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Decking the walls with tattoo-inspired art

People adorned with tattoos are usually fascinating to those who are not. To some it's frivolous fun, a means of rebellion, a challenge to your pain threshold, a need to stand out from the crowd, or a way to express who you are. For some, however, it's an art form; some people like to hang art on the walls of their home, some like to carry their art with them, wherever they go.
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But, whether you're entrenched in the sub-culture or not, it's hard not to appreciate tattoo-inspired art. We were privy to some at the launch of Southern Ink Xposure 2012, where three exhibitions were open for viewing. The walls were decked with a contemporary interpretation of tattoo art, custom-designed motorcycle helmets were on display and will be up for auction once the convention closes its doors, and a fully functional tattoo-themed miniature golf course was constructed for attendees to practice their putt-putt skills.

Artists exhibiting their work included: Clement de Bruin, Ben Winfield, Mark Splendid, Motel 7, Jade Klara, Simon Berndt, Manuela Gray, and Janine Kuschke. The exhibition will be open to the public at the Southern Ink Xposure tattoo convention from Friday, 27 January to Sunday, 29 January, 2012, at the Pavilion Conference Centre at the V&A Waterfront.

Black Woods (1/15) by Jade Klara
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Will be modified for cash (1/1) by Ben Winfield
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Imaginery Friend collection by Janine Kuschke
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Want to get inked?

If you're ready to add some ink to your skin and are looking for some inspiration, the tattoo convention is probably your best bet. Tattoo artists from around the world, including Robert Hernandez (Spain), La Astrid (Norway), Benjamin Moss (US), Jay Jay (Sweden), Joe Johns (US), Gordon Claus (Germany), Laura Juan (Spain), Thomas Alvarado (US) and Tom Yak (US), will be in attendance. Expect some entertainment as well, in the form of burlesque dancing, acrobatic displays, sword swallowing, live music and more.

If you do decide to get inked, you can take it out and show it off to the world by celebrating the weekend with your tattoo brethren at one of the live music events in the city. On Friday, 27 January, you can catch The Great Apes, Wolftown, and Them Tornados at the Harley-Davidson clubhouse in Zonnebloem. On Saturday, Shadowclub, aKing, Dead Lucky and The Pits will be rocking The Assembly.

Customised helmet by Derek Baker
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El Brujo by Simon Berndt
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My recommendation: be brave, go get inked, or go watch other people squirm as they get inked. Either way, sounds like it's bound to be an awful lot of fun!

About Sindy Peters

Sindy Peters (@sindylp) is managing editor at She can be reached at .