Ink & Iron (2010)

Tattoo [node-title]
Published: 09 November, 2010 - Featured in Skin Deep 186, June, 2010

After two years absence from the UK tattoo show scene, the Ink & Iron Tattoo Convention gladly opened its doors to the public. All be it in an new, smaller venue after a few political issues that abruptly stopped the show taking place at the NEC.


The Ink & Iron is the longest running show in the UK, notching up close to fifteen successful shows.


This year the organisers had moved the convention to a nightclub on the shores of Edgbaston reservoir and on this bright, sunny and warm Sunday, many flocked to the venue to help welcome back an old friend to the show scene.


I took the opportunity to head down to Birmingham on my bike and the ride down was wonderful, blowing the cobwebs out of not only myself but my bike too. Along the way I met up with quite a few others who had the same idea and arriving at the venue, I was greeted by a vast array of heavy metal in the guise of chops, trikes and bikes, all lined up against the shore of the lake, making for an impressive sight. 


As the name suggests the Ink & Iron has in the past, combined both a superb collection of tattooists and custom bikes. This year the Iron part of the show was a little on the thin side but talking to one of the organisers he said that as it was a new venue, they wanted to see how things worked out and are hoping to increase the custom bike display further next year.


Inside, the first thing I noticed was the lack of lighting – not a good start for a tattoo convention - still, this is something that will be addressed next year and as tattooists are the mothers of invention, all sorted out their own lights, so things got started pretty quickly.


The sizeable queue outside started to shuffle in and the show got on the road and the familiar tattoo machine sound filtered through the building.


Wandering about the venue I couldn’t help thinking that this show was somewhat hastily put together and the booths could have been more defined but again, the artists settled themselves down to a day of putting ink into the skin. No sooner had they started than the first band hit the stage. Sadly they were turned up to eleven and as always happens at many shows, everyone was drowned out by the excessive noise until they finished their set. On the subject of bands, there was a female Ramones tribute band, now I’m not a Ramones fan and think that they couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket and these ladies, although very enthusiastic, made me want to stick pencils in my ears. Just my opinion you understand, and it must be hard to get tunes to please every palate.


By now many of the artists had started to produce some real nice tattoo work. The artists list consisted of about 35 mostly UK artists, with Lawrence Ah Ching hand tapping on a plinth in the middle of the room. Artists of note included John Treharne, Terry Fuller, Amanda West, Dawnii and Kev Shercliffe. There was a healthy selection of Birmingham’s finest but with a noticeable absence of guys like the Modern Body Art crew, Leah Moule, Rich Pearson and Helen Brown but to be honest, I doubt if the organisers could have fitted any more artists in.


Robb and Ruth from Eternal Tattoos were also on hand to offer their unique blend of black and grey work. It was fantastic to see Ruth working her first show after a long period of self-doubt and child rearing, but she said after, she thoroughly enjoyed and couldn’t wait to do more. It’s so nice that folk will get a chance again to get some of your superb artwork Ruth.


As the afternoon moved on, the judging started strangely in a room behind the stage, which I thought was quite odd actually denying the audience a view of the work being judged. Later there was a ‘Tattoo Parade’ on stage but this could have easily been combined with the judging as the show and tell was a little on the quiet side, with many not choosing to show off their ink to the crowd.


The venue was quite well suited to a tattoo convention with a raised balcony running along one side, giving the public a good view of the guys working on the ground floor.


As the day wore on, we were treated to a suspension act with Alice and her cohorts suspending themselves from hooks in a pastiche of a French restaurant set, which looked visually interesting; getting gasps and looked upon slack-jawed at their fakir-type feats.


Not long after, the awards were handed out and as per, folk started to leave, including myself. I had a long (and very cold!) ride home, but I was kept warm by the fond memories of the new Ink & Iron show.


So the Ink & Iron was a huge success and I have no doubt, got its foot firmly back on the rungs of the tattoo convention ladder with the rebirth of a superb show. Next year I am assured, will be bigger, better and dare I say it – brighter?  I can’t wait.




Male Individual

Steve by Tommi @ No Regrets, Cheltenham


Female Individual

Aimee by Tommi @ No Regrets, Cheltenham


Black and Skin

Dan by Ken Denny


Male Tribal

Wes by Spider


Female Tribal

Tasha by Dawnii @ Painted Lady



Jake by Craven



Hazel by Paul Rollett @ Eclipse Tattoos, Derby


Male Leg

Chris by John Treharne @ Skin Creations, Cardiff


Female Leg

Hazel by Paul Rollett @ Eclipse Tattoos, Derby


Male Sleeve

Rob by Tommi @ No Regrets, Cheltenham


Female Sleeve

Dianne by John Treharne @ Skin Creations, Cardiff


Male Back

Paul by Spacey @ Bizarre Ink, Scotland


Female Back

Ruth by Robb @ Eternal Tattoos, Dorking


Male done at convention

Danny by Donna Reid @ Infinite Ink, Coventry


Female done at convention

Vicky by Muff


Tattoo artist of convention

John Treharne @ Skin Creations, Cardiff




Skin Deep 186 1 June 2010 186