Behind the Needle – Part 2 of London Tattoo Convention film series

“When I was a kid I saw a guy in McDonalds that was covered in tattoos and I thought it looked tough” Chad Koeplinger.

This film (exclusively for Zeitgeist magazine, with Papercut Pictures) moves on from the convention, as each of the artists delves deeper into their personal motivations for becoming a tattoo artist, their distinctive style of tattooing, their heroes, inspiration and who they like to get tattooed by.

Watch the first film here

This film features Chad Koeplinger of Paradise Tattoo, Washington DC;  Michelle Myles of Daredevil Tattoo, New York City; Uncle Allan of Conspiracy Inc., Copenhagen and Claudia De Sabe of Jolie Rouge, London.

Chad always wanted to travel and tattooing definitely seemed like a more viable way to do this than the merchant marines. His style is strongly rooted in Western traditional, but his experimentation in a variety of styles has allowed him to thrive as an artist.

From her underground origins in New York City, Michelle began her career when tattooing was illegal. She talks about her journey and the changes in her style and technique since its legalisation in 1997.

Uncle Allan’s love for tattooing derived from his passion for music and this is illustrated in his distinctive artistic style. His theme for the convention was ‘metal and satanic stuff’, see the first film in the series for his burning bible tattoo.

Claudia was encouraged to get into tattooing by her friends who hung out in tattoos shops, they could see her raw talent as an artist. She has two very distinctive styles of tattooing and in this film she talks about her love of both styles and how she can’t let either of them go.

Behind the Needle 1 from Papercut Pictures on Vimeo.


My first tattoo film with Papercut Pictures for Zeitgeist Magazine

I decided a couple of months ago I would like to make a film about the London Tattoo Convention, so I enlisted the help of  Papercut Pictures. I never dreamt for a moment I could actually do it. But, I am pleased to announce the release of my first ever film…

This film is the first in a series for Zeitgeist Magazine. Shot at the London Tattoo Convention on September 23rd, 24th and 25th 2011, this film provides an overview of the convention and asks some of the notable attending artists their feelings on the convention.

Interviewing Steve Vinall
Interviewing Steve Vinall - Photo by Olivia Snape

From traditional Samoan done by hand, to antique Victoriana and old-school Americana, we spoke to some of the leading artists of each style about their particular take on the art form. This film shows the artist’s views on the convention itself. The next film will concentrate on the artist’s and their motivations behind tattooing. Keep watching for future installments.

In order of appearance:
Chad Koeplinger (Paradise Tattoo, Washington D.C.)
Amanda Wachob (Daredevil Tattoo, New York City)
Claudia De Sabe (Jolie Rouge, London)
Deno Jr. (Circus Tattoo, Madrid)
Jo Harrison (Modern Body Art, Birmingham)
Zele (Zagreb Tattoo, Zagreb)
Michelle Myles (Daredevil Tattoo, New York City)
Brian Thomas Wilson and Ryan Mason (Scapegoat Tattoo, Portland)
Steve Vinall (The Family Business, London)
Uncle Allan (Conspiracy Inc., Copenhagen)
Jason Donahue (Idle Hand Tattoo, San Francisco)
Doctor Matt Lodder being tattooed by Uncle Allan
Alex Binnie (Into You, London/Brighton) talking about his new collection of wood block prints
Ryan Mason (Scapegoat Tattoo, Portland)
Pili Mo’o (Mo’o Tatau, Tenerife)
Marcus Berriman (London Tattoo Convention Organiser)

Lies bible tattoo
Tattoo by Uncle Allan. Photo by James Stittle, Papercut Pictures

Music by:
Honkeyfinger – ‘HonknSkronkn’ & ‘Margarine Man’
Black Mass – ‘To The Cross’
The Lysergic Suite – ‘Earth and Water’

Filmed by Papercut Pictures
Special thanks to Olivia Snape who assisted with filming throughout the weekend

London Tattoo Convention First – first day of filming

20,000 or more visitors are expected to attend this weekend’s International London Tattoo Convention at Tobacco Dock in Wapping. The halls of the warehouse have become a fantastical world of tattoo parlours, tattoo museums, fashion boutiques, a rockabilly club and performance stages.

And I have been lucky enough to film and report the action for Zeitgeist magazine…

Friday 23 September – Day one of filming

It is easy to spot the convention goers from the moment we arrive at Shadwell station, a trilby, a pin-up style head scarf…and of course lots of beautifully decorated skin – wonderfully out of context on the streets of Shadwell. I wait for the rest of the film crew to arrive (the boys from Papercut Pictures and Olivia Snape) with a cup of coffee and a cheese toastie, and wonder what the day will hold.

Queue of tattoo collectors

Thinking we are organised, we arrive at the gates at 10.30am ready to get inside and start arranging film times. We are clearly not as eager as a lot of art enthusiasts and a queue is steadily building outside the main gates. I am in awe, amazed by the inkings and body modifications that adorn the skin of these art collectors.

Even though the convention is not yet open, when we get inside there is already a buzz as the artists set up their equipment for a day of tattooing. We have a list of the artists we need to see and arrange suitable times in their busy schedules for them to speak to us on camera about their particular take on the art form. From traditional Samoan done by hand, to antique victoriana and old-school American.

Neck tattoo I spotted in the queue
Neck tattoo I spotted in the queue

Many of the artists have travelled the world to work at the convention and while it can be easy to put ‘tattoos’ in one category, the convention truly illustrates the variety of styles and traditions in the history of the art form, as they are all there to see in the maze of Tobacco Dock.

Our first day of filming was stressful, but amazing and we spoke to some of the world’s leading tatooers: Pili Mo’o, Ryan from Scapegoat tattoo, Jo Harrison, Steve Vinall and Michelle and Amanda from Daredevil tattoo NYC.

I won’t tell you what they had to say though, as the short films will be on Zeitgeist very soon. I can’t wait to go back today and speak to some more artists, including Uncle Allan (who I LOVE!) let’s hope he gives me a sneaky tattoo while I interview him.

Hope to see some of you there again today…

London Tattoo Convention excitement

LTC logoThe seventh International London Tattoo Convention, now the most important and crowded convention in the world, will be held over the weekend of September 23/24/25 (NEXT WEEKEND, CANNOT WAIT) at Tobacco Dock. This year, the organisers are opening up even more areas, rooms and attractions than ever before, to meet the public’s inexorably increasing interest in body art.

I am excited to announce that I will be reporting from the event for Zeitgeist magazine, with the help of Papercut Pictures. Article and short film to follow, watch this space…

In the meantime here is a selection of photos from last year’s event.

London ConventionDancer at convention

Lee,Simon & Dan,Artist- Lee Simonds @ Cherry Blossom, Walton
Lee, Simon & Dan - Artist, Lee Simonds, Cherry Blossom, Walton
Tattooing at convention
Tattooing at convention

London Tattoo Convention