10th edition of the Tattoofest Festival is behind us. Taking into consideration the history of European tattooing or the tradition of the conventions abroad, one can say it’s not much, but for us the initiating it in times when there was no periodical event of this kind, starting and developing the Festival was the fulfilment of our dreams,which not always seemed to be so real. The acknowledgements should be set in the end of the text,but the emotions gathered during the preparations and the Festival itself turned up to be definitely stronger than the rules. I would like to express my warm thanks to all the artists, among which are those ones who have been supporting us since the very beginning, as well as our thanks to the exhibitors, sponsors and visitors.
This year’s edition was not only special for the jubilee, but also the change of location. For the first time the event took place in the premises of the International Trade-Congress Centre EXPO in Kraków. This centre, opened in May last year, one of the most modern exhibition centres in southern Poland, since the very beginning had been tempting to take advatage of its spacious , designed in the Minimalism style interiors, the nice atmosphere provided by the wooden girders under the ceiling. The important decision of the change of location had had to be thoroughly considered before. There were quite a lot of conditions which had an impact on it.
We left Chemobudowa to which we had been getting used for the last six years and knew it inside- out for the benefit of a completely new enterprise demanding much more working effort and time, taking into consideration its scale. We took a jump into deep water having as our weapon our long-time organizing experience and the tattooers we could always rely on. Not a meaningless factor was support from outside, provided by the firms Kwadron and the German Cheyenne. Just thanks to them, we could realize our plan to organize something bigger and better than usual. The change of location allowed to arrange the tattoo studio in the area of 2,000 square metres, and consequently multiplying the number of exhibitors. As a reminder and recording of the development of the festival can be given the fact that in the first edition as many as 27 artists took part , whereas in the current one 270 tattooers from Poland,
nearly from each European country, Russia, the USA, Thailand, Colombia, Hong Kong or Korea. Not only frequent comers arrived such as Victor Portugal, Robert Hernandez, Guil Zekri, Peter Bobek, Jacob Pedersen or the Dutch team from Kynst Tattoo or the Hungarian Dark Tattoo. Our home scene was represented by such record-breakers as Tofi or Jawor, who had attended all the previous editions, as well as artists who had just started their adventure with conventions and seem very promising. For me, the biggest hit of this year’s edition was the attendance of David Tevenal, Guen Douglas, David Cote, Anka Michno, our Korean friends Sa Jin and Kay Lee, who left Kraków as the last guests 2 weeks after the Festival. Among this year’s participants there were awsome artists , thanks to this every tattoo fan wanting to have any kind of tattoo could feel fully satisfied. The most pleasant thing was the fact that tattooers who take part in the festival every year, bring new artists with them, thanks to this Tattoofest is continuously developing and acquires more interesting participants. To the friends of the Festival also belongs Tomasz Madej, a tattoo hothead and museum employee, with whom we had already co-operated. Thanks to him, this year we were visited by the masters of Asian origin mystic tattoo technique – Ajarn Matthieu and Ajarn Rung. Their attendance bore such fruit as the photo exhibition by Matthieu Duquenois” Sak Yan- magic of Thai Tattoo” which was organized in co-operation with Warsaw’s Museum of Asia and Pacific. The visitors who were interested in traditions of tattooing in South – East Asia and generally in Asia were guided by Tomasz Madej. What is more, the space and facilities of EXPO also allowed to design an outdoor relaxation area covering a surface of more than 1,000 square metres. The lovely weather which we had traditionally had during the Tattoofest weekends, worked greatly and visitors had no difficultytaking use of the attractions located outside or just chilling out at DJs’ sets, created among other things by DJ Bambus, DJ El Mario, BC GANG$TEPPAZ and DJ BLEQ. The area also comprised a Balloon-Bike stand, where you could watch ABC of making a customized bicycle or make small repairs of your city bike. Owing to the bigger exhibition surface, we developed a catering area on a unparalled scale. There appeared foodtrucks, offering among other things classical hamburgers, Mexican tortilla, pancakes, Indian cuisine dishes or Belgian chips as well as gastronomic stalls serving home-made „pierogi” or military cuisine pea-soup. Probably nobody was hungry and everybody could feel satisfied with a great variety of dishes provided by the exhibitors, vegetarian or traditional with meat dishes. The area outside the hall was used to create an innovative graffiti zone, not only for the use of street art graffiti artists, but also for the youngest participants of the Festival. A bit severe scenery outside, with some trees whose shadows turned up to be salutary in the June sunshine, with white cloud pattern painted chimneys of the nearby thermal-electric power station,and the area in which effortlessly found themselves participants of the Festival, had its incomparable climate.
The partying and loose atmosphere outside balanced with concentration and strenuous work of the artists inside the hall. On the Festival stage were held some contests for the best tattooes, in which the jury, out of 350 works, chose the winners in 11 categories. We put there our experienced jurors – Dagmara,Sławek and Junior who have worked out their own systems of verification and assessment over the last few years. In the Modern Black Tattoo category the jury was traditionally supported by Tomasz Madej, and Tomasz Gdowicz ,a representative of the new artist generation, became a new constant member of the jurors’ body,which satisfied him a lot. I’d like to say more about Szymon because his involvement in this year’s edition , for which I want to thank him so much, helped to realize an idea that I had been having on my mind for some time. From now on the Festival has a new logo which has been made with Szymon’s support and involvement. We are so proud that the Festival has enrolled for good into the offcial schedule of Kraków’s events. We are really proud that it is just here where we set it up and developed, and we know that the city itself delights artists and attracts them to arrive in it. Creating our festival posters we often referred to Kraków’s history, achitecture, symbolism.The symbol which appeared on a few posters was „K” in a crown, i.e. the monogram of the King Kazimierz Wielki which, among other things, can be found on the door of the Wawel Cathedral. This shape in its much refreshed, more modern and simplified graphics form from this year will be appearing constantly as a part of the Festival logo. We had asked the tattooers participating in this year’s event to create their own design which would show their individual style. The tattooers’ feedback was absolutely incredible! They joined our project and designed quite a lot of indyvidual –style „K”s, which we presented on our fan page and website. We will definitely re-do the project in the future, because it brilliantly shows indyvidual skills and a variety of styles.
