A Fascinating Journey through a German Tattoo Convention

I recently checked another item off my “Things to do while Living in Germany” list. I got my first tattoo abroad. As someone with 16, now 17, tattoos, I wanted to add a permanent reminder of my time in Germany to my collection. I immersed myself in the experience by attending a German Tattoo Convention at the local Congress Center Ramstein.

My day began by meeting up with two friends who live a short 10-minute walk from the venue. We arrived about an hour after the convention opened, but it wasn’t too crowded. The food trucks were still set up outside, and I was taken back to my early twenties as my hand was stamped in exchange for the 20-euro entrance fee.

My one friend fell in love with the first booth she walked by, but we convinced her to at least walk the entire bottom floor before settling in for her first ink. There were two floors of exhibitors with everything from tattoo artists, tattoo supplies, art, and piercing. On the upper floor, there was a stage that mostly contained more exhibitors, but random acts would perform throughout the day. We got caught on the scene when an impromptu dance show took place.

After walking the first floor, my friend made a bee-line for that initial booth and quickly picked out her first tattoo. My other friend and I visited the next bed to see more exhibitors. In total, there were over 60 exhibitors present. No matter your style, a tattoo artist is here for you.

After completing our first run-through, I could grab a much-needed naval ring (I had been rocking one with a missing jewel for a couple of months). My other friend, who was tattoo-free, was also inspired to get her first tattoo, a small three-word quote she placed on her inner arm. While she was nailing down her final details, I was inspired by a woman at a booth nearby. When I showed her a picture of a potential idea, she elevated it to the next level, and I knew this was the artist for me. I made my appointment later in the day and returned to see my friend get her first tattoo.

She held an entire conversation as she was being inked for the first time and was no longer tattoo-free. You couldn’t even tell someone was stabbing her arm with a needle as she asked the artist about herself.

Since my appointment was later, I knew fueling up would be good. I walked out and surveyed my choices: beer truck, crepe truck, fries truck, burger truck, and ice cream stand. I went with an utterly nutritious combo of a small curly fry and a black vanilla ice cream.

Writer with ice cream
Writer with ice cream

Tattoo stencil applied onto arm for tattoo
Stencil applied onto the arm for a tattoo.

I can’t tell you how long it took, but I love my new tattoo! I have had tattoos that hurt more and less getting done. The artist wrapped my new tattoo after taking pictures of the completed product and offered me a tattoo after-care kit for an additional 30 euro, which I was super grateful for. I realized it was late enough in the day that no store would be open for me to buy my traditional after-care supplies.

Tattoo artist tattooing arm
Tattoo artist tattooing arm

One of the things that still amazes me every time I get a new tattoo is how much the industry has grown in the 14 years since my first tattoo. There are new items for after-care and wrapping tattoos. Although, even with my new-fangled after-care kit, I think unscented lotion is also delicate. New styles have emerged, and more and more people are opening up to the idea of getting inked. I had a wonderful day at my first tattoo convention abroad, and I have a few takeaways for you.

New tattoo: Cow thinking about bubble tea
New tattoo: Cow thinking about bubble tea

 Bring Euro. Yes, there was an ATM, and I paid a convenience fee.

They spoke English. I had no problems communicating with anyone at any booths I visited.

Come with an open mind. I loved many flash/pre-drawn tattoos and would have been happy to walk away with them. At my next convention, I aim to pick a pre-drawn tattoo so the artist can shine with their style.

Do you have ink of your own you want to share? We need you! If you are an 18+ DoD ID holder who can come to the KMC area, you can be featured in our upcoming Tattoo magazine.

Tattoo model call out for 2023 Armed Forces Magazine: Interested? Email Castings@tomstampmedia.com

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