The Inaugural Locked Up Tattoo Convention 2023 at The Dana

Locked Up Tattoo Convention at Shrewsbury Prison


In a groundbreaking event that defies convention, the Locked Up Tattoo Convention 2023 transformed the eerie ambiance of a former prison into a haven for tattoo enthusiasts. Nestled within the confines of The Dana, this unconventional gathering was unique and historic, marking the first-ever tattoo convention to be hosted within a prison’s walls. Organized by the visionary Mike Wills, this event brought together over 70 talented tattoo artists from various corners of the UK and Ireland, alongside captivating musical performances and a live graffiti spectacle.

The Locked Up Tattoo Convention 2023 went beyond the conventional norms of tattoo expos, embracing an unprecedented location that added an extraordinary layer to the entire experience. Mike Wills, the mastermind behind this endeavor, expressed his enthusiasm about this groundbreaking event. He remarked that this unconventional choice of venue made it a pioneering occasion, setting it apart from any previous tattoo conventions.

 Locked Up Tattoo Convention at Shrewsbury Prison
Locked Up Tattoo Convention at Shrewsbury Prison

The convention was a vibrant congregation of artistic souls, as more than 70 tattoo artists showcased their skills and creativity under the unique backdrop of a former prison. Bands contributed to the festive atmosphere, and a live graffiti show added an extra dimension of creativity to the event. Attendees were treated to an immersive and sensory-rich experience that combined the worlds of ink, music, and urban art.

One of the most captivating aspects of the Locked Up Tattoo Convention 2023 was the competition among tattoo artists. These skilled individuals competed in various categories on the main stage throughout the weekend, striving to earn the coveted titles of the best tattoo artist and the most exceptional piece of skin art. The competition was fierce, and spectators had the privilege of witnessing incredible talents translate their artistry onto the human canvas.

Nick Banks, a 33-year-old IT worker from Telford, shared his thoughts on the convention while getting inked on his arm. He appreciated the unique location, stating, “I’ve been to a couple of tattoo conventions before, but this one is cool. Being in prison is a cool location, and the vibe here is relaxed.”

Tattooist Stevie Postle working on John Wynn inside a cell
Tattooist Stevie Postle working on John Wynn inside a cell

Nick highlighted the convention’s multifaceted appeal: “It is a bit of everything, not just getting your tattoos done but seeing what other people have done. And the tattooists are very skillful guys, and they have come from all over the world. It is exciting to see the different interpretations of their work.”

When asked about the pain associated with his new £350 anime artwork, Nick offered a thoughtful perspective, “That can be subjective, and it depends on where you are getting it done, and it does tend to hurt more towards the end of the session.” His comment underscored the intimate and personal nature of the tattooing experience, where pain and artistry intertwine to create lasting impressions.

There’s good news for those who haven’t had the opportunity to be part of this groundbreaking event. The Locked Up Tattoo Convention 2023 is set to captivate attendees until October 8. However, it’s important to note that all attendees under 18 must be accompanied by an adult, ensuring that the convention remains an inclusive and memorable experience for all who enter the unconventional world of ink, creativity, and artistic expression. The Locked Up Tattoo Convention 2023 will undoubtedly leave an indelible mark on the tattoo community, not just for its unique location but for its celebration of artistry and the shared passion for ink that binds tattoo lovers together.


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