International Brussels Tattoo Convention 2010

Published: 22 March, 2011 - Featured in Skin Deep 194, November, 2010

After 13 years, the Brussels Tattoo Convention is back in the spotlight of the European convention scene. November the 13th and 14th saw its long-awaited comeback with the Belgian convention displaying a very attractive European and international programme, in the north of the city.

In spite of the gloomy weather, the cosmopolitan public, mainly from Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands came en masse to answer the call of the sizzling needles and although it sometimes required a certain patience to access the heart of the old warehouse from the doors' opening time it was all worth it – in fact, compared to other conventions, the closing hours were a lot earlier than usual!

On the downside, there was the odd flat note in the organisation but we forgot it fast once in the aisles. After a bit of wandering in the Kustom Car exhibition and in the very friendly 50's market, we had the pleasure to discover again the amazing work of the 140 artists present here - most of them regulars like Art Corpus, Left Hand Black, Harizanmai, Tribo Tattoo or Todd Noble to name a few. Old school, Art Brut, dot work - every style is well represented with a few interesting discoveries too which all goes to confirm what we have suspected for a very long time from visiting the European conventions - keep an eye on eastern European artists! Austria, Hungary, Poland - numerous emerging artists offer some technically impeccable and especially creative work as we already acknowledged during the last Kracow convention. 

Let's not forget the Belgian scene though. The booths of La main Bleue, Tendre Furie, Needle Empire, La Boucherie Moderne are constantly full of people. A constant crowd surrounds the French-Chinese Migoii, where two shaded back pieces are done simultaneously by two teams of three tattooists.

At every turn of a corner, the convention plays host to burlesque shows, rockabilly concerts, and every day ends up with the usual tattoo contests, where Buena Vista Tattoo Club and James (Celtic Moon - Hungary) won the Best of the day trophy. 

In others, Marco Cerretelli (Spotlight tattoo) and Paul & Friends (Brussels) won respectively the "best old school" and the "best of realistic" pieces.

In conclusion, despite the oftentime random organisation, this Belgian convention comeback can claim a more than respectable turn-out, and intends to continue next year - having already confirmed the date for October 2011 


Tin Tin & Lucky Luke

Brussels may not be the first city that springs to mind when it comes to art culture but it certainly has more than it's fair share.

Notably, Brussels gave birth to a couple of the world's most loved characters - Tin Tin and Lucky Luke - a walk around some of the lesser streets stand testament to this with the city walls being painted with large comic book characters. It also hosts the Belgian Comics museum which is a must for anybody intrigued by the art form. For those who like to play on the other side of the cultural coin, it is also home to The Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium which is home to collections from Bruegel, Campin and Jordaens amongst others.

They also make some good chocolate. At least that's what we're told...


Text & Photography: P-Mod Photography