Inked AU/NZ – Authentink Article – November 2014
by Kian ‘Horisumi’ Forreal
Those of you who follow me on instagram or facebook will know that I spent the last half of September and most of October travelling around the world to a couple of the best tattoo conventions on the planet, namely the 10th anniversary edition of the London Tattoo Show and the 9th annual King of Tattoo convention in Tokyo! Running at the same time as the London Tattoo Show was the ‘TIME – Tattoo Art Today’ Exhibition put on by Miki Vialetto at the Somerset House in central London overlooking the River Thames. This was an exhibition of artworks by the leading 70 tattoo artists of today all put in one gallery and curated by Miki of Tattoo Energy.
On the Thursday night before the London show started was the opening party of sorts and an upstairs soirée at the Somerset House for artists and collectors alike to view the original artworks being exhibited by the likes of Ed Hardy, Horiyoshi III, Chris Garver, Mick from Zurich, Filip Leu, Mister Cartoon, Nikko Hurtado, Hanky Panky, Timothy Hoyer etc etc, a who’s who of the tattoo aristocrats! So we all did the rounds and viewed the various artworks created from every medium imaginable, there were cast bronze heads, there were paintings in the traditional sense and not so traditional sense, and some sculptures and some were a mixture of two or three mediums. The only restriction the tattoo artists had was that it could be on anything but skin! The ceramic mannequin bust painted with a lovely blue dragon by Chris Garver was definitely my favorite piece. After that we headed upstairs for food and drink and a speech by none other than Ed Hardy himself talking about the current state of the art, a little bit of his history as a tattoo artist and how proud he was to be part of a great tradition. It was a great time and looking around the room you saw the real old school rock stars of the tattoo world all chatting and sharing stories. Pretty Epic!
The London Tattoo show itself was massive this year! And after 10 years of doing it they certainly have it down to a science and an art! The convention attracts the best of the best artists from around the world every year and this year was no different! I normally work the show when I go but this year I was happy to just be a spectator and make the rounds taking pictures and catching up with old friends and making some new ones. The downstairs level was larger than ever this year with 3 different stages going full time with performances and competitions, the food was great with a huge selection and my favorite part of the show is that there are 4 different bars to lounge in yet you can still take your drinks for a walk with you through the venue. All in all it was a long long flight for three days of drinking, looking at tattoos and talking shit! But I would do it again in a second!
On to the land of the rising sun! Japan, where in my opinion the best tattoo style originates from! Naturally I am biased as I do Japanese tattooing but there is no denying the power of Traditional Japanese tattoo art… or any Japanese arts for that matter. Attention to details, patience, discipline, craftwork… precision! These are all words that describe what it takes to create the best tattoos in the world, and Japan has all of those attributes and more! The King of Tattoo convention did not disappoint in any way. The Host is Katsuta from Tokyo Hardcore Tattoo, he created a great convention that was a show for artists by artists. It was Less of a tattoo convention and more of a tattoo aficionado gathering and exhibition. The amount of full coverage walking around the show was astounding, Shige alone had about 15 bodysuits there on display. My favorite part of the 4 day even, outside of actual tattooing, was the Sanja Matsuri tattoo crew that were there demonstrating the Sake Ritual in their fundoshis and chanting. All of them tattooed from neck to wrist to ankle… some with their heads entirely tattooed, some of the them missing pinky fingers. Serious guys… but having so much fun! I got to participate in the Sake ritual.. amazing experience and if you check out my website you can see the video of my downing about a liter of sake in one go, rest of that day is a bit hazy…. Some other awesomeness that was taking place there was Horiyoshi 3 body painting some amazing full backs on bikini clad models while his son Souryou was tattooing a backpiece beside him on stage! A sight to behold if you care even a little about Japanese tattooing! Souryou has some big shoes to fill and he’s definitely heading in the right direction.. his new works are amazing!
The competitions for the show was something you could only witness in Japan. Row after row of flawless backpieces and body suits, literally row after row. It was amazing.. if you check the back of this magazine there are some of my picture from the convention featured. I don’t know how the judges decided but they settled on a very traditional bodysuit by Yonzin for the winner of bodysuit category, the pictures don’t really do it justice but it was solid simple black background and orange peonies.. neck to wrist to ankle, solid and rich, what a great style! I will be back in Japan next for the show as we had such a great time! Thanks to Travelling Mick, Sana and Katsuda for the hook up!
On a different note, my shop Authentink Studio has been open a year now and I just want to thank everyone that has helped me along the way on this journey and my clients that make it all possible! Thank you!
I am also looking for an apprentice again, please visit my website before contacting me about this.. read the update post about the position and follow the instructions if you are interested! Best of Luck!