THE ART OF INK – LEBANON TATTOO FESTIVAL 2017
Written by: Umjay M.
Photography by: Cynthia Ghoussoub
Practiced across the globe since the third Century BC, the art of tattooing has continued to be one of the most sought after forms of self-expression. A self-perpetuating addiction – the more ink you get, the more ink you want – there is no truer fulfillment of that desire than that of tattoo festivals, where some of the best artists gather under one roof, for many long hours, ready to add to your layers, live. There’s a whole bunch of other really cool stuff happening at those festivals too, like amazing food and music, but the magic is in that steady, slow buzz of the gun.
May 6 marked Day 1 of the first ever Lebanon Tattoo Festival. Held for two consecutive days in Concrete 1994, Sin El Fil, Beirut, it brought together 14 artists, from noon to midnight on Day 1, and noon to 8PM on Day 2.
Securing partnerships with the likes of Nestle Water, Daily Star (media), Beiruting (online media), Alpha Press (printing), and sponsors such as Sailor Jerry and Monkey Shoulder, and with the support of people like Red Bull, Harley Davidson and Radio One, they were able to curate a festival of art, food and music at the very reasonable price of $20, and $30 for 1-Day and 2-Day passes respectively. The best part, if you were getting tattooed at the festival, you skipped the entrance fee all together. Or if you were lucky enough, you could be one of 14 winners of a $500 tattoo voucher from each of the 14 artists present. While all participating artists were local, having made their mark on World Tattoo Events, an online site which updates you on world tattoos events, the Lebanon Tattoo Festival organizers look forward to inviting regional artists to take part in future festivals.
Not everyone who attends tattoo festivals is looking to get new ink. Much like any other festival, there was so much more going on around the art of tattooing. With Hip Hop performances by Lili Ghandour and Elyssar Haddad, Carine E. Kai and Pia Merheb, a Dancehall segment by Judy aka Jud Zen, and a musical line up of DJs Youssef K, Pablo Abu Zeid, Jad D, Vanclod, Jandam, DJ Moe and DJ Neo, there was plenty of entertainment for those not taking kindly to needles. While the good people of Sailor Jerry and Monkey Shoulder kept folks hydrated, joints like Taqueria del Jefe, Sullivans & Co. and Say Cheese served up tacos, pork rolls and stuffed cheese bread. If it weren’t for the absolute sense of euphoria of new ink, I’d say the people under the needle were missing out.
They were two full days of art, music, good food, beautiful weather and that steady slow buzz of the gun.
List of Participating Artists:
For more details, or to apply to take part in future events, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.