You wouldn't think a tattoo convention would be welcome in a strict city-state that has been criticized for its disregard of individual freedoms-it banned chewing gum for 12 years (1992-2004) and still imposes hefty fines for things like forgetting to flush a public toilet or spitting in public. But Singapore's government hasn't found a way to stop the rise of tattooing within its borders, and the first-ever Singapore Tattoo Show will take place January 9-11.
If the unbelievable geography, waterfront restaurants, and nearby vineyards aren't reason enough to visit Cape Town, South Africa, consider this news from Damian McGrath, the founder of tattoos.com: “Tattooing down there is sort of what tattooing was like 15 to 20 years ago in North America. There are lots of emerging artists, and the scene isn't as mainstream.” Sounds great, right? Well, that's the reason McGrath has planned Southern Ink Xposure, a weeklong event for international artists that culminates with a three-day convention at the Cape Town International Convention Center.
For all the feng shui and tai chi, Hong Kong isn't just about traditional pastimes. The massive city is awash in cool bars, amazing attractions, and an all around progressive flair. Often referred to as “the melting pot of Asia,” Hong Kong is a hybrid of Chinese and Western cultures (the city was under British rule until 1997), so the city of 7 million is packed with expats. Some of our favorites are the Brits who run the popular Star Crossed Tattoo & Piercing. The shop frequently hosts guest artists from the States, and artist Julia Wilson often promotes local punk shows. One warning, if you choose to go elsewhere for a tattoo: There are no laws or regulations governing tattoos in Hong Kong, so many shops skip the autoclave and the hygiene.
A drive down Spain’s eastern coast is a winding road trip through a bit of everything, from historical castles and wildflower fields to chic hotels and nude beaches. Plan a September road trip along the coast from Valencia to Peñíscola and you’ll get to experience it all, including the Castellón Tattoo Convention, which takes place September 5 – 7. Start out in Valencia. Many of the city’s buildings date to Roman and Arabic times, but some of the most breathtaking were built by architect Santiago Calatrava as part of the City of Arts and Sciences, which was erected in the ’90s. Don’t miss The Hemispheric, a soaring eye-shaped pavilion that holds a planetarium and IMAX theater. When the sun sets, head to La Bolsería Café in the city’s Carmen neighborhood, where all the best bars and music venues are located.
Dump 500,000 bikers, an endless supply of booze, and an army of barely clothed women anywhere and you’ll have a good time—even in the middle of nowhere. That’s just what the founders of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally did. Now in its 68th year, the legendary event takes place August 4 – 10 in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Toronto is known for its welcoming attitude (49 percent of the city’s population was born outside of Canada), and that hospitality extends to the tattoo community when Northern Ink Xposure takes over the downtown Hilton June 13 through 15. For the Canadian expo’s 10th anniversary, there’s plenty going on: the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art will host “Art of the Human Canvas,” a show featuring artists such as Bob Tyrrell and Paul Booth, and a wide range of tattooists will be in attendance, including Canadians Paul Oliver and Cory Ferguson. After the convention, hit the galleries of Queen Street West, then swing by The Drake Hotel to check out its site specific installations.
There are thousands of reason to visit Milan (the food, the art, the women, to name just a few), but the reason to visit now is the Milan Tattoo Convention, which takes place February 8 through 10. For the 13th annual convention, planners are expecting some of the world’s best artists. So check in with your favorites, but definitely make time to meet the Italian greats, like Angelo Colussi, of Milan’s Quetzal Tattoo, and portrait specialist Andrea Afferni.
On your next visit to the Caribbean, skip Aruba and the Bahamas and stay in Saint Lucia. The difference? Instead of flat sandy shores, the 27-mile-long island is a teardrop-shaped mass of rainforest-covered peaks so perfectly triangular and green they look painted on.