Toulouse International Tattoo & Piercing Convention 2006

Published: 31 March, 2011 - Featured in Skin Deep 132, April, 2006

Toulouse, situated between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, some 456 miles from Paris, and is the 4th largest French city. With more than 700,000 inhabitants and growing steadily, the greater urban district of Toulouse is one of the biggest cities In southern Europe. The general quality of life, including the good food and wine, make Toulouse a fine place to live and work. It’s a city with a distinct accent and is often celebrated in song and verse.

With some 5000 visitors, the first Toulouse tattoo convention was held over the weekend of 14th, and 15th January and was a huge success. Located just a few kilometres down town of Toulouse in the middle of a shopping centre where visitors could find everything they needed in one place. There were places to eat, drink and if you wanted a change from the tattoo convention, you could go to the cinema or go bowling.

There were many tattoo enthusiasts at the convention, lots tattooed from head to foot. The tattoo contest attracted over one hundred entrants with work ranging from Celtic to tribal to traditional work and all styles in between.

Apparently about 26% of French people are sporting a tattoo under their clothes. This event was a first in Toulouse and Régis Passéra, a 38 year-old president of the association ‘the red cap’ organised the convention with the help of his wife Pascale. He took many financial risks to carry out this event and he made full use of advertising on radio and with big posters stuck around the town. The hiring of the room and advertising absorbed a large part of the budget and without having any guarantee as for the success of this convention, he ran a big risk putting on the convention, but all their hard work paid off as the convention was a great success.

"You would be surprised about the number of tattooed people, there has been a big interest in tattoos for a long time in France". said Régis. "Moreover, the profession itself has evolved too. The majority of these artists today came from popular schools of art. Some of them are real celebrities in the field of tattooing. We invited Mao y Cathy from Madrid: and their appointment book was already full for the weekend. Same for Atyka Bodywear, or Henrik the tattooist from Toulouse, who are very famous artists." With more than 70 well-known and some not so well-known tattooists coming from France, Croatia, Peru, Milan, and over 20 exhibitors, the Toulouse convention promised to be a real winner. 

There were many sideshows at the convention, so you could watch performances, of suspensions done by BODY SEASONS AUTHENTIC and if this wasn’t your thing, a Tahitian show brought us tattooed images from foreign lands. There was also an exhibition of black and white photos taken by Alex on the topic of tattooed women, which attracted quite a lot of attention from the convention goers.

There were two tattooed celebrities at the show; Isobel Varley and Marie-France Esteve.

They have been friends for quite a while and write to each other twice a month. This weekend they were the stars of the International Convention of Tattooing. Isobel, almost naked in order to reveal her ink to the public. Isobel Varley is about 70 years old and comes from London and is credited with the title of ‘the most tattooed Woman World’. She has been a follower of tattooing for 15 years. The other celebrity is Marie-France Estève, who is about fifty and feels very at home here because she lives in Toulouse. Her title is; ‘The most tattooed Woman France’. She’s been passionate about black and grey tattooing since the age of five.

"Since the day when, on holiday with my great-grandmother, I saw the head of a snake tattooed on the back of a 90 year old guy who had been a prisoner in Cayenne and was fascinated. I said: grandma, when I am older, that is what I want!" Marie-France waited 15 years to start to be tattooed and started with her arms and continued onwards. 

My body is like a book and is told here in my tattoos. I used over 27 different tattooists,  I have spent €50,000 over the years."

But in her normal everyday life, Marie-France never leaves home without a shirt with long sleeves and trousers. Except at conventions where she has already won 28 trophies. 

Because of the significant number that had registered for the tattoo contest, the candidates passed individually in front of the jury and the name of the tattooists was revealed only after the prize giving. Then only the 3 wining in each category could parade on stage and received their prize. 

At the end of the weekend the comments were very positive and all the tattooists were very busy. Many will be able to hold their places for next year as the dates have been confirmed as January the 13th, and 14th 2007.

For more information you can contact Régis on 33 680 35 89 10


And The Winners Are...

Best of Day: Saturday

1st: Paco at Studio Fran y Glory (San Fernando -Espagne) 

2nd: Sprit of Tattoo (Valence - Espagne) 

3rd: Eskimo (Toulouse)


Best of Day: Sunday

1st: Under My Skin (Marseille) 

2nd: L’anneau de Givre (Pamiers) 

3rd: Mike - Art Tattoo (Toulon)



1st: Jeff - J’aurai ta peau (Béziers) 

2nd: Alex - Tattoo Syndicat (St Laurent du Var) 

3rd: BPS Tattoo (Nîmes)



1st: Olivier - Atyka (Toulouse) 

2nd: Stéphane Chaudesaigues at Graphicaderme (Vaison la Romaine) 

3rd priGuy - Dom Tattoo (Colomiers)






1st prize

Velvet Studio (Lyon) 

2nd prize

Guillaume - Alternative pour Biotek(Toulouse) 

3rd prize

BPS Tattoo (Nîmes)



1st prize

Henrik Tattoo (Toulouse) 

2nd prize

Lollipop (Laval) 

3rd prize

Fran y Glory (San Fernando - Espagne)



1st prize

Dom Tattoo (Colomiers) 

2nd prize

Theodore - Velvet Studio (Lyon)

3rd prize

Jammy Tattoo (Arles)



1st prize

Vatea Tahiti Tatau (Toulon) 

2nd prize

Tiki Tattoo (Langon) 

3rd prize

Positive Tattoo (Cassis)



1st prize

Olivier - Atyka (Toulouse) 

2nd prize

Fabrice - Sreaming Needle (Lyon) 

3rd prize

Henrik Tattoo (Toulouse)


Text & Photography: Daniel Pissondes


Skin Deep 132 1 April 2006 132