Six long years ago the first Celebration Europe event took over the London Excel Centre. To help promote The Force in the Flesh: Star Wars Inspired Body Art, a coffee table book I released that same year, we brought some of the popular tattoo programming elements we’d established in previous stateside Celebrations along with us. Our presence in Europe was small and tucked away on the second floor that year, right next to the incredible Vader Projects helmet display, but we made the best of it and had a great time at the show selling the book, displaying some incredible paintings done by some wonderfully talented UK-based tattoo artists and helping to “tattoo” and decorate a full-sized set of Stormtrooper armor. We also held one of our now famous Star Wars tattoo competitions and saw a phenomenal amount of incredible tattoo art from our European collector friends!
A lot has happened since 2007 and that first Celebration Europe event. The Clone Wars, two more stateside Celebrations, that Disney thing, and a couple movie announcements have all resulted in Star Wars fervor reaching a fever pitch worldwide. As Star Wars popularity climbs to epic new highs, so too does the popularity of Star Wars tattoos. In the past six years there’s been a Death Star-sized explosion of fans getting everything from small symbols to beautiful portraits of their favorite characters — some dedicate large percentages of their bodies to show off just how big of a fan they are of both the saga and incredible tattoo work.
To help promote and grow this increasingly popular area of fandom, tattoo artist Marc Draven and I partnered together in 2010 at Celebration V to add his incredible Ink Fusion festival to the already popular tattoo programming I’d established at Celebrations III, IV, and Europe. For the first time ever, we had artists from around the world tattooing live at the show! Over 20 artists tattooed non-stop for the entire weekend and it was one of the most popular areas of the entire convention. So naturally, in 2012, once again in Orlando, Florida for Celebration VI, we had an even larger presence! This time over 30 artists from across the globe descended upon the Orange County Convention Center to sling some ink and give fans the ultimate Star Wars souvenir. The area proved even more popular than the year before and showed that the enthusiasm for Star Wars tattoos was at an all time high.
This month, Marc Draven and I will be looking to bring that massive enthusiasm for Star Wars tattoos with us to the olde world for Celebration Europe! Over 20 talented artists/huge Star Wars fans from Canada, the US, and Europe, including a few European tattooers who were featured in Force in the Flesh, will be joining us in Essen to give fans an ever-lasting tribute to the greatest space saga ever made. You can check out the full list of artists who will be in attendance here.
If you are interested in getting tattooed at the show, we encourage you to check out all the portfolios and contact the artist or artists you’d like to book with in advance to ensure appointment space. Some of the artists are already booked up for the whole show — so don’t delay!
In addition to all of the amazing artists we’re bringing with us, we’ll also have several other great things to check out at the Tattoo Pavilion including more great art displays, a super-fun and exclusive Celebration VI/Ink Fusion T-shirt, a very limited quantity of The Force in the Flesh books for sale and signing, temporary tattoos for the kiddies, special guests popping in over the weekend and of course, another incredible tattoo competition happening on the Behind the Scenes Stage on Sunday at 1:00 p.m., where fans can compete for exclusive awards in the following five categories:
Small/Medium Black and Grey
Large Black and Grey
Tattoo of the Weekend
Pre-registration for the competition is mandatory and prospective entrants can register at the Tattoo Pavilion store before close of show on Saturday. No late entrants will be permitted.
Marc and myself are really looking forward to bringing this exciting programming to all of our European friends and to see all of the incredible tattoo art that has been collected by fans overseas. We know we’re sure to see some amazing stuff!
Stay tuned to StarWars.com for our handy guide to the Star Wars Tattoo Pavilion at Celebration Europe coming soon!
Before closing, I’d like to take a moment to extend love and well wishes to my friend Shannon McRandle, the ever-lovely Mara Jade, in her fight against cancer. The first Celebration Europe show was where I got to know Shannon quite well and came to know how wonderful a person she is. To make a long story short, my good friend, tattoo artist Matt Difa, had been commissioned by a collector in the US to do a cheesecake portrait of Mara Jade and he brought the painting along with him to display at our booth that year. Shannon was kind enough to both sign the painting and pose for a photo with it and Difa as an added bonus and surprise for the collector who commissioned it. Shannon, the convention won’t feel the same without you! Get well soon!
Shane Turgeon is the author of The Force in the Flesh: Star Wars Inspired Body Art and the creator of www.tattoosandtoys.com, the first website dedicated to showcasing Star Wars and other geeky tattoos. He also co-authored The Official Price Guide to Star Wars Memorabilia with Jeremy Beckett and is a staff member and features writer for www.rebelscum.com. After getting his first Star Wars tattoo, Shane realized there was a huge crossover between the worlds of tattoo and geek culture and over the years has endeavoured to bring geeky tattoos to the forefront of popular culture. In 2005, he brought tattoo related programming to Celebration III and has helped increase the tattoo presence at every Celebration since. He currently owns Shades of Grey, a tattoo, toy, and comic shop, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and is also the founder and organizer of the Edmonton Collectible Toy and Comic Show which he has been running annually for over a decade.