At the Convention: Photographs by Helen Mitchell and documentary video by Tam Webster
In Halloween 2020, not quite six months after the first Covid lockdown, the second Wellington Tattoo Convention was held in The Great Hall at Massey University’s old Dominion Museum building. This creative and inclusive event was embraced as a relief from a climate of restriction, with almost as much fancy dress on offer as ink. Internationals were noticeably absent; the contributing tattooists uniquely reflected the local demographic in post-Covid lockdown Wellington.
Tattoo has been evolving from sub-culture to popular culture for at least the last fifty years. Commissioning artworks from tattooist was mainstream in the late twentieth century and has continued to define relationships in contemporary tattoo practice. Tattoo conventions like the Wellington Tattoo Convention reflect ongoing mainstreaming of the practice and provide opportunities to engage with and contribute within the community. I’m interested in how work at the Tattoo Convention speaks to themes of augmented identity and cultural exchange.