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GALLERY: Tattoo fans flock to Telford show

By Rory Smith | Telford | Entertainment | Published: | Last Updated:

Tattoo fans from around the globe flocked to Telford this weekend for the infamous Tattoo Freeze.

The constant buzz of tattoo guns and unmistakable smell of ink filled the annual convention as it returned to Telford's International Centre to celebrate the rich history of the tattoo industry.

Now in its 10th year, the event focuses on the alternative and often misconstrued culture that surrounds it, as well as showcasing some of the best permanent artwork on offer.

The event spread over two days, with Saturday focusing on the practice of tattooing solely, and Sunday having additional entertainment and sister event Camper Mart in a connecting event hall.

Skilled work

Whether it be coming to the event for a pre-booked tattoo or wandering the countless isles of artists to find the right style, with more than 200 of the world's best tattoo artists Tattoo Freeze caters for just about every style and price range.

David Scott, 49, a carer from Ludlow, was attending his first Tattoo Freeze, where he had two new tattoos on his wrists.

David Scott at his first Telford Tattoo Freeze

"If I'm being honest it probably started out from a bit of a misspent youth. I got my first tattoo when I was about 23 and it just exploded into what it is today," he said.

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"It's my first time here at Telford's Tattoo Freeze and I'm very impressed. It's been fantastic – it's even better than I thought it was going to be and a lot bigger too.

Intricate work

"The ones I've had done here took about an hour and they've filled some gaps. Although I wouldn't say my plan is to ever be completely covered as that means I wouldn't be able to have anymore and I like the principle of getting one done, it's very exciting."

Many people are put off from tattoos by the pain, while others say they get used to it, although David said it never gets easier.

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"I couldn't put a number on the amount of tattoos I've had as they've all amalgamated into one. I'm pretty much covered from head to toe," he added.

"I must have had hundreds and hundreds over the years and I haven't got used to the pain yet, it still hurts, it always hurts, some places are worse than others.

"The ribs are painful enough to make a man cry, whereas my face wasn't actually too bad.

Another design being created

"There's a lot of artists and trade stands here and I've had a great time. I'd highly recommend this to anyone interested in tattoos."

Over the course of the weekend, artists in attendance can enter different tattoo competitions with work they have completed at the convention, with categories such as Best Avant-Garde, Best Traditional, Best Realism, and the coveted Best Of Convention judged on Sunday.

One artist that stood out from the rest was Lucky Charlie's Tattoo Studio.

Charlie Mills, who runs the studio, lost his arm in a motorbike accident before turning to tattooing.

The tattoo artist from Stroud worked on an all day realism piece and a coloured skull over the weekend.

"Tattooing has definitely saved my life," he said.

Lucky Charlie, the one-armed tattooist

"It's been my focus and meant everything to me, without it I don't know what I'd be doing – it's been my main focus and my little purpose in life now.

"This year is my first working here but I've visited for the last fiver years now. It's been really good and I'm fairly close to home so I can bring people with me here which is great."

After losing his arm in a motorbike crash, Charlie was not able to return to his former job, and so instead pursued a career in tattoos.

"Six years ago I paralysed my arm in a short circuit motorbike accident," he added.

"I couldn't go back to the job I used to do and I've always done artwork, so then one day I woke up and had the bright idea of tattooing.

"Here I am now and I'm fully booked for both days which is great."

For those who did not wish to get tattooed there was an array of stalls to browse selling everything from taxidermy, vapes, jewellery, clothing, homeware and artisan moonshine.

Some of the tattoo artists at the show
Rory Smith

By Rory Smith
Reporter - @rorysmith_star

Trainee news reporter based at the Shropshire Star's Ketley office in Telford.

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