Show Reviews

Victoria Tattoo Expo

Victoria Tattoo Expo

Victoria, BC, Canada

October 25-27, 2019

The Victoria Tattoo Expo is the only gathering of its kind in Victoria, British Columbia, on the Southwest edge of Vancouver Island. Within the local community is a unique fusion of arts and culture, and tattooing is a big part of that confederacy.

“There’s a lot of indigenous culture and traditional tattoos are very welcome on the Island,” says Ash Woods, who with husband Will, tattooer and owner of Peppermint Hippo, are the organizers of the event. The pair also stage a show in Lethbridge, Alberta, where Ash says there’s a preference for “minimalist tattoos” with fine line, minimal shading and ornamental kinds of designs.

“We try to bring as many different styles of the industry together as we possibly can, just to give the public an idea of what’s out there,” Ash says. “We try to bring together a wide variety of artists and attendees, so everyone can build their network — they’re not only doing tattoos for the weekend; they’re also growing their families.”

The Victoria Tattoo Expo hosted 137 tattoo artists — the majority hailing from the Canada, and drew more than 4,000 fans over the three-day event. The number of tattoos that get done throughout the weekend — some 1,500 by Ash’s count, is pretty amazing, especially when you consider that less than a hundred thousand people live in Victoria.

The plan, according to Ash, is to keep the show at a manageable size so that everybody is able to be involved in the entire experience. Prior to the doors opening this year, Ash gathered artists for a whale watching excursion where they got up close and personal with orcas and humpbacks. To close out the show, everyone got together for a goodbye dinner party.

“There are a lot of talented tattoo artists in Canada,” Ash says. “A lot of them are kinda quiet and don’t stick their faces out there — not everybody gets in a magazine or wants to be an Instagram star, so it’s nice to go to shows and be able to meet new artists you may not have known about before.”

Diego Chagall, a Colombian tattoo artist based at Dynamic Studios in Kelowna, BC, earned Best of Day and Best of Show awards. He received a Cheyenne Sol Nova tattoo machine and Hawk power supply, a thousand dollars cash and very unique trophy created from a resin sculpture of a hippo skull.

Monty and Leslie Ricken, a couple who give new meaning to collaboration, won Best of Day on

Saturday. The husband & wife tattoo team own Monster’s Ink in Medicine Hat, Alberta

Liz Venom, an Australian artist living in Edmonton, where she owns Bombshell Tattoo Galerie, captured Tattoo of the Day on Friday.

It was a full-on inked experience with freak show acts from Monsters of Schlock, burlesque performances and live shibari (Japanese rope bondage) demonstrations.

“The idea was to bring in different aspects of the tattoo culture to give people an idea of what’s out there and get them out of their box,” Ash says. “Everybody had a great weekend, everybody was busy and everybody has a great time.”23132132123135451561512315313215315165151


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