AFP / Brendan Smialowski Butch Johnson, owner of Champion Tattoo Company, works on a former US Marine at his art studio in Washington, DC, on April 18, 2016
AFP / Brendan Smialowski Butch Johnson, owner of Champion Tattoo Company, works on a former US Marine at his art studio in Washington, DC, on April 18, 2016

by Alexia Vlachou

More than 20,000 ink enthusiasts gathered at the 10th International Athens Tattoo Convention held here during the weekend to admire tattoo artists showing off their talents and turning bodies into works of art.

AFP / Brendan Smialowski Butch Johnson, owner of Champion Tattoo Company, works on a former US Marine at his art studio in Washington, DC, on April 18, 2016
AFP / Brendan Smialowski
Butch Johnson, owner of Champion Tattoo Company, works on a former US Marine at his art studio in Washington, DC, on April 18, 2016
A total of 200 Greek and international tattoo artists came to Athens for the 10th anniversary of the tattoo convention which run for three days at the Tae Kwon Do Stadium, in southern Athens, one of the 2004 Olympic Games venues.

“The evolution that has been made the last 10 years is pretty big. We made a huge effort to invite top artists and they came from very far away, from all Europe, United States, even from Japan,” art director of the convention and tattoo artist, Mike the Athens told Xinhua.

“I really like the convention. This year we have all these foreign artists that they are the top in the world,” Thanos, a Greek tattoo artist told Xinhua.

Spanish tattoo artist Zondix who is one of the best in geometry tattoo was thrilled by the level of the festival and the attitude of the visitors.

“In other conventions we are like robots, here people were more friendly, customers wanted to talk,” he told Xinhua.

Influenced by oriental culture, Zondix likes to combine China’s Tibetan style and Thai style with geometry.

“I like to draw and do some things with computer. It is rather difficult because drawing is one thing and then geometry is more technical. They are very different styles and I like to mix them in a nice way,” he said.

But, Greek tattoo artists also stand out in the global scene. According to Mike the Athens, who has a 25-year-old career with international presence, the last five years many Greeks go abroad and have booths in foreign conventions.

“While the number is small, it is strong. There are 10 artists, but they are really good in the universal scene,” he noted.

Despite the economic crisis that has hit the country since 2009, the tattoo culture evolves in a rapid way in Greece.

“Tattoo has always been a trend, but now it is open to the mainstream audience. It was a trend for rock n roll people, street life people in the 80s. Now more and more people want to enter this field,” Mike the Athens explained.

But, he noted that the tattoo industry has been affected by the crisis to a certain point. “Many people that are interested do not buy our merchandise; everybody wants a discount. They do it, but not as big as they would like to do it due to its cost. The chemistry, though, is happening,” he added.

Geometric designs, portraits, water color intricate patterns, colorful floral motifs and tribal pieces were among the new tattoos adorning the bodies of visitors.

During the three-day art festival, guests could enjoy graffiti shows, skate and bike shows, aerial acrobatics but also competitions for best tattoos with a panel of judges who selected the winners. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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