News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Tuesday March 26th 2019

Body art attracts thousands to V&A

Jason Kros, 23, gets an intricate tattoo done in public view at the Southern Ink Xposure tattoo convention over the weekend by artist Jon Case at The Body Architects in Claremont, Cape Town. Photo: Kate Gerber/WCN

The international tattoo convention Southern Ink Xposure (SIX) attracted a whopping ten thousand visitors to last year’s event at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC).

Downscaled to the Pavilion at the V&A Waterfront this year, the Cape Town Tourism board still expected to see international and local visitors of equal number. But some of those showcasing at the event over the weekend were not so sure.

Shane Burnell, a 29 year-old Capetonian who has been helping set up the convention every year for the past 4 years, said he did not think the circular design at the Pavilion works for a convention of this sort.

“At the CTICC all the artists were together under one roof and we could see what everyone was up to. Here, we have no idea what the guys upstairs are doing,” said Burnell.

His overall impression was “that there are fewer visitors this year but more people getting tattoos on site” at an event which offered the rare opportunity to see tattoo artists at work.

Despite the seemingly lower turnout – figures would only be tallied after the weekend – international and out-of-town artists were pleased to be there.

Tattoo artists travelled from around the world to attend, including from Los Angeles, Brussels, Amsterdam and Hong Kong.

Ross Turpin, 29, from Durban, said being a tattoo artist allowed him to travel the world but it was “so great to be in this awesome city and to get a chance to meet so many South African artists under one roof”.

He described being at the convention as a working holiday.

“It’s my first year at the expo but I will definitely come next year”, he said.

Turpin feels that tattoos have become more mainstream and acceptable in today’s world. “They are self-expressive. They look cool,” he said. Turpin himself is covered in them. When asked if he thought that they were addictive he said: “I guess they are addictive. But it’s not the pain that is addictive. It’s the thrill of having something beautiful and permanent on your body forever.”

“As an artist there is good money to be made. You can charge more for tattoos abroad. It’s a good living, especially custom work.”

Jason Kros, a 23-year-old local, has spent thousands of rand on his tattoo. “I came into The Body Architects to get a phoenix on my shoulder. Then I found a Buddha piece I liked and one of the artists there helped me to begin to design a full back piece for me. I have been coming to Jon (tattoo artist Jon Case) for over a year now, as it’s a piece in progress. It’s about R850 an hour, depending on the design.”

Jason has a good relationship with his artist, “we’ve been spending a lot of time together. I completely trust how he works.”

Jason is a fan of the Southern Ink Xposure and will definitely be coming back next year.

“Ours is a generation that is a lot more expressive and tattooing is a good medium for that. What is great about the convention is that there are sometimes four or five artists in any shop. They each have their own flavor. Here you have a chance to walk around and see the art each of them is doing.” – Kate Gerber

Tags: Jason Kros, Jon Case, Ross Turpin, Shane Burnell, Southern Ink Xposure, The Body Architects, the Pavilion at the V&A Waterfront

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One Response to “Body art attracts thousands to V&A”

  1. Moddy says:

    Where can one learn & become a tattoo artist in Cape Town.

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