I was traveling last year when Hong Kong’s first tattoo convention was held. Fortunately I was home this year for the 2nd International Hong Kong Tattoo Convention 2014 and wasn’t going to miss it. Here’s some shots from the show, a whole lot more can be found over at Spike’s Photos.
Even though I’ve got 8 tattoos myself, I’d never been to a tattoo convention before. This one was everything I would have expected, and I mean that in a good sense. There must have been at least 100 booths representing tattoo studios – mostly from Hong Kong and China, but I also saw a selection from Korea and of course Japan. Given the vogue for Asian style tattoos, I think any American or European tattoo lover would have killed to be here. One Japanese studio had a guy doing tattoos using the traditional stick method. (I’ve got two tatts done by monks in temples in Thailand using stainless steel rods and yes, it’s true, you feel this a hell of a lot more, but you also feel connected to a more ancient tradition.)
Each studio and artist had their portfolios on display and of course lots of people were getting new ink during the convention. Some booths had their prices posted, mostly HK$1,500 per hour. Some studios were also selling t-shirts, posters, stickers, books and even a few small toys.
I talked with several of the artists and grabbed the business cards for all the HK studios. I had to work really hard to not give in to temptation to get something new there and then.
Other rooms had displays from companies that manufacture and distribute tattoo supplies – needles, ink, after-tattoo skin care products, magazines and so on.
Food was represented by Boomshack, from the terrific Austin Fry (he started Brickhouse in Lan Kwai Fong; I know he’s moved on but can’t recall the name of his latest place). He was doing some gourmet burgers but the real deal here was his fried chicken and waffles, so good I brought some home and my wife, who usually says she doesn’t like waffles, scarfed hers down in a matter of seconds.
Unfortunately I couldn’t stay as long as I liked, which meant that I missed the nightly awards ceremonies and, more important to me, the bands. There was a stage sponsored by VANS with more than half a dozen bands appearing daily (different bands each day).
And, yeah, I confess, so many beautiful women I quickly lost count.
The convention was held August 23rd to 25th at Innocentre in Kowloon Tong. I went on Saturday; I really wanted to get back there again on Sunday but it just wasn’t possible.
All in all, this was really a terrific event, everything that I think one of these things ought to be. It’s great to see this as an annual event in Hong Kong and I can’t wait for next year’s convention.