Stop letting crap Conventions Rip you off.
Header picture is from the Brighton Tattoo Convention, which is definitely not shit, haha.
You know what? I’m irritated today. What’s new, right? Haha, really though: yesterday I saw yet another shite ‘tattoo convention’ run by a couple of thick arseholes who don’t have a clue what a tattoo convention is. I’m pretty annoyed. Up and down the UK, there are loads of conventions like this, that miss the point of what a convention is for, just in the hope they’ll take hard earned cash from tattooers and customers, and give next to fuck all back.
I don’t know who these idiots think they are, but I thought I’d put something up here about what I think you guys should be looking out for when it comes to conventions. I think tattooers probably know a lot of this already, but customers are a lot easier to rip off unfortunately, as most assume all conventions will be great.
If a convention doesn’t have an artist list, it is shit. The whole point of a tattoo convention is to be tattooed by artists you normally wouldn’t be able to get to. If organisers don’t even bother putting up a list of artists, you have no reason to be there, as they have no idea what the hell a convention even is. However, I should point out that if the convention has just been announced, don’t look for an artist list just yet! When I’m talking about this, I mean that if it’s coming up to a month or two before the convention, and no one knows who’ll be there, you shouldn’t bother paying money to be there.
If a convention does have an artist list, and it’s full of crap tattooers and unlicensed morons, it is shit. No exceptions. See my first point on what the hell a convention is for!
If the organisers use the word ‘ink’ too much, and talk about tattooing like it’s some kind of a freak show (think ‘see real life tattooing up close!’), it’s possibly shit. Though, if a good artist is working there, I’d say you should go anyway. Be wary of conventions that act as if everyone with a tattoo is a fucking moron, though, unless you’re getting a really badass tattoo out of it.
If the organisers drone on about their competition, yet only have one category, it may be shit. Though it may be a good convention overall, the fact you’ll be seeing the organiser’s tattooer mate walking away with the first prize and all judges ignored may end up leaving a sour taste in your mouth.
If the convention boasts nothing but burlesque dancers and crap bands, it could go either way… but expect to be bored if you go to a lot of conventions.
If the people organising it aren’t involved in tattooing in any way, it’s probably shit. To be honest, I don’t mind magazines or people who’ve been around the industry for a long time organising conventions- but those who haven’t even bothered to do anything around tattooing before aren’t going to be holding a good tattoo convention. They just don’t have a clue, I’m afraid. I’ve been writing for three years now about tattoos, but if I put on a convention, it’d be shit, so you can imagine how someone who has had no exposure to real tattooing would handle it. Save your pennies.
If there are lots of people complaining about the previous convention the organisers held, it could be really shit. I wouldn’t bother if you’re trying to save some money. When I’m skint, I just go to the tried and true conventions I know I’ll have fun at (whenever work lets me out in the real world, haha).
If your favourite tattooer will be there and you can get an appointment, who cares if it’s shit? You’ll probably get in for free anyway under their booth (check first), and you’ll be going to a convention for the whole point of going to one!
I think a lot of people these days forget that, so there it is in big! ;) Here are some Springer-style final thoughts, from Woody, who organises the Brighton Convention:
You can’t just make a show like Brighton, its taken me years in the industry to build up the friendships and experience to run Brighton and make it successful. Anyone can hire a venue and fill it with 2nd rate artists, and then walk of laughing when people ‘pop down for the day’ and pay £20 to get in…