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With over 45,000 visitors annually, the celebration of creativity and art The Australian International Tattoo Expo proudly represents, has become the biggest in the Southern hemisphere. Boasting over 300 local and international talented exhibitors from a myriad of tattoo genres showing their craft and techniques, the convention offered opportunities galore over three days to either just enjoy the art on display, have a chat with the artists, be inked or pierced on the spot or stroll through markets of merchandise, aftercare, tattoo supplies and hand crafted gifts.
This year’s incarnation at Sydney’s schmick looking new International Convention Centre was the biggest to date. Meet some of the featured artists:
Arlo Dicristina from Arlo Tattoo started Tattooing in 2010 and has a pedigree in professional wrestling and boxing before he decided to focus on mastering his tattoo skills and his other artistic endeavours, i.e. oil painting, airbrushing and wood burning. Influenced by Jeff Gouge, Tony Mancia, and Justin Nordine, his area of expertise is face morphs and colour realism.
Benjamin Laukis from Black Mark Tattoo started his craft in 2008 in Queensland, Australia and eventually among other international awards, scored the “Artist of the Expo” award at one of the previous incarnations of the Australian Tattoo Exhibition. Some consider his style “neo baroque” – call it what you may, fact is that his emissions are informed by contrasts and look painted: Shadows and harsh light give them depth, which accentuates the colours and makes them pop. His work shows that he is inspired by fine artists like Caravaggio, Rembrandt and Reni, as well as contemporary artists like Hussar, Kassan and Llewellyn. Other than tattooing he – not surprisingly – given his inspirations, likes to paint in oils and also uses aerosol. While is tattoos are realistic, i.e. portrait work, he manages to gives it a twist by infusing it with his own style.
Brodie Pedersen, aka “Leisure Bandit”, is a tattoo artist that sticks out with his trademark retro styled neo traditional. His style is based on 80s culture: Think bright, fluorescent colors, weird shapes, wacky animations, and questionable fashion choices, adding animalistic elements for hilarity. He’s the go-to if you fancy getting a winking dolphin decked out in Miami Vice gear sipping a cocktail against a sunset.
Tater Tatts focuses on colour realism as well: Inspired by artists like Boris, Nikko, Carlos Rojas, Carlos Torres, Mike Devries, Mick Squires and others who earlier on really pushed realism tattooing, he encapsulates a wide ranges with both black / white contrasting as well as using colours.
The convention was framed by appearances of the multi-skilled performance group Fuel Girls, who entertained with scantily clad fire and aerial shows; an Australian Pin Up Pageant; the Girls of Ink contest as well as Australia’s most extensive tattoo competition which was comprised of five rounds and subcategories that ranged from best neo-traditional via best lettering / script to best Polynesian tattoo. As far as tattoo culture is concerned, it does hardly get any more comprehensive than this expo. With the effective way proceedings are organized and the enjoyable and immersive atmosphere it provides, it’s a fun day out no matter what sort of body modification strikes your fancy.
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