The Great British Tattoo Show London – Ally Pally
Even though I am tattooed and have a keen interest in tattoos and looking at people’s work and the stories behind them, I have never been to a tattoo convention or a tattoo show. This was completely new to me and so I decided to take my tattoo con virginity and see what it is all about.
The Great British Tattoo Show is held at the Alexandra Palace and it is such a fine location to have
something big and grand; and the tattoo show certainly is big! As soon as I walked into the room
where everything was happening the atmosphere was buzzing (literally buzzing due to the
hundreds of tattoo machines buzzing away creating permanent art. I’m so punny).
That familiar buzz that can create nerves but is also very soothing and addictive, but also the kind of buzz you
get when you enter a room FULL of stands and people, chats and laughter.
I didn’t know what to expect with this being my first ever tattoo show, but there were hundreds of artists. Some not even from the UK! There was one artist who had come all the way from New Zealand. There was a ‘style’ of tattoo artist for everyone also, from realism to traditional, abstract, Japanese etc. All of the artists had been supplied with BLK Powder to help dispose of their ink caps and waste appropriately. Some artists had been sponsored by Skin Deep magazine and were placed upon Skin Deep’s row of artists in this vast maze of different artists. As can be expected, a lot of artists were completely fully booked and you had to book in with them beforehand, but a lot also had free slots and were only doing walk ups and they had a sign on their tables saying if they were fully booked or had free space – a good sign for a complete tattoo show newbie like me. It wasn’t just tattoos people were trying to promote though, every artist was also selling prints and flash sheets of their drawings, some were even doing t-shirts and other merchandise. Always a great way to promote yourself. I have definitely found some new tattoo artists I want work from that aren’t too far from my home town.I didn’t get a tattoo whilst I was there sadly, but I did get a piece of henna done on my hand. Yes,
that’s right, some henna. The Tattoo Show isn’t just for people who want to get permanent art! There was a henna stand, clothing, piercing, taxidermy (which I loved!) and even a vintage girly salon! Not to mention the Sandyman Chop Shop barbers for the boys amongst the Brothers cider lounge.
The Lounge was such a great idea. Chill out on some sofas, with a Brothers cider and opposite was a stage always full of live chill out acoustic music.
Such a great way to spend an afternoon if you are waiting for your tattoo spot. Within the lounge there was a chance to subscribe to SkinDeep magazine (or collect a goodie bag if you had pre-booked tickets), some clothing stalls and even a bucking bronco! For those willing to test their skills. As well as all of the stalls of clothing, taxidermy, tattoo supplies and artists there was also the main stage smack bang in the middle of the whole hall. Again, being a newbie to this all I was wondering what was going to happen. I arrived to the venue just in time to catch a lingerie & urban wear fashion show, with the models being tattooed of course. Later on there was going to be Damien O’Brien, a magician performing on that stage as well as more fashion shows and some judging as to the best tattoos of the day. I went on the Saturday, but I read up on the Sunday’s lineup for the main stage and it was similar but still different.
A great idea for those who want to attend both days
as their experience of the show will be different from each other.
For me and my other half, this was a great day out with each other and we have definitely both
gained some new artists we want pieces from and it was interesting to see them all at work also or
have a chat with them if they were free. This is a show I think I will definitely be experiencing again
next time it comes around, and I will definitely be getting something tattooed next time I go!
We would like to say a big thank you to Kaye Ford for being our guest blogger for The Great British Tattoo Show. Hope to see you again soon!
Photography: Emily Darcy Adams
Twitter Handle: @EmilyDarcyAdams
Author: Kaye Ford