Lonely Planet Writer

The world's most creative tattoo designs are celebrated in Paris

Following the success of the previous eight years, Mondial du Tatouage (World Tattoo Fair) returned to Paris this month, attracting artists and tattoo enthusiasts from all over the world.

(L to R ) tattoo artists : France’s Tin-Tin, Switzerland’s Filip Leu, Belgium’s Amy Mymousse, Australia’s Benjamin Laukis, Spain’s Juan Sanchez, US Mark Mahoney, Canadia’s Katie Shocrylas, Britain’s Luke Atkinson and Taiwan’s Ching. Image by Joel Saget/AFP/Getty

Taking place on the weekend of 15, 16 and 17 February at the Grand Halle de la Villette in Paris, the event hosted 420 prestigious tattoo artists from 30 different countries. An eye-catching range of styles were on display among a sea of blue, green and red limbs. Ticket-holders included those who were inked from head-to-toe, as well as those taking their tentative first steps into the world of body art.

A view of tattoo booths during the 9th edition of the World Tattoo Fair or Mondial du Tatouage in Paris. Image by Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty

Live tattooing merged with performance art, exhibitions, seminars and concerts across the three-day event and nine awards were handed out to artists. The jury was made up of renowned tattoo artists including Luke Atkinson (Germany), Kari Barba (USA), Filip Leu (Switzerland) and Mark Mahoney (USA). Taking home the top prize was French artist Baptiste David (aka Bichon) and his Belgian colleague Seb Ink Me who were awarded the Best of Show for a mixed graphic tattoo which took almost 25 hours to complete over the course of the weekend.

A tattoo artist at work. Image by Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty

When it first launched nine years ago, the three-day fair attracted a modest number of visitors. Now it caters to more than 30,000 guests, a sure sign that tattoos have gone mainstream. Another international tattoo convention that is just as popular is the London International Tattoo Convention, held at Tobacco Dock in Wapping, East London. Like its French counterpart, the annual body art festival (which takes place in September) showcases the world’s most celebrated tattoo artists and creative designs.

Swiss tattoo artist Filip Leu posing during a photo session at the Mondial du Tatouage. Image by Joel Saget/AFP/Getty

To view more body art or to book tickets to next year’s event, see here.