Portsmouth Tattoo Convention (2008)

Published: 01 April, 2008 - Featured in Skin Deep 159, April, 2008

As we got to Portsmouth this year I looked round the Pyramid Centre thinking about how it was going to be the last show at this venue. There have been some good shows at the Pyramid Centre over the years and I was pretty sure this last one was going to be just as good.

Once there, I had a quick chat to Pete Lake and I was told that the centre has had a reprieve for at least 12 months, possibly 5 years, and he had only just been told so couldn’t put the show back to its normal weekend in June. One thing you’re virtually guaranteed at Pompey is good weather and I couldn’t believe Pete’s luck as the sun was shinning and it was really quite warm for the end of March, yet our journey down the day before was cold, windy and very wet. That guy must have a guardian angel!

We were there nice and early so had plenty of time to catch up with a people and set up long before the doors opened at 12 noon. There was a steady flow through the doors from the off but not as busy as other years have been. Working artists this year included the almost furniture faces that have worked every single Pompey show such as Barry Johnson from B.J’s tattoos in Southampton, Dr Feelgood’s from Poole, Tony B from Tilbury Tattoo, Phil Kyle, Mike Hicks from Spike @ the Art in Plymouth, Mr Nu from Top Dog in Cosham and Brendan Mudd, who was sharing a double booth with Andy Blair. Pete had also suggested that people may want to go with a fancy dress theme this year, which some of the artists approached with great gusto…although I’m sure a few of them were a little bit too comfortable wearing make up - and I don’t mean the ladies either.

I don’t know why but for some reason this year new work seemed a bit thin on the ground and left me having to really hunt people down. Now this may have just been me going a bit blind in my old age (I don’t think it was…), and as the day went on a few people said that this year’s show didn’t seem to have to same atmosphere as it usually does. I’ve no idea why; maybe it just seemed wrong having Pompey at this time of the year, but whatever it was it wasn’t quite the same.

The day still went too quickly and before I knew it, judging had finished and as I was photographing the last couple of people the awards were being given out and another Pompey show was fast coming to an end.

Pete did say that as next year is not definite at the moment and he’s thinking of doing a Burlesque-style show in September so watch this space for details.


Male small
Adrian by Darren Stares

Male large
Gary by Richard Pinch

Female small
Leanne by Mike @ Spike at the Art

Female large
Jolie by Andy Barber

Mandy by Brendan Mudd

Paul by Alex @ Dr Feelgoods



Sarah by Spacey

Best of show
John by Brendon Mudd

Isobel Varley award
Phil Kyle


Text and Photgraphy: Paul Callaby


Skin Deep 159 1 April 2008 159