Newport '07

Published: 28 September, 2009 - Featured in Skin Deep 149, August, 2007

Following on from last years’ successful convention Shaun form Images on Skin decided that this year he’d go one better and organize a two-day show. Still situated in Newport in South Wales, Shaun and his gang of willing helpers had put on an impressive line-up of artists to work in the Newport Leisure centre. Last years’ show was in a rock club that didn’t really have the lighting but the new venue was perfect. Setting up on Saturday morning, the atmosphere was exciting with the anticipation of the coming weekend.

The show was to be held on two floors with the majority of artists setting up in some very spacious booths down stairs and the others were working from the balcony. There was a big stage to host the bands as well as the prize giving.

Eleven o/clock and the doors opened and a trickle of people came in. Why a trickle you ask? Well, I’m not too sure - the venue was better, the artists were top-notch and the entertainment had all the promise of good times but the crowds just didn’t turn up. Don’t get me wrong, the hall had a good smattering of folk but it wasn’t like some shows where you couldn’t move, so maybe that was a good thing I know all the artists were really happy to have good sized booths to work in and as I walked about the centre, all seemed to be busy, many working all most non-stop all weekend.   

Shaun had promised big things on the entertainment side of things with Bad Manners booked, but at the last minute they pulled out leaving Shaun with a big headache and a big hole in his schedule. Luckily a Blues Brothers tribute band jumped in to fill the gap and boy, did they jump! Over the years covering tattoo conventions and Custom bike shows I have seen many, many bands but these were without a doubt the best I have seen. They played their socks off to a rather small but appreciative crowd and I must confess, the music (and beer) got to me and I had to dance, much to the delight of Mr Callaby and others, Hey if you can’t strut your stuff once in a while…   

Prior to me making an arse of myself the days proceedings went very smoothly, if as I mentioned earlier, a little quietly. There was some great work being done and on show this year. But then you would expect that with the calibre of artists that were there. I saw work being done by Paul ‘Myth’ Naylor, Lee Clements, Kev Shercliffe, Darren Stares, Chris Jones, Jin and many, many more. There must have been close to thirty artists plying their trade over the weekend.   

I had the pleasure of putting up the Skin Deep stand right next to Chrome Ink and it’s insane inhabitant ‘Ed the Impailer’. If you have not met Ed (and I can guarantee you that you would have remembered) Ed is the main piercer with Chrome Ink and boy what a character! His constant jibes and quick fire wit had me doubled up in stitches all weekend. If you are stuck for a compere next year Shaun, you could do a lot worse than get the ‘Ginger one’ on stage. He really is a star (and makes a great cup of tea too!) Ed and the gang seemed really busy on the Saturday, putting holes in various places in people. Despite his manic behaviour, Ed is a true professional when it comes to body piercing and is always fully focused on the job in hand.   

As the day work on some of the first pieces of work being done that day wandered into the photo studio. Roy from Skinshokz was working hard producing some very nice colourful work. I also saw a young lady who had been tattooed by John Treharne with some great looking leaves intertwining all the way down her leg. The piece recently had the addition of some beautiful dragonflies added that made the piece stand out even more than before. Jin, a young lady tattooist from Korea was working hard and she had brought some friends that she had tattooed with her. Jin specialises in large black and grey oriental and wildlife work that is mouth watering. The judges also thought that her work was good as she won Best Tattoo of the Convention. The judges had a bit of a tough time considering the quality of work that came past them Saturday they only judged a few categories including best of Saturday was won by Paul ‘Myth’ Naylor with a piece that was on going. Paul had brought a customer with him and was due to work on Damien all weekend. He sat very well and the fact that Paul tattooed him for countless hours didn’t seem to bother him at all.   

On the Sunday we were greeted to a large rumble coming through the doors. It was quite a few of Shaun’s friends bringing their custom bikes into the hall to put on a display with some fine custom machinery. The turn out was very good considering the howling rain that they had ridden through to get to the show. It was a nice extra that Shaun had come up with for the show and gave the visitors something extra to look at.   

Over both days the stage hosted some bands from the local vicinity, some were good, some were not to my tastes but all played way too loud in my opinion, I don’t think its me getting old, I think many of the artists were a little put off by the loud music as many need to hear their machines running to gauge how they are working.   

Although the second Newport convention was a little slow, all that I spoke to over the weekend had a great time and in some ways it made the show a little more fun with all convention goers getting to know each other, giving the show a nice friendly feel. Maybe the lack of punters was down to the weather (very wet), Glastonbury Festival being on and the GP racing at Donnington happening all over the same weekend.   

Shaun isn’t one to be put off by this and he has already set dates for next year as the 4th and 5th of May, that’s the Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday.   

So why not come on down to one of the friendliest and well run tattoo conventions Wales has to offer.   

I’d like to thank Shaun and his crew who worked tirelessly and to all the folk who came and said hi and a big thanks to Ed for, well just being Ed…

See you all there next year!


Text: Neil Dalleywater Photography: Neil, Paul Callaby, Gareth Fuke


Skin Deep 149 1 August 2007 149