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London Tattoo Convention uncovers a skinfull of tattoo art at Old Truman Brewery

PUBLISHED: 09:04 14 March 2018 | UPDATED: 09:16 14 March 2018

In yer face... tattooist Xed Le Head putting final touches to his human artwork. Picture: Mark Leaver

In yer face... tattooist Xed Le Head putting final touches to his human artwork. Picture: Mark Leaver

Mark Leaver

A convention of tattooists from all over the British Isles is being held at east London’s Old Truman Brewery in Spitalfields at the weekend to show the best of the tattoo craft and the art behind it.

It's a cover up... woman and her 'tattoo man'. Picture: Mark LeaverIt's a cover up... woman and her 'tattoo man'. Picture: Mark Leaver

The London Tattoo Convention in the iconic Brick Lane venue has 150 pioneering British and Irish tattoo artists turning up on Saturday and Sunday, together with an exhibition of work showing the skill of tattooing and its culture.

“We’re exploring the art and design behind tattooing,” Tattoo Collective’s co-founder Marcus Berriman explains. “This was something natural for us to embrace.”

Work featured includes photographer Mark Leaver’s project on facial tattoos, with the story of each subject he encounters, challenging the stigma often associated with heavily-tattooed people.

Tattoo artist gets to grips with her art. Picture: Stuart McDowellTattoo artist gets to grips with her art. Picture: Stuart McDowell

Five tattooists are producing hand-painted artworks on new Gretsch guitars with live performances by John Fairhurst, John Crampton and Rodney Branigan who is famed for playing two guitars at once.

Artist Chris Guest unveils his work using classical drawing in oils and is painting live throughout the weekend.

Printmaker Lacey Law presents her woodcuts and running a printmaking workshop, while London-based Japanese tattooist Luca Ortis features his large-scale bodysuit designs.

Putting your back into it... getting the bodywork sorted. Picture: Stuart McDowellPutting your back into it... getting the bodywork sorted. Picture: Stuart McDowell

Aimee Cornwell displays her pre-Raphaelite inspired works, combining classical technique with a tattooed twist, while Joe Spaven shows his ‘100 Paintings’ featuring Japanese motifs.

Some of the biggest names in the tattoo world are heading to Brick Lane, including one of London’s original tattoo pioneers George Bone who began his career at 16 and went on to open his studio in 1973.

Also returning to the art exhibition for the second year is the ‘Imperial Tattoo Army’, a group of internationally famous tattoo artists commissioned to adorn original wartime armour and helmets being auctioned at the convention for charity.

The Tattoo Collective weekender also has pop-up stores selling tattoo-related apparel and goods, with expert advice on tattooing.

The Tattoo Collective and Tattoo Life magazine celebrate “a lifestyle in ink” at The Old Truman Brewery on Saturday and Sunday.

Nearest rail to the venue: Overground at Shoreditch High Street (5 minutes’ walk) or Underground at Aldgate East (10 mins). Street parking restrictions on Sunday till 2pm.

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