IN PICTURES: Hundreds unite for eighth Annual Tattoo Extravaganza at South Parade Pier

Richard Lewis prepares to get tattooed by Shaun Maddy''''Picture: Byron Melton
Richard Lewis prepares to get tattooed by Shaun Maddy''''Picture: Byron Melton

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HUNDREDS of tattoo-lovers packed into South Parade Pier over the weekend as a much-loved convention returned.

The Southsea landmark’s Gaiety Bar was transformed by 50 tattoo artists as they united to showcase their work at the eighth Annual Tattoo Extravaganza.

The fixture drew talent from across the UK, with some creators even travelling from as far as Europe and Australia to set up shop.

Among those soaking up their skills was avid Star Wars fan Zak Butler, 24, who travelled to the convention from Basingstoke to get a tattoo of BB-8, a friendly robot from the sci-fi series.

He said: ‘It’s been a great convention and there has been some really cool stuff going on across all the booths.

‘I’m sat watching Star Wars while getting a Star Wars tattoo – I just love it.’

Tattoo artist Tori Treasure embarked on the convention from the Crow Quill, a studio she runs alongside friends in Southampton.

She said: ‘Meeting new people and new clients in an environment like this is just fantastic.

‘There’s been some real talent on show this weekend and it’s been a pleasure to be here.’

Running from midday on Friday until 8pm today, it was Portsmouth artist Reno Sammut who spearheaded the convention – which started at the Gaiety Bar eight years ago.

The 48-year-old said: ‘It’s been a good ride for the past eight years and 2018 has been no different.

‘Tattoos have come out of the ages now – they’re at their peak – and there are probably more people of age who have tattoos than don’t.

‘The buzz around them right now is great news for the industry.’

Mr Sammut – who has shops in the UK and the United States – added: ‘The talent of the artists we’ve had here has been absolutely amazing and so has the reception.’