Saturday 19 November 2016

Australian International Tattoo Expo - Event Review

WHAT: Australian International Tattoo Expo
WHERE: Melbourne Exhibition Centre
WHEN: 18 - 20 November

PYROHEX - Photo by Sarah Ernst
The Australian International Tattoo Expo is on at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre and it is full of unexpected surprises and brilliant body art. Aisles and aisles of tattoo artists from around the world are displaying their designs, their style, and doing live tattooing all day long across the three days of the Expo. To make the event even more exciting, performance artists take the stage throughout the event to astound the crowd. There are competitions and roast pork rolls...the list goes on!

I admit to not being a body art afficionado - there is not a drop of ink on me except where my pen leaked in my shirt pocket. What I do know is art and let me tell you, these tattooist are true artists. Yes, there is an overabundance of skulls and proportionally distorted women, religious iconography and roses. Beyond that though, there is true art.

I was not expecting to see surrealism, impressionism, or abstract expressionism. I was not expecting styles and techniques replicating water colours, anime, and graphic design. Oh alright, I was expecting anime... There are amazing examples of 3D techniques and tattoo designs which are layered and art in conversation with itself. All of a sudden I understand the body as art gallery.

The show truly was international, with a lot of Asian representatives including Korea, Thailand and Japan. Do you like block colour, black and white, or delicate and nuanced shading? You will find the artist for you here. Plan your tattoo holiday here, or you can get some ink on the spot.

There are also tattoo artists who specialise in scar and disfigurement applications. Ian at the Tatsup booth is very friendly and informative. There have been some news reports about carcinogens in tattoo ink. He explained that if you use a reputable tattoo establishment they only use the best inks which are safe, and ALWAYS get the advice of your doctor if you have medical concerns as well as the instructions of your tattoo artist with regard to after-procedure care.

Whilst wandering the stalls I also caught the amazing  Pyrohex who are a pyro-fire-aerial performance group based in London. Awe and amazement along with excellent pole technique make this troupe a blast to watch. There are also a range of other live acts across the weekend including Girls of Ink and Pin Up Pageant as well as competitions galore.

Go along, have some fun, and get some ink if you're in the mood. This event is body art heaven. Check it out!

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