Tattoo artists flock to festival
Brent Taylor has an inkling this year's tattoo and arts festival in New Plymouth will be bigger and better than the first.
More than 250 artists have signed up for The Mill New Zealand Tattoo & Arts Festival, 100 more than the inaugural festival in 2010.
Mr Taylor said 180 of those tattooists were from around the globe, meaning a huge cross-section of styles and cultures would be on show.
"We've got people coming from Poland, Japan, Italy, the United States.
"I'm excited about it, it looks like it's going to be a lot bigger this year.
"Our website's had over double the hits that it did in 2010."
Mr Taylor, 34, came up with the idea for the festival after talking to several of his tattooist friends who realised there was nothing major like it in New Zealand.
"It was just to do something fun and now it's turned into this huge, crazy thing," he said.
It was set up to be a biennial event, but Mr Taylor said it would now be running every year because of the high demand.
"A lot of the artists were saying it was the best festival in Australasia, and some are saying it's the best in the world. It's just blown us away. Nothing negative was said by the artists or the public after the last one."
More than 7000 people attended the event in 2010 and Mr Taylor hoped to reach 10,000 at this year's festival.
Mr Taylor, a New Plymouth man who is Oni Events director, said they had attracted the attention of Dan Smith, who starred on hit TV Show LA Ink, and Nikole Lowe from London Ink, who would demonstrate their skills over the two days.
New Zealand band The Bleeders will also play their first show in four years, and burlesque dancer Venus Star is set to put on an extreme show.
An art auction will also run with proceeds going to the TDHB neo-natal unit, as well as a skateboard competition.
Mr Taylor said he had noticed the negative perception associated with tattoos was slowly beginning to change. "Hopefully with this we are also educating people about tattooing and showing them just how good the artwork is.
"It's about breaking down those stereotypes that are associated with tattooists, getting rid of that gang affiliation and all of that. These people are artists and they're business people and they love what they do."
The festival is on at the TSB Stadium from November 24 till 25, with tickets $20 and kids under 14 free.
Taranaki Daily News