Antwerp Tattoo Convention

TagsAntwerp tattoo convention, body art, tattoo
  • Antwerp Tattoo Convention #thisisantwerp

Antwerp has been a harbor for centuries, which comes with a very own set of neighborhoods and traditions. Besides a red-light district, tattoo parlors are a typical thing to expect in a town crawling with sailors and merchants from all over the world. We were no different in this tradition.

Antwerp, harbor and tattoos

There is no way that any of us is blind to the rise of tattoo culture over the past 50 years. Inking has come a long way though. Where little swallows used to show the distance a sailor had come so far, they are now a very common tattoo on young adults and adults alike. Tribals, barbed wire patterns, dragons and so on: the eighties and nineties are far behind us and these days there is so much more to choose from. Tattooing has truly evolved into a form of art and trade.

Antwerp Tattoo Convention #16

It is exactly for this reason that 16 years ago, a group of artists and aficionados decided to bundle their forces and put up a convention to joint tattoo artists with possible clients, as well as to show the world what tattoos could mean (and should mean). Born was the Antwerp Tattoo Convention. The oldest one of his kind in Belgium and by no means a small event.

Every year they put up shop in Waagnatie. Artists have their own booth and there is a nice mixture of walk-in possibilities and people that come to the show to ink a piece that is entered in one of the show’s contests. Besides the obvious inking, there is room left for side activities. They used to invite quite spectacular acts like needle-artists (corset piercings) and even suspension. However: the event is now much more of a family affair and so the organization now opts for more approachable activities. This year there will be an airbrush artist working his magic, a body painter as well as some rockabilly bands. Even a barbershop will be present and men will be able to get a slick shave and cut by Antwerp Barber Chaplin.


If you’re in town this weekend, make sure to pass by Waagnatie to get your ink on, to have a look around and enjoy the world surrounding all of them who live with their body full of art. I’ll be there, covering the whole thing and who knows, maybe getting something done myself?


Text by Joke Tourné - Antwerp Hashtagqueens

Pics by Diamond City Crew


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