Tat­too con­ven­tion leaves its mark

Windy City Tat­too Con­ven­tion con­tin­ues to grow each year

Lethbridge Herald - - HOMETOWN NEWS - Fol­low @GBobinecHer­ald on Twit­ter Greg Bobinec LETHBRIDGE HER­ALD gbobinec@leth­bridge­herald.com

The largest tat­too con­ven­tion in Lethbridge filled Ex­hi­bi­tion park over the week­end for a three-day event that sup­ports the love and artistry of tat­too­ing in south­ern Al­berta. Windy City Tat­too Con­ven­tion cel­e­brated its 11th year in Lethbridge and con­tin­ues to draw in larger crowds as the event con­tin­ues. The con­ven­tion brings more than 100 artists from across Canada and in­ter­na­tion­ally to show off their style and com­pete in cat­e­gories for best in show.

Tat­too artist Will Woods, from Pep­per­mint Hippo Tat­too in Lethbridge, says he is sur­prised at how the con­ven­tion has grown over the years, and he en­joys the en­vi­ron­ment and chal­lenges the event presents.

“It has grown mas­sively. We started with not re­ally know­ing what we were do­ing and we just stepped into it and it has grown ev­ery year and has be­come a very pop­u­lar event,” says Woods. “There is dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories for tat­too com­pe­ti­tions. We also have our own ink chal­lenge which is a three-day event, where five artists com­pete in cat­e­gories and they can win a big belt and $1,000 cash.”

Tat­toos have be­come more pop­u­lar and ac­cepted in so­ci­ety over the last decade, with two in 10 Cana­di­ans get­ting their skin per­ma­nently inked, ac­cord­ing to mar­ket re­search com­pany Ip­sos.

Woods says with con­ven­tions such as this one, it opens up more con­ver­sa­tion about the dif­fer­ent types of tat­toos, and mak­ing it more ac­cept­able within so­ci­ety’s stan­dards. The con­ven­tion also of­fers the op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple who are un­sure about tat­too­ing to learn more about it per­son­ally with the ex­perts.

“I do think that tat­too­ing has come a long way and the in­dus­try has grown,” says Woods. “I think that th­ese kinds of shows let peo­ple come in here that wouldn’t nor­mally come get a tat­too, and they can feel a lit­tle more com­fort­able com­ing in and talk­ing to peo­ple about tat­too­ing rather than go­ing into a shop and maybe be­ing a lit­tle in­tim­i­dated.”

With the tat­too guns buzzing, ink flowing and cus­tomers tens­ing up from the nee­dle pres­sure, tat­too­ers dis­played their art style across peo­ples bod­ies to spread through­out the com­mu­nity, con­nect with like-minded peo­ple, com­pete for top prizes and en­joy the strange live en­ter­tain­ment that is shown ev­ery year.

Her­ald photo by Greg Bobinec

Monty and Le­sile Rick­ens from Mon­sters Ink Tat­too in Medicine Hat dou­ble-team a piece at the Windy City Tat­too Con­ven­tion at Ex­hi­bi­tion Park, Satur­day af­ter­noon.

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