Berlin Convention '08

Published: 01 April, 2009 - Featured in Skin Deep 169, February, 2009

Berlin literally comes to life in the wintertime with over sixty Christmas markets, circuses and a plethora of winter sports held at the Potsdamer Platz. Aside from these festive activities, many people flock to the country’s capital to meet up at Germany’s top tattoo convention.

The Berlin tattoo convention is in it's eighteenth year now and is just as popular as ever. So over the weekend of 5th-7th of December, the convention opened its doors to the cold but enthusiastic public. Again, Berlin showcases some of the best tattooists from all over the world, all eager to impart their skills in tattooing and their vast knowledge of the industry.

In spite of the bitterly cold weather, many people queued up to have access to the biggest and longest running convention in Europe and take a walk around the stands of tattoo artists and see them working. All weekend, the assembled tattooists worked non-stop producing some stunning artwork, much of which you will see here.

This year Franck Weber the manager of the convention and also the manager of his own tattoo studio called “B52 Tattoo” had invited over one hundred and fifty tattoo artists, and more than twenty Suppliers & Merchandise.

In 1991 the first international Tattoo Convention started in a small location called ‘Trash’ in Berlin. At that time you could count the number of tattoo studios in Berlin on one hand. Not so these days. The organisers soon realised that they needed a bigger venue and swiftly moved the show to the much larger Colombia Hall but again, demand grew and they finally settled in the current venue, the Berlin arena.

After eighteen years, Frank and his team know a thing or two about putting on a tattoo convention so this year’s show had a wonderful selection of amassed artists, many of whom do not work at other conventions, so there was a definite uniqueness in Berlin. With over one hundred and fifty international artists attending, there was a selection of every tattoo style and technique on offer to the public.

A traditional artist called Vatea from Tahiti laments that traditional handmade tattoos are nearly forgotten in our culture. Besides several top tattoo artists from USA such as Victor Policheri of Apocalypse Tattoo, this year also includedartists from Peking and Bangkok whom work with traditional techniques and tools were here for the first time.

The most tattooed women, Isobel Varley and Elaine Davidson (most pierced woman) were there to meet people. Isobel is always more than welcome to talk to folk and have her photo taken with them but Elaine was her usual self and wouldn’t allow anyone to take photos of her, which is a bit odd considering the way she has adorned her body with piercings.

Every year, Frank likes to organise a ‘Tattoo Queen’ Contest at the tattoo convention. Last year’s contest in 2007, Miss Hong Mei won the prize and took the crown back to China. This year she gave the tittle and crown to a new Tattoo Queen 2008.

For this year’s competition, every woman could present herself as long as they have at least two tattoos.

The winner gets a flight and a three-day stay at a European Tattoo convention of her choice. Very nice too!

Also she will be invited to hand over the title and crown to the next Tattoo Queen in 2009.

As well as all the other things going on at the show there was the by now familiar Art Fusion project taking place with up to four artists working on a single canvas, each given an allotted time to work. The proceeds of this event were kindly passed over to a social project in Berlin called ‘Arche’, which aims to help starving children in the city.

Next year’s convention will be held in the same venue in December 2009. For more info on the show please log onto:


Text and Photography: Daniel Pissondes


Skin Deep 169 1 February 2009 169