This was my first year at the prestigious London Tattoo Convention, and I'm so glad I didn't miss out.
Any UK Tattoodo readers out there will know that the tattoo convention market in this country is saturated. Basically, there are a shit ton of events to choose from, often more than one per weekend, and considering even attempting to go to every single one makes my head hurt. Well, if you can only put one date in your diary for 2018, make it 28th, 29th and 30th September.
For years, I've had other commitments fall on this September weekend, but I'm so glad I was finally able to attend the 13th International London Tattoo Convention. I had huge expectations, and I wasn't let down.
An extremely carefully curated event, the London Tattoo Convention has a relaxed and friendly vibe. Every tattooist is buzzing to be there - strangers are smiling at each other in the corridors and artists are more than happy to have you invade their space by watching them work and asking questions. Convention first-timers can often be intimidated or nervous about event etiquette - at London, it's not something you need to worry about.
"It's one thing to glance over this work on Instagram and another entirely to actually watch it being created feet away from you..."
The convention also remains to be the only place at which you can witness the most brave and breathtaking tattoo collaborations.
Being able to watch the likes of Gakkin and Nissaco, who take Japanese and geometric tattooing to a whole new level, was a personal highlight for me. I say it after every single tattoo convention I attend but - it's one thing to glance over this work on Instagram and another entirely to actually watch it being created feet away from you. Mind-blowing.
Not that you could ever get bored of watching the industry's greatest legends do their thing but, if you did want to take a break, there were so many other exciting projects to check-out. For me, this is what sets London apart from many other conventions.
"This is not just any tattoo convention, but an annual pilgrimage for both collectors, artists and anyone wanting to be inspired..."
As always, the 'hand-tappers' section of the convention is a highlight for many. Seeing traditional machine-free tattooing taking place that's literally travelled half-way across the globe to be here, is quite something.
Attending myself with other UK tattooists whose make the trip to the London Tattoo Convention each year (to name a few - Birmingham's Pauly, London's Tiggy), made me realise that this is not just any tattoo convention, but an annual pilgrimage for both collectors, artists and anyone wanting to be inspired by the current strength and potential of our creative industry.
The International Tattoo Convention 2018 will take place on 28th, 29th and 30th September.