Winnipeg’s tattoo convention makes a comeback

Winnipeg’s largest tattoo showcase is back after a two-year hiatus and organizers are showcasing the work of international artists. 

The Winnipeg Tattoo Show runs through Sunday at the RBC Convention Centre and features live tattooing done by more than 300 artists, including some hailing from Spain, Argentina, Ukraine and across North America. 

“I love being in a room full of people who love tattoos,” Vancouver-based artist Crystal Alexandria told CBC Friday as she worked on a piece for a client. 

“Everyone is generally really friendly, really curious … and it’s nice to see a lot of stigma around tattooing being brought down,” she said. 

A woman tattoos another woman. Both are smiling.
Vancouver artist Crystal Alexandria works on a piece for a client at the Winnipeg Tattoo Show. (Prabhjot Singh Lotey/CBC)

Tattoos are all about personal expression and have gained widespread popularity in recent years, said Brandon-based artist Steve Reshaur. 

“It used to be sailors and prostitutes — it’s not that anymore,” he said. “I’ve tattooed priests – everybody gets them.” 

Preston Grocholski of St. Andrews, Man. said he’s now sporting nine tattoos after getting his first in 2017 to reflect his passion for music. 

He said he doesn’t worry about any stigma because so many people have them. 

A smiling man has his arm tattooed.
Preston Grocholski says he got his first tattoo in 2017 and now has nine of them. (Prabhjot Singh Lotey/CBC)

“Once you start you just get addicted and just want to keep going,” Grocholski said. 

The convention also features a mix of vendors, with everything from clothing to make up, kids’ activities and entertainment. 

Organizers said the event also raises money for various charities including Manitoba Mutts dog rescue, the Firefighters Burn Fund and Ride for Dad, which supports prostate cancer research.