By Christine Leonard
CALGARY – Celebrating its 15th year in 2018, the Calgary Tattoo & Arts Festival has seen impressive growth over the years. As tattoos have found their way into the mainstream, the pursuit of increasingly higher standards of excellence has propelled quality of visual art and design being applied to human skin into the stratosphere. The ideal opportunity to see some of today’s hottest tattoo artists in action, the annual event attracts art lovers from all walks of life, according to Terra Connors, Managing Partner at Canwest Productions Inc.
“More and more international artists add Calgary to their tour, making the Show a one of a kind experience,” says Connors. “The Show is now over 100,000 square feet of exhibitors and artists, with over 11,000 people attending over the weekend.”
Attracting artists and performers from across the globe, Calgary’s annual gathering of body modification aficionados offers much more than the chance to get inked by a much sought-after gunslinger. By changing up their programming every year, The Festival aims to amuse, amaze and maybe even educate their audience. No wonder so many curious onlookers and dedicated participants keep returning to see what’s new year after year.
“By raising the bar at what you see in the Show, we deliver a high-end experience to our guests. It is not only 450+ of the best artists in the world, but amazing entertainment and unique retail shops on top,” Connors confirms. “Our Show has developed a strong reputation in the industry, which brings artists back.”
With so much eye candy to take in, it’s easy to get a bit overwhelmed by sheer volume and variety of artwork available to splash across your skin, or your walls if you’re feeling less bold. Connor advises checking out the Festival’s homepage in advance to get an idea of the different tattoo styles on exhibit and to discover the concepts that hold the most appeal for you.
“We encourage people to look for attending artists on our website,” she suggests. “All of our images and listings have links to their social media pages, just reach out and see if you can make an appointment. As for getting a tattoo at the Show, all artists are under strict guidelines and each booth is inspected by Alberta Health Services.”
Keeping things above board is of the utmost importance when hygiene is on the line, but that doesn’t mean the Festival is above getting a little dirty in the name of having a good time. The opening Friday evening of the event is notorious for its 18+ antics.
“The entire floor is licensed on the Friday night, so attendees can grab a drink and check out the ink! In addition, our stage shows are geared toward an adult audience [and are] a bit more risqué and edgier!”
Special guests this year include the likes of David Corden, Poch, Saga, Nick Chaboya, Carlos Torres, Bob Tyrrell, Sarah Miller, Bob Tyrrell and Mike Cole (MechMaster Mike) not to mention TV tattoo titans Jime Litwalk and the Ink Masters. If those names don’t ring a bell, you can always make a name for yourself by entering one of the tattoo contests.
“The Bad Tattoo Contest is just that – a contest reserved for the worst of the worst!” And, the prize is gift certificate from Second Skin for a tattoo removal treatment!”
Everybody wins, especially when the Calgary Roller Derby Club is on hand (and wheels) to host a rock ‘em-sock ‘em charity invitational.
“Some friendly competition between skaters and teams, who will be sponsored by artists and shops on site – with all donations going to the Skipping Stone Foundation,” explains Connors. “We are proud to say Calgary is the largest Tattoo Show in Canada, we strive to keep the bar set high, to make it an amazing experience for artists and attendees alike.”
The Calgary Tattoo & Arts Festival runs Oct. 12-14 at BMO Centre, Stampede Park (Calgary)
For details visit: https://albertatattooshows.com/calgary