RITES OF PASSAGE Tattoo, Music and Art Festival. Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne. Fri 24 to Sun 26-04-2015. Post 2.


Words Anthony Moore.
Photos Matt Allan – Silk Imagery.

It’s amazing how quickly a year can go by! The Rites Of Passage Tattoo, Art and Music Festival is always a highlight on the calendar and gets bigger and better every year. Held at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton, Melbourne, the annual event held over the Anzac long weekend plays host to over 240 of the top tattoo artists from Australia and around the world. 2015 saw more tattoo booths as well as artists, clothing, airbrushing, stores, food and the amazing Sea Shepherd crew.

Fridays are usually a great warm up as so many people are still working and attend on the weekend. It’s a good time to be able to chat to the artists not booked out as many only take walk ups at the event or have Saturdays and Sundays booked. By the time Saturday lunch time came round though it was crazy! The walk ways were like peak hour at Flinders Station, which can make it a little difficult at times to catch a glimpse of some of the main draw cards but to be honest, it also contributes to the excitement and buzz.

Some of the main internationals this year included Nikko Hurtado (Black Anchor Tattoo, US), who is known for his stunning realistic tattoos; Shigenori Iwasaki (Yellowblaze, Japan), whose traditional Japanese tatts are incredible and some of the colour shades in one of his coy fish sleeves this year I have never seen before; Paul Booth (Last Rites, US) who has tattooed members from some of the biggest metal bands like Slayer, Pantera and Lamb Of God; Carlos Torres (Sullen Art Collective, US), Sergio Sanchez and Alan Padilla (Timeline Gallery, US) all get so much depth and emotion in their art, it’s easy to forget these are tattoos they’re creating and not photos.

It’s always so great to see how many of the mind blowing tattooists are from Melbourne as well; Nina Grierson-Jones (Base 9 Tattoos) was the standout last year and once again impressed this year; Frederick Bain (The Piercing Urge), Benny Bones (Korpus Tattoo), Mel Wink (Victims Of Ink), Dean Kalcoff and Tash Van Den Broek (Dark Cloud Electric), Crispy Lennox (The Black Mark Tattoos), Shell Valentine (Dangerzone Tattoo), and other Australian’s that really stood out like Caspian De Looze (Manly Tattoo), Stu Pagdin (House Of Daggers, Adelaide), Mimsy Gleeson and Tilly Dee (Trailer Trash Tattoo, Brisbane), Dean Carlyle (Hibernia Tattoo, Sydney), Raphael Vallejos (Morphic Resonance, Gold Coast) and I could go on and on.

The only downfall about this years event was that I came away with no new ink. Now that was more painful that actually getting a tattoo!

Please check out our first review and photo gallery from Rites Passage 2015 HERE.

Rites Of Passage: Site // Facebook page // Facebook event // Instagram // Twitter.