Prague Convention '06

Published: 26 December, 2009 - Featured in Skin Deep 139, November, 2006

Prague is located at the centre of Bohemia, “The magic capital of Europe” this may be thanks to the presence of several cultures, which cross on its land and also for its architectural and artistic heritage. The city with the hundred spires is certainly one of the most beautiful cities in the world and by a miracle, escaped from the great destruction of the last two wars. 

 

Prague is one of the few capitals where one can pretty much explore by foot and the music of Mozart, Dvorak and Smetana still haunt those streets and many of Prague’s churches propose concerts of classical music. Prague is a city packed with artisans of all persuasions, a paradise for romantics and lovers alike. 

Lovers of tattooing will also find their interest at the eighth International Convention of tattooing and piercing organized by Tony and Rony on 19th, 20th and 21st May 2006. 

Only two hours by plane from Paris it made a refreshing change of scene for me to visit this splendid city, I travelled by the subway then took a tram to get to the convention. The previous years convention was held in several different places and it has found its final resting place for 4 years here at the Slavia Praha building in the centre of town. The room is well suited for a convention with tiers on the side so the public could have a good view of the convention. Tattooists came from all over Europe (Italy, France, Spain, Israel, Holland, Poland, Austria, Sweden, England and the USA). 65 tattoerists worked the show and 4000 or so people came to see them working. The cheap ticket price for the convention was 80 crowns, which is about 3€. This  allowed many people to attend. 

The creativity of the Czech capital, and peoples voices were stiffled during the years of Communism but after 1989 the ways of freedom were open once again. And Prague has, in a very short time, radically changed. 

Before 1989, tattooing was prohibited and there were not any studios in Prague. People had their tattoos done in private apartments in great secrecy because tattooing was punishable by jail. This is the reason why the tattoo suffered from a very bad reputation in this city as only  prisoners got tattoos. After ‘89 tattooing grew at a fast rate having complete freedom and now there are more than thirty studios in Prague for 1,26 million inhabitants and 60 and 70 in all the country (10 million people). 

The tradition of the manufacture of glass in Tchecky goes way back into the past and Prague is very famous for this ancient art form. Glassmaking existed in the  eleventh century. This is why Tony had the good idea to offer the all the winners of the Tattoo contest a very beautiful Bohemian crystal vase. The categories were: Black & White, Colour, Small Tattoo, Broad Tattoo, Bio mechanic, individual, best of day. 3 winners are represented in each category and one best of day on Saturday and Sunday. The Winner of the winners, was the tattoo artist who won the most of prizes and he was rewarded by another prize: the largest crystal vase. All the participants passed in front of a jury made up of 5 people all of whom were tattooists. 

Throughout the weekend entertainment was put on for the public: Rock ‘n’ roll groups, fashion parades, the crazy white Sean from Holland, a well-known figure going to many tattoo conventions. He is quite a spectacle, Sean eats light bulbs, he can breathe condoms, stops a ventilation fan with his tongue, he can also hang weights from his penis and can explode firecrackers in his bum... A Czech team gave us a demonstration of capoeira.  Capoeira goes back to the beginning of last century, its rhythmic and techniques of feint come from the African people of Angola. The possession of weapons and the practise of martial arts are prohibited by their Masters, so the slaves invented capoeira, taking as a starting point their traditional African dances to develop this style of combat. It was a means for them to overcome the daily violence which could be found in the plantations. This martial arts disguises in dance contains all the heart of Brazil. It develops the force, agility, discipline and the body expression. It acts of an athletic play which calls upon the flexibility and the control of the body. 

The state of affairs for this weekend seems positive since the organizers were satisfied with the number of entries to the show and many I spoke to were already looking forward to next year’s Prague Convention. http://www.tattoo-convention.cz/

Credits

Text & Photography: DANIEL PISSONDES

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Skin Deep 139 1 November 2006 139
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