The annual Vancouver Tattoo and Culture Show (VTCS) returned for its 13th year this past weekend at the Vancouver Convention Centre, an event that highlights both local and international artists and their designs.
This year’s event showcased over 300 artists and vendors, displaying a variety of tattoo styles. Neon colours of ink, black vinyl chairs, detailed portfolio books, and long draping curtains surrounded the convention centre while ink pens buzzed as people got their new tattoo.
An eclectic mix of vendors also had items on display, such as Indigenous beaded jewelry, anime keychains, and taxidermy shops that showcased iridescent beetles and kaleidoscope butterflies.
The show was open to everyone in the community and saw a variety of parents, teens with friends, and mingling adults.
“I just wanted to provide our local artists with somewhere to go produce their artwork, and share the love of the art with everybody,” says Kara Johns, event manager of the convention.
Johns also says the VTCS is all about collaboration.
“If you are new, and you’re looking at getting tattooed, and you’re not quite sure where to start, this is a great place just because we have … pretty much every style you can imagine.”
Artists also provided business cards and QR codes as an option for the public to follow-up with them in the future.
Trevor MacKay, a tattoo artist from Two Tides Tattoo in Vancouver, has been involved with the show for years and says the local tattoo community is only growing. He recalls only 34 shops existed in the Lower Mainland back in 2001, and now there are hundreds.
With this increase, he says we need to embrace the changes in the community and support tattoo conventions like the VTCS because they help build those bridges.
“A big part of our job culture is to travel, it’s to go to conventions to meet, greet and learn from other artists. I think it’s important because it gives everybody an opportunity to come be on the same floor together,” MacKay says.
Taylor Dauvin, a tattoo artist from Anthem Tattoo in Sherwood Park, Alberta participated at VTCS for the first time. In addition to enjoying the freedom of doing what she loves each day, she also finds passion in the connection and confidence she can give to a client.
“The thing that’s really different about tattooing is every day you have an opportunity to create a masterpiece for someone. It’s getting to connect with somebody and find out what’s important to them and bring their ideas to life,” Dauvin says.
“I really love when there’s someone who’s insecure about a certain part of their body, and they get tattooed, and then they love that part. Things like that just make people feel better about themselves again, with [a] kind of body positivity.”
One attendee, Brian Kang, says he’s interested in tattoos but never really explored them, so the show was a great start.
“I would recommend [the show]. It’s a good way to discover artists. It’s very approachable too because they have a lot of flash tattoos that you can just go up and do. Everyone’s been so nice. It’s a step into the culture,” Kang says.