Berlin Tattoo Convention (2009)

Tattoo [node-title]
Published: 28 October, 2010 - Featured in Skin Deep 185, May, 2010

Berlin’s International Tattoo convention has come a long way from its humble beginnings in a bar during the 90’s. The number of visitors has continued to increase year by year to the 10,000 who attended in 2009. 


Berlin. The leading cultural capital of the 1920’s is today characterised by its dazzling modernity and breathtaking architecture. No other landmark symbolises German history better than Berlin’s signature attraction, the Brandenburg Gate. When the Berlin wall fell in 1989, thousands of East and West Germans celebrated the opening of the borders and re-unification of Germany. The Brandenburg gate has a magical appeal for all visitors to Berlin, from heads-of-state to tourists. Berlin is dynamic, cosmopolitan and creative, allowing for every kind of lifestyle.


This year, Frank Weber, manager of B52 tattoo, organised the event at Arena Berlin, after the convention outgrew its previous venues. Arena Berlin easily housed all 160 working artists, along with the many visitors who attended.


Tattoos are not a product of the modern era. The art of marking the skin goes back centuries, with tattooing in the Western world having its origins in Polynesia. After the discovery of ‘tatau’ by eighteenth century explorers Bougainville and Cook, this Polynesian tradition became popular amongst European soldiers, who brought the practice back to Western society.


Tattooing has been in practice since Neolithic times. Otzi the iceman is the oldest human to be found with markings on his skin that appear to be medicinal in purpose. Nowadays, tattoos can be an expression of individuality, personality, or a rite of passage. Many famous people wear tattoos, such as Madonna, Bon Jovi and Robbie Williams.


First considered exclusively as a way of showing membership in a social group, tattoos, and techniques, have evolved over the last few decades. This is, in part, due to the changing fashions of the rock, hippy, and punk movements. 


The word tattooing comes from the Samoan "tatu" meaning "to strike" as this was part of their technique. Multiple assistants manually stretch the skin taut. The tattooist then uses two tools, one being a bone tipped rake and the other the striking stick. The rake is dipped in ink then struck with the other stick to puncture the skin. The traditional tattoo stands at the show attracted many a curious spectator.


Today’s tattoo machines move a solid needle up and down to puncture the skin between 50 and 3,000 times per minute. The needle penetrates the skin by about a millimeter, and deposits a drop of insoluble ink into the skin with each puncture.


Tattooists from all over the world were able to share their knowledge with fellow artists, and make contact with tattoo enthusiasts. 


One of these artists was Jess Yen from the USA, the creator of the ‘My Tattoo’ family, with 16 years of tattooing experience. Jess Yen offered both traditional hand-poked tattoos and those done with a modern machine. He specialises in Oriental art with elements of realism. 


Born and raised in Taiwan, his background in Chinese and Japanese culture as well as his unique style has attracted a list of clientele that are booked up to two years in advance.


Jess won several prizes over the weekend, including first prize in the Asian category, first prize in the black and grey category, and second prize for his portrait.


The attractions this year were plentiful, with the crowning of the Tattoo Queen 2010, Maori dances, body painting, concerts and other performances.


However, one of the main attractions was Herbert Hoffman. Visitors were able to talk to the tattooed 79 year-old, who will blow out his 80th birthday candle on December 30th.


Every year, Berlin’s International Tattoo convention organise a Tattoo Queen. Miss Karen Hesse was last year’s winner, and this year she graciously handed her title to the new Queen. Any woman with a minimum of two tattoos can enter herself into the competition. The first prize is an all-expenses-paid 3 day-trip to a European convention of their choice.


Art fusion was an event challenging artists, in groups of four, under timed conditions to create artwork in acrylics, chalks and charcoal. The ten paintings produced were auctioned off, and the proceeds given to Arche in Berlin, a charity supporting starving children.



Asia :

1st .. Andi Tran, Artist .. Jess Yen @ My Tattoo, L.A (USA)

2nd .. Ken Daniel, Artist .. Noi @ Siamese 3-1969 Tattoo (Norway)

3rd .. Andreas, Artist .. Avishi @ Ink Junkies (Israel)

Best of Friday :

1st .. Kohai, Artist .. Jess Yen @ My Tattoo (USA)

Best of Saturday

1st .. Michael Przsbya, Artist .. Tofi @ Ink-Ognito (Poland)

Best of Show

1st .. Gordon, Artist .. Volko @ BuenaVista Tattoo Club (G)

Best of Sunday

1st .. Volko @ BuenaVista Tattoo Club (G)


1st .. Stephan, Artist .. Lenu @ Alien Tattoo (Poland)

2nd .. Mario, Artist .. Leszek Jasina @ Gonzo Stettin (Poland)

3rd .. Przemek, Artist .. Leszek Jasina @ Gonzo Stettin (Poland)

Black & White

1st .. Andy, Artist .. Jess Yen @ My Tattoo (USA)

2nd .. Daniel A., Artist .. Anabi @ Anabi Stettin (Poland)

3rd .. Miet, Artist .. Tofi @ Ink-Ognito (Poland)


1st ..  Zsolt, Artist .. Boris (Hungary)

2nd .. Anna, Artist .. Noi Siamese3-1969 Tattoo (Noraway)

3rd .. Marco, Artist .. Anabi @ Anabi Stettin (Poland)


1st .. Manuela, Artist .. Marcus @ All Style Tattoo (G)

2nd .. Kazik, Artist .. Anabi @ Anabi Tattoo (Poland)

3rd .. Jule, Artist .. Daschke @ InvaderInk


1st .. Tofi, Artist .. Ink-Ognito (Poland)

2nd .. Darek, Artist .. Bartosz @ Gulestus (Poland)

3rd .. Manu, Artist .. Jürgen Weilhammer @ Fractopia (G)


1st .. Trond Hammari (Norway)

2nd .. Martin (G)

3rd .. Tomasz (Poland)


1st .. Barbara, Artist .. BARA @ Tribo Tattoo (Tschechin)

2nd .. Edek, Artist .. Ag Rypa @ Kult Tattoo (Poland)

3rd .. John Carpenter, Artist .. Ricky Sta Ana Jayson Skinworkz (Philippine)


1st .. Hannah

2nd .. Kohei, Artist .. Jess Yen @ My Tattoo, L.A.(USA)

3rd .. Tomek, Artist .. Anabi @ Anabi Tattoo (Poland)


1st .. Asia, Artist .. Broda @ Hand of Good (Poland)

2nd .. Timo, Artist .. David @ Reinkarnation Tattoo (G)

3rd .. Peter, Artist .. Bartek @ Bart Tattoo (Poland)


1st .. Mattias, Artist .. Peter Bobek @ Tribo Tattoo (tschechin)

2nd .. Virgil, Artist .. Phil Kyle @ Magnum Opus (UK)

3rd .. John, Artist .. Coney Island Demon (Sweden)

Tattoo Queen 2010

Carina Jost (G)


Text & Photography: Daniel Pissondes


Skin Deep 185 1 May 2010 185