I decided to cover as many events and festivals of Taiwan as well since I wanted to not only try living in Taiwan but to immerse in their local culture too.
Tattoos are often considered a taboo in Asian culture, with parents reluctantly approving while their kids get inked. It is one of the rare issues that are often left untouched with tattoo parlors only visited by the ones who inks.
There are however a lot of amazing artworks to be discovered as well. As all artists are each unique to their own work, you’ll see works from different timelines, from vintage to minimalistic or even futuristic styles. Imaginary idols, creatures penned by the artist each to our own. And it’ll be one of my events to cover, alongside many others.
We headed over to the tattoo convention after lunch. And went in with our tickets. The place was filled with smokers as if there’s a correlation between ink lovers and smokers. They stood in line, some leaning against the wall, some standing, some with piercing in unorthodox areas of their face, some with chains. It felt like a metal concert at first, but after going in it felt a little different.
Similar to most conventions or fairs, vendors are laced out in an organized area, with each neatly packed by the sides. The walkways are more than enough to facilitate the crowd.
I zipped around a few rounds while managing a few hellos. I was usually returned with smiles and I wondered if it’s because that I’m clean (I’m not inked). Maybe I’m thinking too much, my inner voice said.
I noticed some stickers on the booth and I asked them if these are for sale.
“Oh those are free”, he smiled and replied.
“Wow really? Oh my god, thank you. These look amazing”, my eyes brightened up.
“Here, take afew more, these are free too, take them if you like”, he said while handing me stickers from the rest of the pile.
It was only later until I was told that there’s always been a sticker culture that has been going on in tattoo convention. Usually, they’ll create stickers to giveaway as a way of marketing, getting exposure and to share the love. And I’m quite lucky because it is their 10th year anniversary so it is much more epic than usual.
It is really truly nice to go back with gifts of course! Of the artworks that I fell in love with. And it definitely makes it easier for me to keep track of all the tattoo artists’ Instagram accounts too!
I managed befriended a Malaysian Tattoo Artist Apoh, where I hung out at her booth. It is actually funny how we even started talking and it started to become a conversation because we were both from Pemas Jaya! Here’s to you Apohapoh!
Apoh’s artwork reminds me of those neon tribal bold lining that is somewhat psychedelic. You’ll never miss her art because her works are that “special”! I also had fun trying to get more followers and exposure for her artwork.
There is also a second level, which comes with more goodies. Come with mostly Japanese art style, I found the anime artist Giant Lee and the amazing-and-heartwarming Inked Nana who not only decided to gave me postcards but also showed me a lot of her work.
I befriended Inked Nana and her amazing friends. They’re all hanging out at the booth and they look super chill! They all look really bold, dyed their hair in neon colors that my parents would actually kill me if I ever do my hair like that. I love how they are so comfortable being themselves and they are being themselves. I actually envy and admire them. Nana went straight back to start her work after giving me the goodies and I was really thankful for that. I love how adorable her artwork is, the child punk is truly unique compared to most art that I had seen. Her work comes in a diverse style and it’s really nice to watch her work.
I didn’t expect that I’ll stay for the event until the end. When Nana’s competition would be up in another 30 minutes. I grabbed a quick cup noodle at 7-11 before returning back while waiting for her turn to come up. I then dropped her a text only to find out that I missed it but I congratulate her nevertheless. It was probably one of my regrets for giving in to my hunger pangs.
I left the place after with not just a lot of gifts and stickers, but also memories and people who made my day a lot more beautiful.
(A shoutout to the event staff who actually gave me a limited edition carrier to bring my stickers back)
And before I go, here’s a mandatory “tourist” shot to play proof, and also to remind myself that I should always try out new festivals/events/conventions!
Name: Taiwan Tattoo Convention (台灣國際紋身藝術展/刺青展)