We´ve been to Black Ink Con and had a chat with Chris Magnusson.
One of the organizers of the convent.Read the whole interview below.
Chris wears Majls Station shirt
So Chris, Black Ink Con, can you briefly describe what it is and what you do?
Black Ink Con is an exhibition, a happening, event or a “performance” if you will,
where underground tattoo artists display their works. A bit like a tattoo exhibition but in reverse.
Does it stand for something specific?
Black Ink Con as a concept, is to question the establishment’s conventions and to mess around a bit.
Who do you want to mess with?
We do not want to mess with any person or persons, just mess around with an art form, and show a different side of an otherwise fairly discreet and introverted part of popular culture today. Now you can learn how to tattoo on Youtube you can even buy a tattoo kit for a grand on Ebay.
This will of course result in a lot of shit tattoos, nothing wrong with that, if you want it, so the industry will change whether it wants it or not I guess. With that said, this project would have been a bit too flat and uninteresting if we who pulled this project together were just aiming to be a thorn in the side on “professional” tattoo artists. We’re just doing something else.
Yeah ok, but you have been taking a lot of crap as well haven’t you?
Yupp! Some of us have even been subjected to threats, mostly from people in the tattoo industry. I think it’s terrible as hell and I’m getting tired of it.
We heard that “The Boys in Blue” and the Health Department just paid a visit, what kind of tattoos did they get?
Yes, they were here a short while and hung out. A guy from the Health Department received a Tyson-tribal around the mouth and the undercovered officers did buddy tattoos saying “POLICE” in invisible color in their foreheads. No, but seriously, it was pretty sick.
Chis in action
Well, about three hours into the convention, two undercovered police officers, four uniformed and like six-seven people from the Health Department ran into the place where we were. The policemen shouted to stay where we were and keep our hands visible, and then came the corporates with cameras and forms and took our personal information and pictures of everything. After a while they split up and disappeared. Guess they didn´t found any evidence to close down the convention , which was good.
Someone tipped the police?
Guess so, someone who likes to sniff around in other peoples business. Guess people think we tattoo the public and make it commercially. It is a total misconception. We want to be the antithesis to all that.
If you had free hands to do a tattoo
on one of the police officers that were here
what motif would it be and where would you place it?
If I had to tattoo a cop I would probably make flames on the lower back with the text “MAKIN ‘BACON” in comic sans just above it. Genuine prison-style.
Some of Chris´s works
The Tattoo industry is like many other industries and cultures, multifaceted.
What´s your thoughts of the industry today?
It seems the be damn prosperous. I don´t know of any other industry that lies between craft and art and has such a high fee per hour. Good for them, but I don´t want to press sticker like motifs on strangers without switching a word with them. Then there´s exceptions to everything of course. I have lots of personal favorite tattoo artists I follow on Instagram, which I think is awesome at what they do. But it´s really boring and especially strange if they think we´re only here to smear their trade and destroy their confidence they built up with the Health Department. Because we´re not doing the same thing as they do.
Black Ink Con is arranged in Stockholm this time
is this your first convent or has it been arranged before?
Yupp it´s been arranged one time before, in Gothenburg (Sweden). No one from the Health Department or the Police came snooping and lurking that time.
Who participates in this edition?
Besides me, it´s my companion Handy Mark who started this whole circus. We came up with the idea at the local pub after a failed thought experiment to start a legitimate tattoo studio. We sent out a little message to the people we knew tattooed and immediately Black Ink Con was born. In both editions of Black Ink Con, Salong Flyttkartong (Stockholm), Bitch Ink (Umeå) Tjuven Tattoo (Gothenburg) and Art Vandalay (Copenhagen) have been included.
Can you describe what tools you use to tattoo? You build them yourself right?
Thats right, they are made with direct drive rotary It´s a dc motor with a rotating shaft and the needle is attached to the circuit and goes through a tube with a grip for the hand and then out through a small hole. It´s all very simple. The engine is then connected to a battery or another power source and then, the needle goes up and down.
More info about Chris here: