist. Also they've started to check out more international artists for inspiration.
"There's not a lot of black and grey around", Nick Morte says, "but a lot of fantastic colour tattoos".
"It's like the old school never made it here", Nikko Hurtado says. I talked to some Australian artists and they told me that the whole 50's style never caught on here, not just the tattoos.
And if you look around you quickly notice that the rockabilly guys you normally see at European conventions are almost never to be found. Among the girls it's a bit more common though, and Marco and his crew seem set on bringing it back to life. In the convention you can buy clothes and get your hair done 50's style, and two of the days there's a pin up parade.
Sunday also attracts s fair deal of people. The big competitions are held as the first international convention in Australia is coming to an end, and Marco has already
started planning next year's event. His general goal is to spread the tattoo culture in Australia and get as many international artists as possible to come over, but he also has plans to widen the spectra of the convention.
"Next year it will be more of a tattoo and art convention. I have some ideas and I've had people calling me already about wanting to participate".
We'll see what happens.
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