Toronto embraces tattoo convention

Jun 12, 2018 | Arts, Life

London Slade, tattooist at Church of the Weird, works on a client using the Tebori technique of Japan. (Michelle Neha)

Sebastian Mahecha

Hordes of tattoo lovers gathered at the Metro Toronto Centre to witness human skin becoming the perfect canvas.

Thousands of ink devotees invaded Front Street West for the Northern Ink Xposure, one of North America’s largest tattoo conventions, last weekend.

A client getting a tattoo during the Northern Ink Xposure 2018. (Sebastian Mahecha)

The annual tattoo convention invited local as well as international artists to show their creativity and passion for tattoos.

A wide range of art seminars, burlesque shows, contests and fashion shows provided the participants with the joy only a tattoo convention could bring.

Many tattoo shops exhibited their artists and their artistic skills by providing live needle-work using modern and historic techniques.

London Slade, tattooist at Church of the Weird in Mississauga, showcased an ancient technique called Tebori, which is done by hand rather than by tattoo machine.

Slade said a Tebori tattoo may cost $160 an hour as it takes much longer than a regular tattoo.

“A piece of Tebori tattoo may take 60 per cent longer than a traditional tattoo does,” Slade said. “Tebori is very comfortable, very relaxing, but I also feel the technique has a much better impact on the saturation mainly because the healing process.

“I wanted to make Tebori tattoos mainly because I wanted to expand my horizon,” Slade said. “In order to learn this tattooing style I had to learn a bit of Japanese.”

Billy Hartman getting tattoo by his wife during Northern Ink Xposure (Sebastian Mahecha)

Billy Hartman, 30, who can be described as a walking canvas of swirls and colour, is one of the attendees who got inked during the convention — by this wife. He was getting it done for the best tattoo contest at the convention.

“That’s my wife there, the tattoo artist, her and I just put our minds together to do something nice for the contest,” Hartman said. He said the only free space available was on his butt and decided that his wife should cover it up.

He said there’s no special meaning to the tat his wife was putting on his rear.

“When you just get this many, you just want them to look nice,” Hartman said.