Thursday, 13 August 2009

Norwich hosts first tattoo festival

I was in the City earlier and noticed some people sporting spectacular tattoos. I was surprised to see so many tattoos, not normal for Norwich, but now I understand why:

From Norwich Evening News 24:

Body art has its roots in ancient cultures, but these days tattoos are counter-culture fashion statements. PETER WALSH report on Norwich's first Body Art Festival that's drawn artists from across the world.

The buzz of the tattooists' needle will echo through the unlikely medieval surroundings of St Andrew's Hall this weekend as Norwich hosts its first international festival dedicated to body art.
Tattoo artists and body art enthusiasts from across the country - and throughout the world - are expected to attend to marvel at inked creations and piercings through the most unlikely of body parts. Some may even be tempted to go under the needle themselves.

One of the star attractions will be Borneo's Jeremy Lo who will be using traditional tattoo techniques - using two bamboo sticks and a high degree of precision while another person stretches the skin.

Mik Oliver, 41, a local tattoo artist at Styx studio on St Augustine's Street, travelled to Borneo to have Jeremy give him a traditional dragon tattoo on his throat and neck.

“I had it done on my throat and side of my face,” he said. “I found it more relaxing than if I'd have had a machine one. The whole process is quite rhythmic and puts you in a bit of a trance with all the rhythmic tapping.”

Other international artists displaying their inky creations will be Julia Seizure, a well lauded artist from Star Crossed Tattoos, Hong Kong; Joe Wang from 8 Volts Tattoo in Singapore; and Eric Michalovic, who has travelled all the way from Devine, South Carolina in the US to attend.

But as well as tattoos, the event, which has been organised by local entertainment and preview guide Outline Magazine and Indigo Tattoo Studio, Lower Goat Lane, Norwich will also offer all manner of body modifications, piercings and other adornments that'll make you stand out from the crowd.

Organisers are hoping the two day event, which takes place at St Andrew's Hall on Saturday and Sunday, will make such a mark on the city that it will become a permanent fixture.

Hundreds of people are expected to make their way to the historic hall to get their bodies indelibly marked by some of the best in the business.

Kevin Maddams, from Outline Magazine said: “We would like to think it's going to be popular - the enquiries to date have been really encouraging. We've got tattoo artists from all over the world coming.”

Over the weekend, 70 tattoo artists will be tattooing live and exhibiting their work, making the backbone of the weekend.

There will also be a Graffiti Jam inviting some of the most well respected street artists to make their mark on our canvases, Art Fusion: a live art experiment, an auction and a line-up of entertainment plucked from our very fertile region. Not to mention the carefully selected group of traders who'll be pedalling their coveted wares over the weekend.

As well as some of the world's best, local tattooists will be well represented.

Reuben Youngblood, from Rude Boys Tattoo Studio, Norwich, will be one of the tattooists busy at work with the needle. He said he was looking forward to the event.

“I hope it's a big success for everyone,” he said. “Norwich has always been quite a cultural city - there's always been a lot going on here music and arts wise and its just another part of that.”

Mr Youngblood said he was pleased with the choice of venue.

“It's well chosen,” he said. “It's city centre and has a bit of the old Norwich rustic feel about it. There's nothing worse than when your in a big sports hall - there's no atmosphere.”

Mr Youngblood said visitors to his stand at the event will also be able to see examples of art work by tattoo artists based at his studio in Orford Place, Norwich.

Grace Richardson, who runs the Styx studio, will also be one of those appearing at the event. She said: “There has never been a Norwich tattoo convention so it's quite something.

“It's a nice chance for people to get together. There's enough people to take on Blackfriars Hall as well. I think it's bigger than they first thought it might be.”

Norwich Body Art Festival, St Andrew's Hall, Norwich, August 15/16, £17.50 weekend, £10 day tickets, 01603 629920,

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