I have some friends and a lot of acquaintances who have tattoos. I have quite some myself, I just love this kind of art, and especially the craftsmanship that comes with creating this art. My dear friend Richard, who goes by the name of Devil’s Backbone Tattoos and I have worked together in a tattoo studio called Inkmen in my home town of Tegelen. We have the same passion when it comes to tattooing, so we’ve taken some trips which revolve around tattoos already. Including visits to tattoo conventions.
This is a first
This weekend, we had another trip planned together. But instead of visiting a tattoo convention, this would be the first convention where Richard had rented a booth and would be tattooing. Yay for another perspective on things!
Hasselt Tattoo Convention 2022
The convention we went to was the Hasselt Tattoo convention 2022, organized by Ink ‘n Art events. A convention with the main focus on tattooing, but with a lot of other stuff to do as well. Next to many tattoo booths, there was a car show, some stands that sold lifestyle stuff from clothing to home decoration, there was a stage on which various acts took place, there was a massage parlour, and even a small 18+ area with fun and kinky stuff for sale which you can use in the bedroom.
The trip and setting up
We met at Richard’s place to load the car and hit the road soon after to the city of Hasselt in Belgium. When we arrived we had to look around a bit to see where we could get to the parking lot, but soon after we found it and went to the backstage loading area. We parked the car, went in, and registered our arrival.
A guy from the organisation was nice enough to walk us to our booth so we could have a look. We unloaded our stuff and set up the booth the way we wanted to. This was a bit of a puzzle as it was our first time, and a booth like this isn’t very big. But we made it work in the end!
A big part of an event like the Hasselt Tattoo Convention is getting to know people, networking, and having a good time. So after the booth was set up, it was time to get to know the neighbouring artists. Next to us, we had Tattoostudio Enkhuizen from the Netherlands, which was a great gang of people, on the other side we had Art of Eternity Tattoo studio from Viersen, and on the other side of the aisle, we had Kejti Dumka, the founder of Opium Ink from Poland. We were in the best company, and it was international. Sweet!
Day one, the Saturday, was a cool day, with lots of people who came to look, but regretfully, no one wanted to get tattooed. There were some people interested, but they didn’t follow through. Part of this was because of people who wanted to pay with a card instead of cash, and there was no cash machine on the premises.
A bit of a bummer, and something to think about for future events. But we made the best of it, and Richard tattooed me instead. So I got a really cool black panther, a redraw in true Richard style of a 1976 flash Richard had found. We were both happy with the result. The only thing, damn, it was cold in that arena for most of the day!
At about 1930 Hrs, we decided it was ok to go and check out our apartment and get something to eat. We had a 15 minutes drive to the apartment, and upon arrival, we saw a modern building which I liked very much. Also, the inside of the apartment was very nice, stylish and modern. A good place to sleep. And the owner had turned up the heat to the “hellfire” position. Too hot for us, so we turned it down again.
After getting ready for a bit we went for dinner at an old tavern in the centre of the little town, where we had good food and a couple of beers. At that establishment, we were seated directly next to a heater, again with the “hellfire” position on, so the beer probably evaporated before we could actually get a bit of a buzzy feeling. The buzz came though, from dehydration :D.
The next day, Sunday, we’d expected fewer people than the day before. Normally, Sundays are the less-busy days for such conventions. But boy were we wrong! Pretty soon on, the arena filled up with people, and we had a blast. Richard had a couple of tattoos to do, including a nice idea for a sleeve on which he’d now done the first part.
As Richard was busy tattooing, I took the time to walk around, check some other tattooers out, and make some conversation. I got to know some really cool people and got to take some photos for a change. I checked out the strip/tease/pole dance/areal acts as well, and almost bought myself a pair of Nikes. They weren’t in my size, but I’ll go look for them elsewhere.
So the day flew by, and somewhere between 1800-1900 Hrs, we decided it was time to go home. We gathered our stuff, put it in the car, said our goodbyes to the neighbouring artists and people, and drove home. We ended the day with a pizza and a beer at Richard’s place, and then it was time for me to go home and say hi to my couch. What a weekend.
Richard, thanks for your friendship and the cool trips we take together. Ink ‘n Art Events, thanks for organising the event. Tattoostudio Enkhuizen, Lin Ink, Art of Eternity, Opium Ink, thanks for being great neighbours. Hope to see you again!