July 1, 2012

Tattoo festival was disrupted due to storm (VIDEO)

Above, artist Greg French works on his client, Brittany Keylon at the Hampton Roads Tattoo Festival in Virginia. Brittany has recently separated from her husband, overcame a battle with cancer and the death of her father.
A tattoo expo held at Bookworld Blenheim yesterday drew a big crowd, some with tattoos and others just interested in the culture.

Bookworld Blenheim co-owner Charlene Scott said tattoos have always intrigued her, which is largely to do with her mother Jean Kelly's admiration for them.

Ms Kelly said when she was about 18, she met a man in Christchurch who had 136 tattoos.

"They were all individual, but when you looked at them from a distance, it was just the most beautiful picture," said Ms Kelly, who does not have any tattoos herself.

The expo featured a one-hour seminar as well as three artists who tattooed volunteers in the shop.

One of the volunteers, Alex Matthews, got her first tattoo when she was 21.

Almost 17 years later, she now has seven tattoos, the most recent being a picture of a Sailor Jerry which was popular with American GIs during World War II.

"You do want to keep going once you've started," she said.

Each tattoo is carefully considered. She had wanted the Sailor Jerry since she got her first tattoo.

Tattooist creates one-off designs

If you get a tattoo from Willy Wills, you can guarantee he won't use your design on anyone else.

The former owner of the Black Rose Tattoo Emporium in Ferry Rd, Christchurch, Willy moved to Blenheim four weeks ago and opened up his new shop at the Riverlands Roadhouse truck stop on State Highway 1 on Thursday.

Yesterday, he tattooed a Sailor Jerry character on Alex Matthews right arm at the tattoo expo at Bookworld Blenheim.

Since Thursday, he had already tattooed four people from out of town, and six from the Marlborough area.

He believes Blenheim is moving forward in a big way, despite the sometimes subdued attitude of Marlburians.

"A lot more parents seem to be against tattooing compared to those in Christchurch or other big cities, because they were never allowed to get tattoos when they were younger," said Willy, who has been tattooing for almost 30 years.

Since opening Black Rose in 1991, he now has 1.6 million sheets full of tattoos he has designed.

Before he began using a computer-based system to catalogue his designs, Willy used to draw each design and throw it away or give it to the customer when he was finished.

"Once you've got it, it's yours. It's your design. Why would I give it to another person?"

His Christchurch shop in Ferry Rd literally fell over, he said, and instead of rebuilding, he and his wife moved to Blenheim.

"I was sick of the shakes anyway."

Before he left Christchurch, he was giving a woman a tattoo of the Christ Church Cathedral when another quake shook the building they were in.

"She ended up with a line out here, but she decided to keep it that way," he said.

He doesn't advertise because his customers are a walking advertisement. Many of those customers will travel up to Blenheim to get more work done.

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