By Oliver Peck(er)
Alright, I was at the 18th Helsinki Ink Tattoo Convention (TAT CON! As l like to call them). It was a great show and the people who put it on (Kimmo Rosti and Tony Raita) do a great job and do everything the right way, taking care of the artists, providing copy machine, thermofax and cute girls to operate them… And they know how to operate them, which is not always the case. They are both tattooers, Tony Raita tattoos at Otherside Ink and Kimmo Rosti tattoos at Vida Loca Tattoo…
I started out my travels by flying from Dallas to Stockholm, Sweden (after only being home for two days from workin’ at True Tattoo the prior weekend, (and yes, I am rackin’ up the frequent flier miles) so I get to Stockholm to meet up with my buddy Tyson Arndt.
Tyson, originally from Oregon but now living in Stockholm workin’ at Stockholm Classic Tattoo, owned by Max Steelhammer, who’s last name is actually a Swedish name and is spelled a lil’ different but translates to English Steelhammer, so that’s what I call him… The shop is small but awesome and houses six stations and each one is full of amazing artists. I was just there less than a month ago guest-spotting and it was an awesome time, great people to work with and lots of business… Pretty much all cool tats to do. Some people don’t like calling tattoos, “tats” but hey… “tats man!”
Tyson invited me to work the Helsinki tat con with him as he has worked it the two previous years before. So Tyson , myself and crew flew from Stockholm to Helsinki… Short one hour flight… got into town went straight to the hotel checked in then walked over to the tat con and set up an started tattooing right away, we stayed busy all weekend. I myself lost track of exactly how many tats I did, but about 16 or so. Most of which were cool and fun to do on awesome people, and of course I did a few small ones in-between.
Tyson did 18… Probably my best tat story of the weekend was the girl who two years ago at this tat con had Tyson tattoo a penis with wings on her inner thigh was no longer happy with this decision had (at Tyson’s request) me cover up the penis with a panther head.
Helsinki is a pretty fuckin’ cool city and there was no shortage of partyin’… Major shortage on sleep and a high bill on our room minibar as every night it was raided an pillaged. As some of you know I am no stranger to payin’ for others to get drunk… In the end it is usually worth it, I have just as much fun and can still operate in the a.m.! While on the topic of Helsinki as a city, I will say two things: First, people there get fuckin’ drunk! Like no other, people were fuckin’ wasted walkin’ around the tat con from open to close each day! Second, there were more beautiful ladies there than any other place I can remember…
There were a lot of great tattooers there, some good friends, people I knew of and new people I met… To list a few: Chad Koeplinger, Jondix, Matt Knopp, Max Steelhammer, Jenny Bostrom, Drew Horner, Jonas Nyberg, Steff “The Italin Gentelman” from Denmark, Alex from Rights of Passage and many more… and pretty much everyone I saw stayed busy all weekend.
As usual, I didn’t get to check out as many people’s tattoos as I would of liked to, but I was in my own booth workin’ all weekend, which is why I was there, so I guess that’s a good thing?
The convention ended well and I can’t say enough on how pleased I was with the operation of this event, all of the staff were courteous and helpfully. It is obvious that the presenters take care in what they do and love this event and tattooing as a whole.
We went to the after-party, which was cool… It was at a bar called Navy Jerry’s, an awesome navy themed place with awesome naval decorations and memorabilia all over the place.
There was free food that took forever to get but was delicious when we got it, there was an awesome band playin’ instrumental jazz lounge rock music. The party was well attended by the artists and staff, and again people were drinking heavily.
It was a total success and I hope I get the chance to come to this convention again in the future. Now, I am headed back to Stockholm to do a few tattoos at Stockholm Classic then fly to Limerick, Ireland to work with Ross Nagle at All Star Tattoo for five days, then back to Dallas just in time for Friday the 13th!
Check out: www.helsinki-ink
P.S. One lil’ tid-bit of a story I have to put in here to add to how much people like to party in Helsinki… Alex from Right of Passage in Copenhagen was at the hotel partyin’ when we showed up on Friday, the convention didn’t start ’til 6 p.m. (but went ’til 1 a.m.) by the time we got in and set up, he was passed out asleep in his booth!
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Oliver Peck is featured in Tattoo Artist Magazine #12.