Derby’s State of the Art tattoo, body art and music festival kicked off to a storming start on Saturday 17th July 2010, marking the tenth anniversary of this legendary convention weekender. Queuing punters filled the main hall setting the tempo for a very busy weekend indeed.
Over 100 artists were kept busy and it was great to have the opportunity to watch several pieces taking shape over the course of the two days. From my vantage point on the stall belonging to local heroes Lifetime Tattoo, I could see the Russian dolls piece by Adam Nelson taking shape on the leg of his client Kelly. This was just one of the many interesting and excellent tattoos underway and it was an honour to watch the artists at work. Jason Butcher’s high impact black and grey work continues to impress and his portrait of Dave Grohl was stunning to behold.
Despite the strong attendance from some great tattooers from out of town, it would be hard to ignore the concentration of brilliant artists from the Midlands. Gathered in one room, the strength of tattoo talent based in the Midlands makes a Brummie boy like me very proud. Leah Moule was a pleasure to watch at work and the Modern Body Art contingent continued to excel, represented by Mat Hunt and new crew member Rachel McCarthy.
The Derby venue ensured that much of the ink on display was done by either the Lifetime or 7th Day studios. The artists from both shops should be proud of their work which was showcased at the convention. I was particularly impressed with Amy’s wings by Kev at 7th Day and the pink lilies inked on Tony by Ben at Lifetime. That said; it was hard to choose a favourite.
Joolz Denby continued to innovate with her art on Saturday, combining her work as a poet and a tattooer in the same piece. The script from Joolz’s poem ‘Redemption’ in her own inimitably beautiful writing style was inked onto Helen’s leg. This is to be the first of several sittings where a different piece of the poem is tattooed onto a different body part - a rare and unique tattoo and one which both parties found superbly fulfilling.
The slick organisation was evident throughout this well planned and well established event and there was plenty of support available for artists, traders and punters alike. A noteworthy addition to the usual convention fare was the trade only artists’ area where tattooers can purchase the tools of their trade and where traders can showcase their wares. Other attractions included a plethora of gift and clothing stalls, café, bars, burlesque girls and live music performances.
Yes, State of the Art has it all, and lots of it too. See you there next year!