In body artistry, there are those for whom ink flows in their veins, and Alain and Morgan Charronneau epitomize this unique breed. Both artists and entrepreneurs own a prominent tattoo studio. The founders of the Olonne Tattoo Show, an annual gathering of tattoo artists since 2017, have set their sights on something grander. The dynamic father and son duo is gearing up to host the first-ever “85 Tattoo Expo” at the Parc Expo des Oudairies in La Roche-sur-Yon on October 21 and 22. This grand event is a tribute to the captivating world of tattoos and the artists who breathe life into it.
A Passion That Runs Deep
The journey into tattooing began at a tender age for both Alain and Morgan. Alain Charbonneau, who had spent 20 years as a deep-sea fisherman, left the ocean’s rolling waves to tread the creative waves of tattoo artistry. He recalled his first encounter with tattooing, saying, “I was just 15 when I did my first tattoo. Since then, it has never left me. By the time I turned 40, it had become my profession.” This former sailor from Les Sables-d’Olonne turned his unwavering passion into a profession by seeking guidance and mentorship from seasoned tattoo artists. Alain recounted, “Becoming a tattoo artist required unwavering determination. The internet wasn’t readily available. To acquire the necessary equipment, you had to be connected to a network with established professionals.”
Over two decades, Alain witnessed the transformation of the tattooing art form. It began with technological advancements, most notably the introduction of rotary machines, which proved to be lighter and quieter than the previous coil machines. Simultaneously, the client base evolved significantly.
In the early days, the realm of tattoos was primarily inhabited by men, often sailors, truckers, or bikers. The presence of women was scarce, and the art was seen through a different lens. However, this perception dramatically transformed over the past decade due to media coverage. Today, tattooing embraces individuals from all walks of life, ages 16 to 90.
Morgan Charronneau, co-organizer of the 85 Tattoo Expo and an accomplished tattoo artist, shares his father’s philosophy. He, too, delved into the art form at a young age, having received his first tattoo at 15. “I always knew I would choose this profession,” he confidently declared. Morgan’s journey as a tattoo artist unfolded under the tutelage of his father and peers. Eventually, he spread his artistic wings and established his tattoo studio in Poitiers, Deux-Sèvres, in 2015. Today, his studio boasts three tattoo artists, a piercer, and a barber. However, Morgan remains firmly connected to his Vendée roots and family through the Tattoo conventions.
A Gathering of Art and Talent
The Charbonneau family’s tattoo conventions have found immense popularity and success. “The first Olonne Tattoo Show in 2017 received an outstanding response,” shared Morgan Charronneau, adding that its friendly atmosphere played a pivotal role. Each year, Alain and Morgan effortlessly fill the cultural complex in Olonne. Due to overwhelming demand, they have decided to expand their horizons. This led them to La Roche-sur-Yon.
On October 21 and 22, the Parc Expo des Oudairies will witness the congregation of over a hundred tattoo artists. These artists hail from all corners of France, epitomizing professionalism, creativity, and diverse styles. If you are drawn to realism, old school, neo-traditional, graphic, colorful, ornamental, or Polynesian tattoos, something will pique your interest.
For those contemplating getting a tattoo at the event, preparations can begin by visiting the convention’s website, which provides an opportunity to explore the attending tattoo artists and even make contact with them.
A Weekend of Art and Entertainment
The two-day extravaganza promises a delightful mix of art and entertainment. Highlights include tattoo contests showcasing the most exquisite tattoos created during the convention. “The first day focuses on small black and gray pieces, while the second day features large color pieces as well as black and gray tattoos,” explained Morgan. A ‘best of the day’ will be awarded each day, culminating in a grand prize for the most beautiful tattoo of the convention.
Moreover, various shows will grace the weekend, including pole dance performances and Polynesian dances, such as the haka. The icing is a live performance by rapper Seth Gueko, scheduled for Saturday at 9 p.m. With additional attractions like footwear and clothing stands, not to mention food trucks and refreshment stalls, the event promises a memorable weekend for all.
The 85 Tattoo Expo unfolds on Saturday, October 21, and Sunday, October 22, at the Parc Expo des Oudairies in La Roche-sur-Yon. The venue will open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Entry costs €10, while children under 14 can enter free of charge. For those who can’t wait, early entry ticket purchases are available on www85tattooexpo.com.