The buzzing of tattoo guns and tools filled New Plymouth’s TSB Stadiums as over 250 artists tattooed at the Bepanthem New Zealand Tattoo and Art Festival over the weekend.
There were many varying styles of tattoos with a range of realistic, tāmoko, modern, vintage, colourful, and black and white tattoos being inked.
For Rachel Smith, the festival was the chance for her to get a tattoo she’d dreamed about for over a decade.
Rachel said she was excited when she heard half-Finnish-half-French tattooist Iris Lys from the United Kingdom was one of the guest artists at this year’s event.
“I just love her style and have waited 10 years to get a tattoo from her. She’s great at bold lines and bright colours. It’s my favourite tattoo style. I got a cat tattoo which is something she specialises in.”
It was Iris’s first time at the tattoo festival.
“I’ve never been to New Zealand before. It’s great to visit the country while doing something I love.”
She said Taranaki is a special place.
“I love it and I’ll be sad when I leave. It’s been such a cool experience to tattoo here.”
It was also tattoo artist Elvia Guardian’s first time at the festival. Elvia travelled from Mexico to attend.
“This weekend has been great. I’ve been tattooing at conventions for 13 years. I love attending them.”
Elvia said she enjoyed Taranaki but was surprised about the weather changes.
“The weather here changes so quickly. It goes from sunshine to rain so quickly.”
For New Plymouth artist Bonnie O’Brien, the tattoo festival is her favourite time of the year.
“I love being here. It’s a lot of work and months of preparation, but I love it.”
Laura Jennings said Bonnie was the perfect artist to tattoo her lower leg.
“I’ve got a couple but this is the biggest. I think her style of tattooing, especially the fine line floral pieces, they’re beautiful.”
While plenty of people got tattooed, some went to the show to remove one, with a chance to win a tattoo removal voucher in the Sacred Laser No Regerts – Tattoo Fail Championship drawing plenty of entries.
The winner was Anastasia Storie-Cole, who won a $2000 Sacred Laser voucher. She said she looks forward to removing her hand tattoo.
It wasn’t just the R18 content of the tattoo but the placement that made it embarrassing when introducing herself to people, she said.
“I didn’t think I was going to win. I’m super happy to be able to get rid of it. It gets a bit awkward when I go to shake people’s hands.”
Organiser Brent Taylor said a massive crowd attended the festival this year.
“The weekend was great. All of the artists had a really good time.”
He says the FMX and BMX shows, stuntwork from Kozo Kaos and live music were always a great addition to the festival.
“There was a great vibe with Summer Thieves and the other bands and DJs. Unfortunately due to the wind, we could only have FMX displays on Sunday but the Franklin Farm Big Air BMX team entertained the crowd both days.”