Additionally, one of the festival attractions in which that tattooer of Kult Tattoo Fest was involved , was a special gallery as specific and modern as the project whose filmed making we presented. I hope you will still be able to read about Aleatorium, for now I can only say that joining action painting and tattooing is very impressive. The vast area of EXPO allowed to organize a zone for children, where kids under a caring eye of qualified carers could spend time playing games, have their faces painted, have a temporary tattoo done or make a greeting card for their parents. I’d like to congratulate the girls responsible for Kids Zone on their mega creativity, professionalism, and involvement. For the first time Butter Cut appeared at an event in his home town who had been known actually from all the other tattoo
events. They took care of spotless look and good mood of the male part of the audience.
The gentle sex had a chance to take part in the photo session of Panna Tutli Putli. Quite a lot of beautiful girls went through her photo studio. The effects of her work, including the phenomenal front page on the scale of the issue summing up the jubilee edition, which you can also see in this issue. One of the smallest attractions for our visitors was 2 metre tall piece of the Festival logo, on which the participants could write their signiture in order to make the commemorative plaque of the unusual event. In the face of this year jubilee edition we became a bit sentimental and wanted to remind the previous ones to our regular participants, and to show new visitors how we had fun some time ago. Just creating an art gallery out of the former events was an amazing sentimental journey, calling up plenty of memories, no lack of photos of our favourite artists from a few years ago. Definitely,quite a lot of people were able to find themselves in those photos. This year’s edition definitely couldn’t be held without Saski and Banana – Ink. His presence is not only the guarantee of an educational factor at every tattoo event,but also an extra attraction for visitors. As far as I know, this year the record for the number of bananas tattoed at a convention was broken.
This year the stage attractions we started at sharp noon both on Saturday and Sunday with the typical of Kraków trumpet signal, which is originally played on St.Mary’s Church Tower. It has became our tradition since the first edition. To commemorate this jubilee edition, we invited the trumpeter, sergeant Zbigniew Ojczyk, thanks to this we could hear the signal being played live. The current edition was traditionally presented by Dominik Mądrachowski in an unusual duo with Karolina Duszkiewicz. Dominik is a regular presenter at the best Polish tattoo conventions and the manager Warsaw’s Studio” Juniorink”. Karolina made her debut on our stage as a presenter as well as being the responsible person for informing our foreign guests. She did an amazing job! It was obvious for both of the presenters, privately a vocalist and a musician respectively, that stage is their environment and they feel at home there. This year, visitors could admire the electric acrobatic performance on the sash by Ania Węklar, hanging down 8 metres above the stage or similar to this as for the atmosphere Butoh Dance by the Japanese performer, Sana, whom we had had a chance to admire on our stage.The highlight of the program turned up to be full of sexappeal, the energetic show of pole battle by Fly Art. Pole Dance Studio from Kraków,which attracted the biggest crowds. The girls traditionally gave a small show on Sunday, in which already in more relaxing atmosphere you could learn a few tricks or ask about the technique of performing.
On Sunday we additionally gave away the stage to the members of Kraków’s Kendo Club, who presented traditional” samurai” fencing.As every year, we also prepared competitions with awards for the audience and tattoo art fusion. We had once used Vance shoes, dummies, traditional cloth, silicone hands, this time we gave in the hands of the tattooers the wooden letters making up the Tattoofest inscription. The artists (in the future one of them might be the little Kajetan owing to his genes, who started this task with us ) dealt with particular letters. The effects of their work not only could be seen on the spot,but also be taken by the visitors after buying them in order to support Silezian orphanages for campaign on the occasion of Pan Żuk’s( Mr Beetle’s) attendance at Złombol 2015. ( you will definitely read about the event ). On having finished the tattoo part on the first day, the jubilee edition of the Festival was honoured by Metrowy’s concert ,who appeared on stage together with Fankatak, giving an amazingly lively concert.The main star of the night was the legendary Polish MC Fokus , well-known for such sets as Paktofonika or Pokahontaz, which this time was supported by DJ WBK and presented its solo material.
All the logistic preparations brought about a big increase in attendance,which could have been predicted after the record-breaking number of persons signed up for this event on Facebook. Among new participants there was opinion that they became more willing to decorate their bodies whereas the regular patrons were delighted with the new scene and location of the Festival. Very important for me are the opinions of exhibitors and invited guests, who highlighted many times that air-conditioned and spacious halls of EXPO are incomparable as far as comfort is concerned. The change of location is a large leap towards the development of the Festival. All fears about the new location vanished in the thin air.We had to learn how to work at EXPO,and their staff had to learn the specific character of our event. It will definitely be easier next time, may the biggest problem be what kind of additional attractions we could add to this.The space, the breath forced by the change and the breeze of modernity awakened our ambitions once again.
I would like to thank so much all those persons who helped me organize Tattoofest this year. Once again, I would like to extend my thanks to our artists and exhibitors, jurors, sponsors, partners, and visitors. You are motivating us to be booming and to make every effort to make the Festival better.