Like a swarm of bees who’ve lost their hive, the buzzing of tattoo machines never stopped all weekend at the Claudelands Event Centre. This was the place to be if you wanted to be a part of the NZ International Tattoo and Art Expo on February 21–22. Featuring burlesque dancers, the Miss Tattoo NZ competition, and a fashion show, tattoo artists from New Zealand, and from around the world, displayed their talents. Many artists were so in demand that they had signs posted stating, “Sorry, booked all weekend.” Throughout the duration of the event, the exhibition hall was packed with tattooists, the tattooed, and those who appreciate body art.
David L’Huillier from Hamilton has a very impressive full-body tattoo.
He got his first tattoo at the age of 21, when he was in the army. Now aged 27 he works out a lot to keep in shape.
Wandering around the event it was easy to see the people who wanted to get into the industry and start up their own tattoo business. You could tell who they were as they were checking out what the Bohemian Tattoo Supplies team from Tauranga had on display. They had everything you'd need to start up your own business — ink, needles, guns, stencils — all you'd need to find yourself would be a willing client.
If you still weren't too convinced to get some permanent ink, Usha's Henna Art was as the show applying traditional Indian artwork, in the non-permanent variety, which is made from natural henna. The designs will last between one to four weeks depending on your skin type. Who knows, in that time you might feel convinced you want to keep it around forever.
Sarah Welsh was in New Zealand on a holiday, away from her home in Wales, and dropped in at the expo and added to her artwork.
She got her first tattoo at the age of 18, and now at 22 she can't stop — her back is covered. Over in England last year, Sarah won Miss Tattoo. When asked why she didn't enter the contest at the New Zealand expo she said, “I'm not getting up there in a swim suit”.
Nathan and Melissa from Conscious Stuff had a large selection of custom jewellery on display, comprising of earrings, tunnels, stretchers, bracelets, and necklaces, which had been handcrafted from buffalo horn and bone.
The MellyPop Doll House-hosted fashion show got the crowds gathered. Melissa Spiller, who owns the MellyPop Doll House back in Wellington even entered the show in her red and black corset.
Following the competition was a burlesque show. All the participants appeared to be having a good time, which the audience fed off, adding to the fun atmosphere of the event. Daria Dangerous entered with her red feather boa as pictured above.
Trillion, the naughty teacher
Red Delicious with feathers
Andy from Taupou Tatau, which is based in wellington, spent most of the day on Saturday working on Emilie's leg. She'd travelled all the way from San Francisco just for the show.
Little did Emilie know when she jumped on the plane to New Zealand that she would walk away with second place in the Miss Tattoo competition,
Sam from Monsta Truck Tattoo in Napier was kept incredibly busy all weekend as well.
At this stage she was working on a leg of a person who had also made the trip up from Napier.
One tattooist, Ryugen, came all the way from Japan to do traditional Japanese tattooing. Ryugen has been carrying out the Irezumi style of tattoing for over 20 years. He doesn't use a machine; instead, the tattooing is done with a very sharp blade on the end of a stick. The lady being tattooed here looked like she was in pain, and who could blame her! It took three and a half hours to do her back.
Miss Tattoo 2015
Miss Nikki Needles was the compere for the Miss Tattoo competition. She took out the competition back in 2013.
Melissa Spiller, Gaina Rose, who was Miss Tattoo 2014, Event Organizer Criss Praze, and Nadine Marrio lined up as the Miss Tattoo judging panel.