By Andria Kades
LIMASSOL was buzzing this weekend as it hosts its 2nd International Tattoo Convention, which attracted over 2,000 people.
From small and discreet to bold and intricate, Carob Mills in the old town was a mix of loud music, huge crowds and the sound of humming needles that marked the three-day event.
Expressions varied with some whimpering in pain, others breaking into a grin when seeing the final result yet the only steady face – and hand – was that of the artists, calm and impassive, a look of concerted, unwavering focus.
From Poland, England, Italy and Greece the convention, which began on Friday had a wide array of artists and enthusiasts all showing their own skin as a sample of the passion they had for tattoos.
“I used to be a journalist for more than 10 years,” Michal Goorazz from Nemesis Tatoo in London said. Originally from Poland he moved to the UK in 2006 and now works at a Camden based tattoo shop. A Masters degree holder he “always liked to draw and create art from a young age” and therefore when he felt that journalism was filled with lies and propaganda he followed his passion instead.
In Cyprus, tattoos used to be a taboo subject but have now become “a way of life” for some people like 34 year-old Panayiota who did not want to share her last name. Getting inked since the age of 20 she looked awfully calm for someone getting the back of her foot hit with a needle. “It really doesn’t hurt. Sure I feel like there’s something there but no pain at all.”
The convention organisers keep a low profile with members requesting they not be named because this would discredit the efforts of everyone else who had been working hard for the past few months to make the event come to life for the second year.
During his 16 years of experience, an artist that goes by the name of Christos at Endangered Species has literally seen it all. From tattooing people’s private parts to creating a masterpiece from someone’s shoulder all the way to his ankle. Nothing surprises him any more.
What most artists reiterate is that while the most numerous clients are aged between 25 and 30, there is no age limit. To this day Christos has never forgotten his oldest client – a 67-year-old British woman in Ayia Napa who achieved her lifelong dream tattoo – an English rose.
It is very difficult to assess certain trends due to the personal nature of tattoos however Christos seems to notice an increase in realistic drawings such as portraits and flowers. Classic, tribal and Japanese are among the most popular and with the greater demand for tattoos there are now artists on almost every street, compared to a few years ago when there were only a few well known ones.
Almost an unspoken rule for every artist is to advise anyone wanting to get permanent ink against something very personal like a name or a date because it can’t go away. Too many have had experiences of boyfriends getting a tattoo designed by their other half only to come back a month later desperate after a breakup to remove it or somehow alter it.
“Some people get tattoos because it’s a passion others do it for the fashion,” a long-time fan said. Following tattoo trends for years, he notices that younger people are more inclined to get permanent ink because it’s ‘cool’ while for others, it is their passion.
Patience is key to the process, Christos says both from the part of the artist and the person being inked. During the moment, tattooists are so concentrated on their task that they forget all about eating, sleeping or even their arm aching. Watching them work makes one flinch at the thought of pain yet marvel at the accuracy and sheer magnitude of their art.
Tickets are still available at the door today at Carob Mills, Limassol. For more information visit https://el-gr.facebook.com/cyprustattooconvention