An annual event hosted by Magic Ink Magazine, BALI TATTOO EXPO brings together tattoo artists, ink collectors and vendors in the biz for an exposition of live tattooing, contests, awards shows and live music.
Basically a three-day body art and music festival, Bali Tattoo Expo wows with a showcase of amazing tattoos and a concert lineup you’d pay at least 10x the price to see at a beach club. And get this: the outdoor concert area is free and all ages are welcome.
Branding and everything else about the expo’s set up is ON POINT yet it also guarantees surprises and wild fun.
You can only understand this thing by coming for yourself and enjoying the experience first-hand. Warning: there’s more unsolicited promotion on the way. To be clear: this content is original and not sponsored in any way.
We got how many of these amazing Bali Tattoo Expo T-shirts before realizing the edit is a tradition? Embarrassing!
Whoever’s behind the joke and these illustrations… legendary.
Love your work!
Hundreds of tattoo artists participate in Bali Tattoo Expo’s contests which are judged and scored daily for pre-defined awards such as best of the day, best color tattoo and best portrait tattoo.
Most contestants are professional Bali tattoo artists, some Balinese and some from other parts of Indonesia, plus the pros from overseas. Bali Tattoo Expo is also host to fans from near and far and plenty of contest participants (say 15%) who fly in just for this.
Bali’s Best Cheap Tattoos
Got your attention?
Good. This is a once-a-year chance to get a cheap good tattoo in Bali (and we NEVER put those words together like that).
But for three days only, Bali’s best tattoo artists (another thing we NEVER say) participate in a contest and so, many of them offer their services at a discount price, maybe even free.
Comment below or contact us to apply to be a model.
Bali Tattoo Expo Winners
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After the tattooing is done each day, it’s time to down some brewskies! There’s usually a lot of tuak as well, the local arak-like spirit made from coconut water.
Festival-style stalls with Indonesian food and drinks around tables and chairs outside provide ample space to chill. Live rock and reggae music goes late every night!
You’ll find the “alternative” rock n’ roll TATTOOED subculture community in Bali is surprisingly chipper, close-knit and supportive, even at a full-blown tattoo competition like this.
Whether you come as a pro, a canvas, a groupie or a stranger, we think Bali Tattoo Expo is a seriously authentic and awesome thing for foreigners to experience in Indonesia. Locals love it too of course, but we say that because we’re trying to introduce Bali’s insider tattoo scene to a wider international audience of cool interested people that have a lot to give and take by joining in.
When is Bali Tattoo Expo?
A very memorable three-day weekend, usually in May, Bali Tattoo Expo is open daily from around 10am to 10pm.
May 18-20, 2018
May 24-26, 2019
VIP set up kicks off on Thursday the expo’s eve. That’s when smart tattoo studio booths and vendors hang banners and organize their supplies or inventory before the three-day event is opened to the public.
The expo starts on Friday, which is only called “Day One” at the expo by the way. There are plenty of participants who leave set up ’til then, showing up just early enough to say hey while sipping kopi. If your brand of “coffee” happens to be Bintang, there’s no judging here outside of the official tattoo contests.
The Bali Tattoo Expo agenda allows for everyone to work hard and play hard. Some just come to party hard.
Confused at first to find a big crowd already at the venue on the morning of Bali Tattoo Expo 2019 Day One, we had a few ‘aha moments,’ like “oh right the staff shirt explains why he’s here at this hour, and… him too. Okay it’s still pretty much still just crew actually.”
Most friends and fans appear way later on at a time more appropriate for a chorus of cold Bintang bottles going ‘wop, wop, wop, clink, clink, clink.’ Cheers to the freakin’ weekend. It’s on.
Where is Bali Tattoo Expo?
BALI CREATIVE INDUSTRY CENTRE
Jl. Wage Rudolf Supratman No.302, Kesiman Petilan,
Denpasar Tim., Kota Denpasar, Bali 80237
Lodging is available on-site at a budget hotel, but overnight accommodation outside the venue is preferable.
The route from west Bali to BCIC in east Bali is a fairly easy drive by motorbike. Carpooling is a good way to go too. Catching a ride to or from BCIC at all hours is a snap with services like GO-JEK, GrabCar and local taxis. Please don’t drink and drive.
Motorbikes can park at the entrance gate although cars may be asked to use the front lot for drop-off/pick-up and loading only. An attended outdoor parking lot right across the street at a futsal club ensures there are enough secure and convenient parking spaces for all vehicles.
How much does Bali Tattoo Expo cost?
General Admission Tickets
In 2018, the price for a day pass at the door was Rp. 30,000 per person (it’s a steal).
Artist and Vendor Booths
Contact the organizers directly for participation applications and booth pricing.
Is it safe to get tattoos at Bali Tattoo Expo?
We have every reason to answer “yes” but ultimately your safety is your own responsibility so that’s what we always say.
As a guest or customer at a tattoo studio or expo, wash your hands regularly or use anti-bacterial hand sanitizer and you should be fine.
Also read this: BALI TATTOO SAFETY INFO
Prior to the expo, all participants receive an info packet with basic tattoo safety guidelines and requirements.
The important safety rules are:
1. Tattoos must be made using only new sterile disposable needles.
2. At the end of each day all the used needles go into a designated “sharps box” (or one of several safe containers) to be taken care of responsibly by your artist or the expo hosts.
Those requirements and services are obviously minimal compared to the hoopla at similar conventions abroad, but in support of the Bali Tattoo Expo standards we believe simplicity makes them easy to follow and highly effective.
When there’s no disinfectant hand soap in the exhibition hall’s W.C.s, we make it so. (Yes, this has actually happened a few times, and we comment about stocking the loos not to brag or blame others, but just because we want you to know how much TATTLAS cares. We step up whenever we can.)
TATTLAS at Bali Tattoo Expo
Tattlas Bali Tattoo Guide is proud to be the English language media partner for both Bali Tattoo Expo and Magic Ink Tattoo Contest, the island’s two big annual industry events.
In support of local tattoo tourism, we’re dedicated to publishing up-to-date event info, behind-the-scenes stories and timely contest results on our blog and social profiles every year.
Special thanks to the gang at Magic Ink for letting us be a part of this!
This post was first published on 12 May 2018. LAST UPDATE: 15 June 2019.
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