Indigenous Tattoo Artist Convention and Tattoo Festival Travel

This is the final pillar of my long term project grant I have been awarded through The Canada Council for the Arts, I am so humbled to be awarded this grant.

First International Convention in 2015 Indigenous Ink

As I continue to create and build on the lessons I have learned in the past I am hoping to share with more and more people the passion I have for Indigenous tattooing. I will be accomplishing this through traveling to tattoo festivals and tattoo conventions which will exposes my work to a larger audience than I can reach in my local region. These events are an invaluable opportunity to meet cultural tattoo practitioners and Indigenous tattoo artists from across the globe. The work we do as cultural revivalists and Indigenous tattoo artists is very isolating without colleagues and mentors being close geographically. Traveling to these types of events allows for networking and the sharing of ideas and concerns associated with the work we do. The exposure of our traditional tattooing practices is another important part of the reason to travel to conventions and festivals. Another important reason for Indigenous cultural tattoo practitioners and tattoo artists to be at these events is so we can accurately represent our ancestral traditions and expose non-Indigenous artists who are appropriating our designs and tattooing traditions.

My favourite Beverage when traveling in Aotearoa

Beyond the aforementioned reasons to travel to conventions and festivals is the promotion and highlighting of Nlaka’pamux Blackwork. Over the course of the three-year project, I hope to travel to six international tattoo conventions and/or festivals to continue moving the appreciation of Nlaka’pamux Blackwork tattooing into the world. The artwork and tattooing of Northwest Coast Indigenous peoples are well known across the globe. I hope to bring similar awareness to our ancestral artistic traditions. I also would like to be able to transition my cultural practice to a full-time art making endeavour, and, to be able to do this, I will need to continually move my skills, aesthetic realities, and work out into the larger world. I hope to travel to two international conventions each of the three years.

I will also be using this grant to develop and curate a mini exhibition that will travel with me to tattoo conventions. This mini exhibition will contain sketches and painted canvases of the bodysuits, sleeves, and back and chest pieces as well as historic documentation and photos of the finished bodysuits once they are done or partially done. I will also use funds from this grant to rent three tattoo booth spaces at each convention, one for tattooing and the other two to display the mini exhibition.

I acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

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