by Natasha Pavlopoulou
ATHENS, May 14 (Xinhua) -- Three days, plenty of ink and various artistic creations on thighs, backs, arms and other parts of the body: The 12th International Athens Tattoo Convention, one of the five best tattoo festivals in Europe, was held again this year in Athens from May 11-May 13, bringing together some of the most respected artists from Greece and all over the world.
Tattoo experts from 21 countries, including the Unied States, Sweden, Australia, Colombia, Iceland, Russia, Lebanon, Japan, Bulgaria etc met in Faliro Sports Pavilion Arena (Tae Kwon Do), one of the 2004 Olympic Games venues.
More than 20,000 people were there to admire them turning bodies into works of art and take part in various competitions.
Habba Nero from Iceland is a travelling tattoo artist and she works exclusively by hand, without the use of an electric tattoo machine. A former student of the Iceland Academy of the Arts, she decided to pursue her dream and has travelled around Europe and North America.
She inked her favorite images from nature on a Greek girl. "I love her technique. She is unique. She loves so much her work and we are looking forward to meeting her again next year," said Sophia Manta, 29, who got her first tattoo at the age of 20.
Pablo Hernandez, from Zumaia, a small town in the north of Spain, is a self-taught star in Spain's tattoo scene. "I live from my work... I do mostly black and grey designs and I really like realism. My customers vary in both age and gender. Many young people, middle-aged and even old people visit my shop," he told Xinhua.
Greek tattoo artists also stand out in the global scene and despite the economic crisis that has hit the country since 2009, the trend of tattooing is on the rise.
Ancient Greeks and Romans used tattooing to penalize slaves, criminals, and prisoners of war. Tattoo has reached a high aesthetic level nowadays and is disconnected from conditions and situations that have to do with the margin -- prison, gangs, etc, according to experts of the field.