News , Conventions , Reports

INTERVIEW: Stéphanie, Co-organizer of the Nantes and Vannes conventions

Convention season is back!!
And it is with great pleasure that we had the chance to talk with Stéphanie, co-organizer of the Vannes and Nantes conventions with Yann Gouet (whose post NANTES TATTOO CONVENTION 2022 interview you will find on our Gazette). As usual you will find below a small interview in order to take stock of the upcoming projects of these 2 conventions but also on the tattoo universe in general.

So make yourself comfortable and let's go for the questions… – WOLFGANG SLATER


(realized on Feb. 10, 2023)

Hello Stéphanie and thank you for giving us this short interview.

1/ Can you quickly introduce yourself to our dear readers?
Hello, I'm Stephanie, I've been in the industry since 1998 when I started as a piercer in St Brieuc, then I came to Nantes where I set up the Iron Ink shop with 2 partners and finally the shop current Corpus memori in Nantes since 2014. I have been organizing the Nantes convention with Yann from buzz tattoo since 2006, and since 2018 we have embarked on the adventure of the Vannes tattoo and comic book convention.

2/ In a few months, the 5th VANNES convention will take place (25, 26 MARCH 2023). We have read on the networks that you are preparing a new configuration for this new edition. Can you tell us more ?
In recent years, we had tattoos on one side and comics on the other. This year we decided to put comics at the center of the room for better interaction between the different artists and the public.

3/ We notice that your conventions give much more prominence to the color artists. Is it a deliberate choice?
Not especially. In fact, we always try to choose artists with a variety of styles so that the public has a choice and discovers lots of different things. There are more and more artists who only work in black, but it's important for us not to forget the color, that's why we limit the number of artists per style. For us, that's the goal of a convention, to open the field of possibilities and people's imagination, we don't want to have a convention where all the artists offer the same thing, there's no point. This is also why sometimes some artists are not selected, it's not because their work is not clean but that we already have enough participants in their style.

4/ The Vannes convention is certainly tattooing but also, for those who don't already know, comics.
You already allow certain tattoo artists to collaborate with comic artists for your posters, but have you also heard of collaborations that have arisen between tattoo artists and comics, thanks to your agreement?
I know that Dimitri HK and Popeye Cromwell already know each other and apart from the poster made together in 2020 for us, I believe that they have collabs from time to time. We try to make a tattoo artist collab every year and we hope it will give them ideas for other projects ????

5/ Beyond the conventions of Vannes and Nantes, you also manage the CORPUS MEMORI tattoo shop in Nantes.
Can you present your shop in a few words?
My shop is family, I only work with people I really appreciate on a human level, small stars with excessive egos have no place here. We have a super eclectic but very tight-knit team made up of 6 resident tattoo artists, 3 piercers and 3 receptionists including a community manager. We very often welcome French and foreign guests, we love meeting people, exchanging. And then we're always ready to have good food and hang out at the aperitif too! 

6/ Speaking of Nantes, the 17th edition of your convention will also take place soon.
Do you have any little info to share with us? ????
This year the poster was created by Alex Krunk, a young tattoo artist whom we have been following for a while and whose work we have seen a great progression. He is a hard worker who was delighted to propose the creation of the poster for this next edition. This year we are going to try to change 2 or 3 things in terms of competitions. We have planned to test the implementation of a competition system which will allow it to be faster and we hope it will be easier for deliberation as is already the case in conventions in Holland for example. The juries will have tokens to award to their favorite pieces and the winner will be the one with the most tokens. We're going to try to catch some great shows too but I'm not telling you everything, we keep a few surprises! The important thing for us is that our event keeps this festive, joyful and family side that makes its success with tattoo artists and the public.

7/ In 2022, you set up round tables around various tattoo topics.
Do you plan to reinstate this initiative?
Yes I think we will do it again, it was nice. We are thinking about the subjects, we will surely propose to our followers to help us in the choice of themes on the networks

8/ Let's talk about tattoos in general. During the last convention in Nantes, we asked your colleague Yann for his opinion and his vision on the current world of tattooing and its evolution. Can you share yours with us?
Ha, big topic! What I liked in the medium originally was the working class side of the artists, the respect and the values that went with it. Personally, at first I was happy to see that tattooing was becoming more democratic, that we saw more and more good artists arriving, hard workers with ever more techniques and originality and also a lot of women. The origin of the creation of the Nantes Convention was also largely to encourage this development. And then, with the development of the tattoo came the drifts that I like less. We have seen shops run by people who are not from the industry, who have no tattoo culture, who are not passionate, who are just bullshit investors who do not understand our values and suddenly we saw the arrival of the artists who go with it, who think only of the money but are not passionate. When young tattoo artists this year asked me who Dimitri HK or Philippe Leu are, I was blown away! The tattoo is also knowing your story, as the other said you have to know where you come from to know where you are going.

We also have this whole wave of young people who can't find an apprenticeship because they don't have the level in drawing and don't want to work hard but who don't question themselves, who tell themselves that we don't recognize their talent sic ! Instead of going all out on drawing in the evenings, weekends, they scratch in their apartments or set up shops. They have no technical mastery, are not able to make a correct line or a clean and smooth shading and suddenly fiddle with dots and hide behind their pseudo “style” to justify their incompetence. I may be a bit harsh, but when you see artists like lionel Fahy who does an ignorant style but with a perfect technique, you see that it's possible and that you can have a separate style but do it cleanly. There are also all the people who struggle to find an apprenticeship, and who when they have the chance to find one end up making a shitty plan to the person who gave them their chance. I'm going to be my boomer, but there's no more respect! On the other hand, over the past ten years we have also had a great evolution in the styles and quality of the artists, which is encouraging, such as Minhkaiju in Grenoble, for example, who does a great job of reinterpreting the manga universe or Angie Myrtille and her graphics inspired by cubism. I hope that this movement of young people passionate about art and tattooing will take precedence over the scratchers!. 

9/ Thank you Stéphanie for answering this short interview. A last word for the end?
On our conventions we select the artists for the originality of their work, their technical quality. We also look at the evolution of the artist by studying his feed for example. So we give everyone, experienced or not, the chance to participate. So never hesitate to apply to participate in our conventions ????


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