Tattoo convention

Don Ed Hardy and Dave Yurkew at the 2nd World Tattoo Convention in Reno Nevada, 1977.
tattoo convention in 2008.
Tattoo convention 2017

A tattoo convention is a meeting and exhibition for tattoo practitioners and enthusiasts, from different shops & areas as well as anyone who wishes to see the world of tattooing up close.


The first world tattoo convention was held by Lyle Tuttle and Dave Yurkew on January 24–25, 1976 in Houston, Texas.[1] Dave Yurkew, who was also President of the North American Tattoo Club[2] went on to host another 6 consecutive World Tattoo Conventions through 1982. Lyle Tuttle was quoted as saying that this was "The event that changed tattooing forever".

On January 19–21, 1996, Dave Yurkew and Lyle Tuttle co-hosted the 20th Anniversary of the First World Tattoo Convention in Houston, Texas, following up with the 25th anniversary on January 18–21, 2001 in Houston, hosted by Dave Yurkew and John "Big John" G. Stuckey.

The first I.T.A.A. Convention were held in 1977 in Reno, the first National Convention in Denver, Colorado March 23–25, 1979 at the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Speakers at this convention were: Don Ed Hardy, Terry Wrigley, Peter Tat 2 Poulos, Diane Poulos, Bob Shaw, Big Walt Kilkucki, Painless Jeff Baker, Dave Yurkew, and from Germany Horst Streckenbach and Manfred Kohrs.[3]

Tattoo conventions range from small events sponsored by a local business that may last a day, to major international conventions spanning a weekend or the better part of a week.

They may include contests and exhibitions, booths selling tattoo-related items and even booths rented for use by tattoo artists who work during the convention. Collectors may attend conventions specifically to obtain a tattoo from a particular visiting artist.

Other events may include professional events such as workshops and meetings as well as social events.

Contests, usually restricted to registered participants, usually feature a variety of categories: black-and-gray, tribal, oriental, backpiece, women, men, and so on. Judging may be by vote or by a panel of judges.

The first tattoo convention in London, England took place in 2005.[4]

The first tattoo convention in Germany was held in 1980 by Horst Streckenbach in Frankfurt.[5]


  1. ^ Craig Hlavaty: Houston hosted the world's first tattoo convention in 1976 March 23, 2016
  2. ^ Margo DeMello: Inked: Tattoos and Body Art around the World. ABC-CLIO 2014, ISBN 978-1-61069-076-8, p. 138.
  3. ^ Mississippi Gulf Coast´s Observer, September 2012, Volume 13, Issue 3, p. 36
  4. ^ "Passion for Tattoos on Display in London | Fox News". Retrieved 2015-09-06.
  5. ^ Paul Henri Campbell. "Tattoo & Religion · Verlag Das Wunderhorn". Retrieved 2019-02-08.