[metaslider id=36412]The annual Brighton Tattoo Convention returns on Sat 30 April – Sun 1 May. Moved to the early summer for the first time, the convention also sees the Brighton Centre as its new home. “The last three years at the Hilton have been great, with Brighton Tattoo Convention growing steadily with each passing year,” says organiser and marketing manager, Nicola Wyatt. “With our ninth show approaching its time to move onto a bigger space. Plus, it has natural daylight and amazing views!” The relocation to one of the South East’s largest purpose-built exhibition centres certainly offers plenty of expansion for this hugely popular event.

The tattoo-curious, enthusiasts and collectors will all be heading to the Brighton seafront over this weekend. They’ll be greeted by 285 of the planet’s greatest artists showcasing their work, displaying the very best in the realism, black-work and traditional forms, and everything in between… “Tattooing is such a part of everyday life today, it has surpassed the stereotypes and barriers of old. People from all walks of life enjoy the art form and our demographic is wide and varied.” As well as a plethora of top class inking, there’ll also be dozens of independent traders selling anything and everything tattoo related. From jewellery to reference books it will be a unique shopping experience.

The event is not simply a spectators sport, but a prime opportunity to jump the waiting lists of some world class artists. “Really great tattooists are dedicated to their craft, and the medium of tattooing. For the greats, it is never about money, it isn’t even a job. It’s about creating true art that will last a lifetime.” Show founder and organiser Woody started it all after working on the first few London events. He was living in Brighton at the time, so set out to create a more laid back convention by the sea which would bring artists from all over the world. For 2016 there are more events and exhibitions at the convention than ever. “Our artists are being brought together in one huge open plan space, having everyone on the same level will make the show much easier to navigate. We are also looking forward to having enough room for all of our other features…” The event’s The Barber Expo will see AONO Brighton’s Paul Hewitt bring his internationally acclaimed band of barbers back to the convention for a fourth year. This reflects a growing appetite for hair stylists who give a little bit more. There’ll be barbers flying in from across the world for this fun and accessible session. You can get your hair done, ask questions and check out the product stands, DJs and Q&A sessions.

Elsewhere, the Bodysuit Scrolls Exhibition is being curated by Jondix, Deno and their team at Seven Doors Tattoo. This collection of life-size artworks takes inspiration from the traditional Japanese bodysuit. A handpicked group of artists were tasked to produce large scale works in their individual styles. “So many conventions stick to the same format, but at Brighton we like to keep moving forward making our event better and better every year.” Featuring artists such as Jondix, Claudia De Sabe, Duncan X, Guy Le Tatooer, Alex Binnie, the exhibition features breath-taking artworks showcasing the finest styles of contemporary tattooing.

A new addition for this year’s convention is a Custom Car Show with JackHammer Speed Shop. The Lead Room will be dominating the ground floor of the Brighton Centre with a display of traditional styled custom cars. There’ll also be displays of parts, art, tools and panel-work in this exciting exhibition of dedicated to the history of classic American cars. Whether you are into all things custom or just appreciate the timelessness of Americana, it will be an impressive and colourful addition to the event.

This year the convention has a film strand, playing host to the premiere of ‘The Point of No Return’. This colourful new film is a journey into tribal tattooing. Created by Brighton-based tattoo artist Fade ‘FX’ Manning and film director Tom Kelly, it journeys into the history of tribal hand-tapped tattooing among the Iban tribes of Borneo. Along the journey Fade and Tom highlight the plight of a people whose way of life is under threat by the industrialisation of their world.

Bigger, bolder and better than ever, Brighton Tattoo Convention is a great day out for any art enthusiast. “We want to promote the art of tattooing and the message the sky is the limit. Tattooing is more than a trade, it’s an art form. There are so many brilliant tattooists out there, it’s a personal journey to find the one who exceeds the hopes and expectations you hold for a tattoo which will be on your skin forever.”

The ninth edition of the Brighton Tattoo Convention comes to Brighton Centre on Sat 30 April – Sun 1 May 2016.  Tickets are priced at £25 for the day or £40 for the full weekend.

www.brightontattoo.com