Review: Brighton Tattoo Convention

I love tattoo conventions. The constant buzzing of tattoo machines, the array of interesting looking people, the friendly atmosphere,  the smell of disinfectant... I could go on. I’ve been doing the rounds for about five years and I just love how inclusive conventions are and how artists travel from all over the world creating art on the skin of strangers. 

I have to be honest: I didn’t have that usual excitement before attending Brighton Tattoo Convention this year. I used to love attending when the convention was held at The Hilton. We’d go for the whole weekend, maybe have an appointment, maybe get a walk up, watch bands until the early hours and enjoy seeing the work of massive artists and seeing the new ones. Last year, the convention moved to the Brighton Centre and the atmosphere was quite different. There was no on site entertainment, the bars were just corporate bars and the usual artists weren’t there.

While I was hesitant about attending this year, I still couldn't quite keep myself away. I was happy to see so many female artists at this year’s convention, including some of my favourites Tiny Miss Becca, Amy Savage, Charlotte Timmons and some newer female artists that I hadn’t discovered before. One thing I love about the convention is that they always have so many local studios there - if you've walked around Brighton at all, you'll know we have some amazing studios where you can get some great ink on your doorstep. 

The convention did seem smaller this year - the artists were more spread out and there were definitely less traders. I noticed Things & Ink are no longer attending (an awesome mag/blog about female tattoo culture) and big artists like Eckel, Tim Hendriks and Valerie Vargas haven’t returned, which is a shame. While it’s nice to have more British artists, it feels like the convention continues to get smaller.

I was happy to see the entertainment return this year and a Sailor Jerry’s bar nearby - a necessity for a tattoo convention! Conventions build the community and I think its important to have a social aspect available. I really hope that Brighton Tattoo Convention picks up a little next year, continues to support local artists and bring together the local tattoo community.

Written by Rosie.