Tattoo art celebrated in Cape Town

Tattoo art celebrated in Cape Town

Now in its sixth year, the Cape Town Tattoo Convention (also known as Southern Ink Xposure) will be getting under the Mother City’s skin once more at the Cape Town City Hall from Friday to Sunday, February 28 to March 2.
Billed as the most important lifestyle festival of its kind in Africa, the convention has grown from strength to strength, offering enthusiasts a chance to show off, or add to, their collection and have an all round awesome weekend.

Lovers of body art can look forward to engaging with and getting worked on by top tattooists from around the world. An impressive number of local and international ink slingers are already confirmed, including a handful of feature artists from countries like Italy and the United Sates, as well as Cape Town’s own Manuela Gray from Wildfire Tattoos, who’s also the organiser of the event, and Tyler B Murphy from the Sins of Style studio.
In addition to getting inked, visitors can add to their mission of body beautification with pin-up and rockabilly-style clothes and accessories from Miss Happ, or score some ooh-la-la lashes and more at the AnonaMiss Beauty Emporium.
The Convention will also feature a Victorian oddities art exhibition, a Sailor Jerry vintage pop-up bar and a live concert on Saturday night at The Assembly with local performers Van Coke Kartel, The Very Wicked and BEAST on line-up.

PETER TROMP chatted to organiser and feature artist MANUELA GRAY.

This is the sixth year of the Tattoo Convention. What initially led to the creation of the event?
I would travel to tattoo expos all over the world and wanted to bring that back home. I wanted to promote and elevate our industry to its rightful place and also educate the public about the incredible artistry at work in tattooing today.

Which target audience is the convention mainly aimed at?
It transcends all audiences. I think all people, irrespective of race, sex and age are intrigued by tattoos. Of course it’s an opportunity for the serious collector to get tattooed by some of the country and world’s best.

What can visitors expect?
The public can watch the process of tattooing like live performance art. All the big names in the South African tattoo scene, as well as some top international artists like Jeremy Justice and Boris Bianchi from the US, Laura Fiorini and Tommaso Buglioni from Italy, Patrick McFarlane from England and Psycho Pat from Belgium, will be in attendance.

What might folks who are ignorant of the sub-culture discover about the tattoo community when they attend the event?
That it is an amazing art in its own right and that the tattoo community is diverse and entertaining.

Finally, what do you guys have in store for future events?
To continue bringing the art of tattoos to the fore in Cape Town and provide a platform to showcase the strength and skill of SA tattoo artists.

* Operating times are from 10am to 4pm daily. The concert at The Assembly will take place on Saturday from 9pm to 2am.
Tickets cost R100p/p for a day pass or R250p/p for a weekend pass. The weekend pass also includes access to the Saturday night concert; otherwise, tickets for just the show cost R50p/p online or at the door before 9pm and R60p/p thereafter (at the door).
For more information and to buy tickets, visit