Montreal '06

Published: 17 December, 2009 - Featured in Skin Deep 141, January, 2007

Montreal is the largest city in Quebec and the second largest in Canada, with a metropolitan population of 3,359,000. Montreal is one of two large islands in this part of the St. Laurent River (the other, Jesus Island, includes Laval and several other communities) and its highest point, Mount Royal, is 761 ft/ 232m high Montreal’s climate varies a lot over the year. The city is known for its cold winters, but it also benefits from hot and generally sunny summers.


It was in the centre town of Montreal that Pascal organized his 4th Tattoo convention in the old goods and passenger station. Completed in February 1889, Windsor Street Terminus, as it was known then, included a freight depot and passenger terminus. It appears like a huge castle in the middle of town and shelters trade and offices today as well as the centre Bell, a stage with 20000 seats, hosting hockey matches.   

The weekend of the 23 - 24th of September hosted the tattoo convention, which occupied the building and hosted a plethora of tattooists from all over the world. The convention in Montreal has a very good reputation and attracted many top names in the field of Body art.    

The entrance into the big room of this station from the Thirties capped with a huge glass roof encased in a metallic frame is superb and impressive. More than 100 booths for tattooing were available and there was more than 150 tattooists showing off their designs in books or on computers; they also gave valuable advice to the general public, helping the to get the design just right.

At the bottom of the room a dais dominates the spectators and above draws up a bronze statue (Winged) was created by Canadian sculptor Cœur de Lion McCarthy as a memorial honouring those Canadian Pacific employees who sacrificed their lives in the great war.   

Pascal comes from a background of motorbike show production team and got a lot of help from Pierre, Valerie and Genevieve, all friends of Pascals’. They worked all the year to make necessary arrangements and invite the tattooists and to organize this 3-day convention. Pascal is no newcomer to arranging tattoo conventions as he has organised the Laval meadows convention in Montreal for the past 9 years. The convention sort of feels a little like a custom bike show as well as a tattoo convention. At the end of the year after having selected the most beautiful motorbikes and the most beautiful girls, Pascal publishes a calendar in order that every one can have a visual remember month after month about this gathering of tattooists. The 2007 calendar is already finished and on sale.    

Several different styles of tattooing were available at the tattoo convention: tattooing known as modern with the electric tattoo machine and more traditional tattooing with a rod which is soaked in ink and the tattooist taps the rod with the needles into the skin with another stick.    

The Japanese tattooists of the Horitoshi Family use a long needle attached to a long pole to affect some stunning designs in the flesh. Mo’ O Tatau: Pili Mo’ O manages a tattoo studio in Tenerife in the Canary Islands and learned his tattooing art from a Master of the Pacific Islands who taught him the technique with the bamboo. His work it is completely traditional including using a wild boar tooth, which he will lay out on the rod of bamboo and with which he will tattoo.    

During the weekend, seminars were organised for the professionals on various topics. For example on Saturday, Bob Tyrrell tackled the following subject:    

Portrait and black & grey technique. This seminar covers all aspects of doing a realistic portrait from start to finish as well as black and grey technique in general-achieving smooth grey washes etc, Attendees will receive a booklet written by Bob that contains chaptered notes with finished tattoo samples. (I have sat in on one of Bob’s Seminars and if you get the chance, don’t miss it – Ed) On Sunday, the seminar covered the art of henna, technical traditional by Isabelle Massey.   

Prior to four years ago Montreal has lacked from a tattoo convention so Pascal has managed to make an international meeting of tattooing so the local people could sample the wonderful ink works of the Americans. On hand to impart their talents were: Apocalypse Tattoo, Funcity Tattoo, Bob Tyrell and Kat Von D from the Miami ink TV series, also working the show was Canadian Sharon from Wild Tattoos, Tatouage Free expression and the studio Tattoo Mania, the Danish tattoo studio; Kunsten Pa Kroppen, and from Switzerland Mean Machine, of Japanese with Horitoshi and Shinry, Houryu, the Canary islands were represented by Mo’ O Tatau. There were quite a few French artists working too. It is normal that they are invited considering the links between France and Quebec. Exxotic Tattoos, Dermik Attack, Jammy Tattoo, Calad’ Art were all represented.    

The spectacle was as well side of the tattooists as of the public because the Canadians, like their fellow Americans love large tattoo pieces.   

How can one explain the success of the Montreal Tattoo convention? Tattooing is very popular in Canada and especially in Quebec. There are more than 20 tattoo studios and one can count 3 conventions organised in Canada: Montreal, Calgary and Toronto. Montreal is already acquiring a label of quality with its tattoo party, its bars, and its beers and if the tattooists come to this convention it is a good advert for the quality of life as one can find in Montreal. Many people at the convention and more particularly around the booth of Kat von D From the Miami Ink series as she is very popular in the USA and you can see her many times in specialised magazines or on some TV programs.   

Miami INK” takes viewers into the inside world of tattooing from the shop, to the artists, and their clients. Get an in-depth look at the emotional stories behind the tattoos and the meaning people attach to them. People from all walks of life come for tattoos, from punk rockers, to South Beach socialites, to celebrities. The series follows four master artists, Ami James, the tough guy of the bunch, Chris Garver, Darren Brass, Chris Nuñez, and the apprentice Yojiro Harada.

A crowd of curious onlookers huddle around the stand of Kat von D and could watch her working and it is true that she is very pretty, always smiling and only 24 and an extremely talented artist. Many a man hoped to be tattooed by her small and very skilful hands but I think that her diary was already overloaded for the whole weekend.   

Born in 1982, in Mexico, she moved to the States when she was four in CA. Her first tattoo came at the age 14 an old English “J” on her ankle. In early 96 her friends asked her to pick up the machine and get to work on them ‘ The tattoo wasn’t easy but she knew it felt right and she knew she wanted to pursue it. And she has all right because she has become a tattoo TV star. She began working in her first shop at the young age of 16! She has been working with Chris Garver for over a year now and believes this experience to be one of the most educational and fulfilling of her life.

An auction sale for the benefit of a charity called: “good God in the streets” in favour of the unhappy children. Small figurines decorated by the tattooists were sold to the public and the collected money will be used to improve the daily of the needy children.   

Four parties were organized for the tattooists in various bars of the city of which a whole room was reserved for the tattooists in the famous one and mythical discotheque of Montreal called ‘foufounes électriques’.

An assessment of the weekend was very positive with a large success and a good atmosphere. Pascal was very satisfied this year and he could be because at the end of the weekend over ten thousand people came through the doors, which was a very strong increase compared to last year’s 6000 entrants.

Next year’s show is already underway and will be held in the same venue.
Email: Pascal Richard ProsProduction Inc


Text and Photgraphy: Daniel Pissondes


Skin Deep 141 1 January 2007 141