Skin Deep 191

As the world descended on Tobacco Dock for the London Tattoo Convention this past weekend, you could be forgiven for thinking there was little more to life. To say it was ‘busy’ would be an understatement.

Across three days, some of the world’s greatest worked non-stop on those lucky enough to have bagged appointments - and over the weekend, I made it my goal to seek out those who were pushing the boundaries of what could be achieved on skin. After the heart-warming response to the Buena Vista feature in the last issue, I feel justified in thinking that the time is right to push the envelope even further. Simply watching the hundreds and hundreds of people flooding to see what Volko and Simone had to offer was touching. The crowds were sincerely interested in watching them work, talking about ideas they had for their own designs and of course, booking appointments for the future.

So who are these other artists? What does the future hold in store? That would be telling - but we certainly have enough material in the bag to make the next year at Skin Deep worth sticking around for. But wait - there’s more...

On both this and the traditional side, the quality of work being output right now is breathtaking - and I’m also including in this statement the guys who build new machines for use in the studio right across to the ink manufacturers who, although behind the scenes, are pretty much unsung heroes in some corners - there’s a new found feeling about tattoo art right now. It’s a good feeling. A feeling that despite a little bad press and a bit of infighting (which let’s face it, you can find anywhere human beings are forced to co-exist), things are looking pretty damn good.

I know this because - convention aside - over the last few weeks, I’ve dropped into quite a few studios as well and found shop owners to be raising the game on all fronts. Not only in the way cleanliness and hygiene are observed, but also in the little things. The way art is displayed, the way customer service has come to the front of their businesses - aftercare also appears to have gone through something of a 21st century revolution. This isn’t just my opinion; this is also the opinion of our readers who are now better informed than ever before. It’s 2010 and collectors are willing to travel great distances or wait for the conventions to have the artist they want work on them rather than having to accept an imitation.

This last week, I also happened upon a discussion on Radio 2 of all places, which was prompted by the comments made by Pim de Lange – the boss of ferry giant Stena. When asked why he was reluctant to employ British sailors as part of his crew, he reportedly responded that British sailors were ‘quite fat’, ‘covered in tattoos’, and ‘not fit for the job’. Apparently, he says he was misquoted but it brought the debate centre stage as caller after caller clashed heads on the subject of tattoos in the workplace. If you want to share your opinion on this or have a story to tell, check out the blog post on Big Tattoo Planet called The Art of Working.

Bring it on…

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