Newport Tattoo Convention 06

Published: 15 March, 2010 - Featured in Skin Deep 134, June, 2006

If any one had ever tried to get from North Wales to The south of the country, You’ll know that there is no direct route and it can be a real pain in the bum to drive. But on the Morning of the 17th of April, the roads were pretty clear enabling me to get from Snowdon to Newport in just over three hours. And I didn’t exceed the speed limit – much.

Anyway, this traffic free journey got me to the venue of the first Newport tattoo convention in plenty of time to see Shaun from Images on Skin – the organiser, metaphorically pulling his hair out. I can imagine putting on any tattoo convention would be a strain on anyone’s mental facilities but Shaun also had the added pressure of his Tattoo studio resembling a building site as whole place was undergoing a refit.

Shaun needn’t have worried too much as things seemed to be going smoothly as all the tattooists and stall holders were merrily going about their business, getting everything setup for a day of tattooing fun.

The venue was the NCLA just on the edge of Newport. This is primarily a music venue with a big centre stage and a large balcony area. All of the traders were setting up down stairs on the dance floor area and Shaun had the excellent idea of housing all the tattooists on alternate rows in ‘the Gods’. This gave the crowds the opportunity to over look the working artists from slightly higher up giving more folk a better view of the proceedings. This was an inspired idea.

By the time the doors were flung open, there was a healthy sized queue of people waiting to come in, which must have pleased Shaun as it must be a big gamble putting on a convention for the first time and wondering if anyone would turn up. But turn up they did. It’s not surprising considering the line-up of artists that Shaun had organised to work. Here were some big names in the world of Welsh tattooists, Dave Fleet, Skin Deep, Lee Clements, Mr Buzz and others. Some of the artists that hailed from outside Wales were Paul Naylor and Mike from Spike at the Art.

Literally from the moment the doors opened the Tattoo machines burst into life and the serious business of tattooing got underway.

Wandering about the balcony, I saw Dave Fleet working on a very nice Dave Mann inspired biker design on a chaps thigh, Paul Naylor applying a superbly realistic Vivian Lee style pin-up and loads of other great work. 

As the morning grew into the afternoon, the first of the live bands came on. All the live acts over the day were very good musically but why oh why do they all have to have their amplifiers turned up to eleven? Christ they were load, making the job of judging very difficult as this was taking place on the balcony. And as the venue was build to host live music, the acoustics were spot-on so all the artists had trouble communicating with their clients. Sadly this sort of thing seems to be the norm at all tattoo conventions, which is a shame.

Still, despite this very small fly in the tattoo ointment, things ran extremely smoothly throughout the day.

All categories for the tattoo competition were well subscribed with some truly superb and many new pieces, which was very refreshing. Judging took a little longer than anticipated due to there being several ties such was the quality of work being shown.

After the judging had finished it was time to present the very well made trophies. It was nice to see both the wearer and the artist receiving a trophy.

So with the prize giving over and done with, the crowd started to filter out of the NCLA, many with various appendages wrapped in clingfilm, sporting new ink and popping straight into the pub next door where Shaun had arranged a buffet and a few drinks for the thirsty artists. A nice touch that.All in all I feel the Newport Tattoo Convention will become a regular on the show scene.

Already Shaun has informed me that his team are sourcing a bigger venue for next year and the convention will be held over two days as many of the public and artists simply didn’t have enough time to be/get tattooed.

I’d like to personally thank Shaun, Pam and the rest of the Images on Skin team for their friendly and efficient help over the day. Nothing was too much trouble for them, making for a cracking tattoo convention.Book me in for next year…

A DVD will soon be available of this event     Images on Skin 01633 244042


Female Individual
1st Marika - Shaun
2nd Sam - Loz - Tattoo Addiction

Male Individual
1st Yogi - Lee Clements
2nd Rob - John Treharne

Female Large
1st Sly - Bob Hoyle
2nd Nikki - Roy Priestley

Male Large
1st Rob - John Treharne
2nd Darren - John Treharne

Female Tribal
1st Emi - Shaun
2nd Sarah -Lee Clements

Male Tribal
1st Craig - Spider
2nd Basher - Podge

Female Celtic    
1st Mel - Shaun

Male Celtic
1st Martin - Shaun
2nd Martin - Shaun

Female Back
1st Tracy - Shaun
2nd Helen - Simon Ashley- Needle Asylum

Male Back
1st Nick Arlew - Dave Fleet
2nd Nick - Dave Fleet

Black & Skin
1st Terry - Shaun
2nd Mike - Tony - Images on Skin

1st John - Dave Fleet
2nd Ray - Jimmy Skuse

1st Gaz - Myth
2nd Jimmy - Darren Stares

1st Bish - Various
2nd Steve  - Various

Best of Day
1st Yogi - Lee Clements
2nd Keri - Ginty - Tattooland UK

Best of Convention
Mike Arlew - Dave Fleet


Photography: Neil/Paul callaby


Skin Deep 134 1 June 2006 134