Mondial du Tatouage 2015: Paris, Artistry, and Wooden Balls

Me and Lefty at the Eiffel

Me and Lefty at the Eiffel

My first journey overseas has been one hell of a trip! Some dream of seeing the Eiffel Tower and the city of lights, but I was more interested in attending the Mondial du Tatouage 2015, one of the greatest tattoo shows on earth.

Artist booths at Mondial

Artist booths at Mondial

Simone also created trophies for the tattoo contests-incredible artwork

Simone also created trophies for the tattoo contests-incredible artwork

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The start of the entrance line

 

Tin-Tin (of Tin-Tin Tatouages, Paris) and his incredible team of minions put on the show with the highest attendance record ever for a show in 2014, so I went in expecting this one would be another crazy weekend. I had no idea. This is a show like no other, anywhere. There is no way to cover everything in one post…but I’ll add the boozy stuff later on!

Mondial is heavily promoted and sponsored¬†– MTV, Fender guitars, commercial promotions- and it shows. The que for the first day entrance was one of the longest lines I’ve ever seen, and I worked for Disney World…I know long ass lines. I actually got a little nervous waiting for the incoming herd of bodies to hit the open doors and flood the aisles. The line was that long every single morning of the three day show. Clients had come in from all over the European Union to get tattooed by world renowned artists.

Custom painted Fender guitars

Custom painted Fender guitars

Above the floor at Mondial-there were 2nd floor booths as well this year

Above the floor at Mondial-there were 2nd floor booths as well this year

This year, there were booths on the first floor as well as on the second floor balconies, which did help to split the crowd and make walking around a little more manageable. Last year I heard aboutforty five minute travel times from booth to stencil maker-this year it felt easier to navigate (I’m also short and a New Yorker, so I can usually slide through the gaps). It was a huge crowd, but very well managed.

That Hanford smile

That Hanford smile

The amount of talent at this show is staggering. Booth after booth, internationally known tattooers buzzed the weekend away.

The judges

The judges

Filip Leu, Luke Atkinson, and Bill Salmon were the tattoo contest judges the entire weekend (pimped out in fancy in suits, no less!) and the trophies were one of a kind creations by the incomparable Simone El Rana.

Shige at work, the artist that won Best Bodysuit for this year's contest

Shige at work, the artist that won Best Bodysuit for this year’s contest

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The Leu Family Iron booth

Jondix in the booth

Jondix in the booth

Selfie with artist Titine Leu (wife of Filip Leu) -Leu Family Iron Booth

Selfie with artist Titine Leu (wife of Filip Leu) -Leu Family Iron Booth

This show has no room for mediocrity, no scratchers, no one that can’t hang with the best of the best. Mentioning this now (but it will have its own separate blog post soon) — Henning Jorgensen released his book “The Royal Tribute” and had an exclusive signing during the last day of the show. Lefty escaped long enough to walk around and grab a copy to have signed. Always gracious, Henning’s book spans thirty years of his shop Royal Tattoo and is broken into two parts, including his flash and paintings. It is definitely worth looking into to grab a copy for yourself if you’re a collector, absolutely beautiful work.

Sleeps on fancy lettering

Sleeps on fancy lettering

We had a lot of friends visiting Paris, which speaks of Lefty’s level in the game, but also made for a few very entertaining evenings as well. This is a really fun show for the artists as well as fans, and in addition to all of the hype…the feeling is something special… I believe the French would say it’s own ‘je ne sais quoi.’

Norm rockin fancy letters

Norm rockin fancy letters

It’s an exclusive group I get to socialize with, but no snobbery is witnessed, no shade thrown. The VIP Sunday night after party was on a boat located on the River Seine. Music, booze, and a smoking deck we overran that faced the twinkling Eiffel Tower.

Bubbles and Paris at night

Bubbles and Paris at night

Everyone talking about ten or fifteen years ago, where they first met, at which show, and the changes in the business since then. Many of the artists brought spouses, or had family that they rarely get to see come through as well. The vibe was friendly and all around tired but jovial. image

On a total side note…Tin-Tin plays a mean game of Fooz Ball…the ball is made of wood instead of plastic here, so you can do some crazy serving shit with it! I was definitely watching a very intense match of incredibly talented individuals blowing off steam after a completely successful weekend. I can’t wait for next year! Thank you to everyone that put in so much work, so that we could enjoy Paris in such a remarkable way. I can’t wait to come back and do it all again next year!

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