Interest in tattoos is rarely skin deep. There are always new tattoo techniques to learn about, innovative artists to follow, and trends to stay on top of. And if you’re an artist, this is often where you’ll learn about the best supplies for your shop including stencil paper.
A tattoo convention is where you can fully immerse yourself in the craft. As the popularity of tattoos has exploded in recent decades, so have tattoo conventions around the world.
Mark your calendar with the following upcoming conventions worth the time and money.
You should never need an excuse to visit France, but if you want, make Malboden the reason.
Held in Maubeuge near the Belgian border, Malboden is themed to superheroes for its fifth edition so there should be a lot of visually stunning art to see. There will also be more than 80 artists in attendance, as well a full slate of tattoo shows and concerts.
A big plus: Part of the profits of Malboden are donated to animal welfare programs and organizations helping sick and disabled children.
Laughlin, Nevada, may not seem like the most happening place to host a tattoo convention, but Ink Mayhem has been incredibly popular for the past 14 years. It features more than 100 highly regarded artists from around the world, contests, giveaways, demonstrations, and even live music.
It’s held in conjunction with the Bullhead River Run Motorcycle Rally, so if you’re also into bikes, this is the convention for you.
This long-running always has a nice slate of artists and supply booths to check out, but what really sets it apart is its fun tattoo contests. Held daily, the contests range from best portrait and leg sleeve to the most inventive chest and back piece.
This year’s slate of special guests is impressive as well, including several artists from season 12 of “Ink Master.”
Held at the county fairgrounds in Ventura, California, Seaside is held just across the street from a beach. That’s enough to entice, but there are also 80 artists, a crafts booth for children, and more than two dozen tattoo contents.
You don’t need to sport a nautical-themed tattoo to attend, of course, but you may end up leaving with one.
Fredericksburg, Virginia, is known for its numerous Civil War-related historical sites, but this inaugural event will establish its place among tattoo enthusiasts.
Apart from live tattooing and body art showcases, there will be sideshow entertainment, and inventive tattoo contests, including best horror and comic book-themed tats. It also runs until midnight during its first two days, perfect for tattooed night owls.
Also new to the tattoo convention scene, this Netherlands-based gathering has a packed schedule of more than 150 international tattoo artists specializing in a range of styles, as well as those specializing in such other fields as steampunk and graffiti.
Inkpact, the organization behind the event, also hosts huge conventions in Belgium (Sept. 17-18) and Vietnam (May 5-6, 2023).