Convention Coverage: Leeds Tattoo Expo
I remember going to Leeds once to cover a tattoo convention way back in 2010. It was in a student union, ran by people who I don’t think knew very much about tattooing. Because of this, I was a little dubious about the convention that took place in the last weekend, at New Dock Hall. I couldn’t have been more wrong to think that, as this new convention is absolutely fantastic.
The convention was held at a brilliant location, right in the middle of Leeds, and the atmosphere was fantastic- everyone was very happy to be there, and the organisers looked after us all very well to make sure we were all having a good time. It was very welcoming, and was laid out in a way where there was always someone around making sure things were running smoothly It’s great to see a good crew at a convention!
The turnout for a new convention is always something that’s either hit or miss, but there was a great mix of old and new tattooers, all happy to be there for this- I think that all in attendance knew this was going to be a great show. The guys working at this were all fab, and it was so great to see what’s happening at the moment. There were a lot of guys doing tattoos with darker imagery, with either really clean bold lines or dotwork, and there are also tattooers on the other side of the spectrum very much interested in super bright characters from pop culture. Of course, classic traditional themes are still the boss, and many tattooers there were happy to represent it!
Of course, the best place to see all of this work is at the competition. The competition on the day was a bit small. There were only three categories for the whole day, which meant it was over in a flash by the end of the day! What is interesting about this competition is that the judges were told who did the tattoos before they had a chance to decide who won. A lot of conventions don’t do this, because they think that some people will play favourites, so Sylvia, the organiser of this show, must have had a lot of faith in the judges! Everyone in attendance seemed to be in agreement over their judgement, though, as there were some real winners in there.
Overall, this show was great, and I hope that this isn’t the last we see of the Leeds convention! The atmosphere was friendly, the tattooers were fantastic, and the location was just perfect. If you missed this one this year (which is understandable, considering there were three other shows this weekend!), I would highly recommend visiting next year.
Below are some images from the convention- we were visiting with Neil Dalleywater, for Total Tattoo magazine. Neil’s images will be in Total Tattoo, and I’ll let you know when it’s out! I’d like to say thanks to Neil, who was helping this fellow Total Tattoo scribe learn the convention ropes a little more- I hope our notes make sense to you! My images are below, but some are at slight angles since I didn’t want to get in Neil’s way- conventions can be crowded! All artists credited- hover over each image to see who did the tattoo. More images to come!