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Hong Kong culture

‘Miss Tattoo Hong Kong’ to be judged on art, poise and personality, not looks: convention organisers

Hong Kong China International Tattoo Convention’s new segment draws mixed views from attendees of three-day event expected to draw 25,000

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 September, 2018, 7:01pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 September, 2018, 10:21pm

Organisers of this year’s Hong Kong China International Tattoo Convention will stage a “Miss Tattoo Hong Kong” contest for the first time on Sunday as the climax of the three-day event.

Organising committee member Gilbert Chung said unlike beauty pageants, the seven finalists drawn from dozens who applied to take part, would not be judged by their looks.

“Unlike other tattoo contests, which look at the artists’ skills, we will be judging the girls based on how they ‘carry’ their tattoos and how the tattoos complement their personalities,” said Chung, a channel strategist at media outlet HK01, one of the organisers of the convention.

The event, which opened on Friday, is expected to attract about 25,000 people in total, but some among the thousands of visitors on the first day were not impressed with the “Miss Tattoo Hong Kong” segment.

A French woman who only gave her name as Manon questioned why there wasn’t a “Mr Tattoo Hong Kong”, saying: “We girls want to check out some nice-looking tattooed guys as well!”

We girls want to check out some nice-looking tattooed guys as well!
Manon, convention visitor

“Tattoo culture is about being forward-thinking, but this contest still objectifies women,” Michael, a local university student, pointed out.

Meanwhile, two other visitors, Po and W.K. expressed confusion about whether the girls would be judged on their tattoos – or their appearances. “I think the organisers are just trying to attract more people to join the convention using the contest,” W.K. said.

Chongqing tattoo artist Blacky however said: “The beauty of a girl can complement tattoos nicely, and it’s human nature to appreciate beautiful things.”

Carli, who is from Hong Kong, said she believed the contest was a good way to celebrate alternative culture, given the growing popularity of tattoos among women.

HK01’s Chung said if this year’s contest did well, there might be a “Mr Tattoo Hong Kong” next year.

The convention is in its sixth year and features 270 artists from around the world. This year, local studio Freedom Tattoo and the China Tattoo Development League teamed up for the first time to stage the event.

Gabe Shum, founder of Freedom Tattoo, said: “As Asia’s most prominent tattoo convention, many mainland Chinese artists have expressed interest in participating in and attending our convention.

“We hope to see further collaboration with mainland and international counterparts to promote cultural exchange and nurture a new generation of professional tattoo artists and practitioners.”

Besides daily tattoo competitions and live band music, there is also an art exhibition showcasing the “Bad Girl” series of contemporary Chinese artist, Song Yang.

“People around the world are familiar with traditional Chinese characters like the Monkey King. But ‘Bad Girl’ is willing to make mistakes, she loves to shop, and she has many boyfriends.

Taiwan tattoo artist Bobo Chen inspired by Japanese traditions

“I want to show the world what contemporary Chinese youth culture is really like, where tattoos are also popular and appreciated,” Song said.

The convention runs from September 21 to 23 at Kai Tak Cruise Terminal.