Estevan Oriol, International Tattoo Expo 3 May 2019
Events, News


The three days of the International Tattoo Expo in Rome were intense and celebratory.
The occasion was the twentieth anniversary of the first Tattoo Convention, founded in 1999 with The Ritual Club, fueling the passion for different but similar subcultures, on this occasion decided to share the stage of the Nuova Fiera di Roma: an a combination of slender bodies twisted around a rope and a daily contest for the best tattoo.
The weekend from May 3rd to 5th was a riot of interesting people, semi-naked bodies wandering through a maze of moving needles, American-style signs saying “available to be tattooed”, guests from Russia, from the East, from the capital and, as the flagship guest: Estevan Oriol, the Los Angeles master of photography who was invited by DRAGO who presided over the whole weekend in the ample DRAGO Lounge.

International Tattoo Expo Rome 2019

The Lounge, located at the center of the convention, was set up in collaboration with Carlotta Vagnoli: a gigantic, welcoming and comfortable space, divided into three sections.
The first is dedicated to the sale of the most attractive titles in the DRAGO catalog, including This Is Los Angeles (Oriol’s latest publication) which features Hollywood’s most coveted celebrities – including Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Al Pacino, De Niro, Kim Kardasihan, and LA Portraits, also published by DRAGO a few years earlier; Gospel MMXVIII, from the same underground taste of Oriol; Full Frame by Futura 2000, historical father of the New York graffiti of the 70s and more niche titles like Cooking with Bears by Angelo Sindaco, a book of recipes, accompanied by photographs of naked men and fetish details. For those who had hoped to find L.A. Woman, the good news is that there are still a few copies left, while the bad news is that having failed to foresee any reprint, the book has reached a very high estimate.

International Tattoo Expo Rome 2019

Estevan Oriol presided over his books, armed with a camera in one hand and a pen for signing copies in the other. Always gratefully accepting requests from fans, he tried to devote time to anyone who asked. In addition, Oriol also took care to provide a wide selection of hats, pins, t-shirts, sweatshirts, socks and car perfumes – with a choice of blonde or black-haired girl printed on top of his trademark Joker Brand. A brand, which, as Metal Carter told us on Saturday, is a “G Code”. Urban Dictionary explains: “The G Code stands for Ghetto Code. (…) Being born in G Code it is something to be proud of. It means that you are a tough guy and nobody can fuck you (…) “, in short, quoting the old founding member of the Truceboys” it’s not really quiet to go around with that brand in the States, but here we are in Rome and therefore no problem “.

International Tattoo Expo Rome 2019

The second area of the Drago space, contrasting the interactive and exchange aspect, was remarkable for the little sofas that became a forbidden dream for anyone who came near the Lounge. Not only that, the Freni e Frizioni counter placed right next to the sofas was no doubt another reason to rest tired limbs with endless turns among sweaty skins, inked needles and curved tattooists. Freni e Frizioni too had aligned itself with the Tattoo style, displaying five bottles of Bulleit customized for the event on its shelves and finding, through them, a collaboration with Swang Song Tattoo, an illustrious Roman studio, which had artworks, T-shirts and colors at its workstation as well as the decorated whiskey bottle. A corner of the Lounge was dedicated to the windows of Myda: the first grillz makers in Italy, who were a hit when the two precious-tooth-creators demonstrated their art. And, so as not to leave a single wall free of creativity, another wall was embellished by Pepemaniak’s paintings, who between making frames, found time to tattoo a young boy passing the convention.

International Tattoo Expo Rome 2019

The third part of the DRAGO area was dedicated to the exhibition of Estevan Oriol’s photographs mixed in a clever aesthetic dynamism with those of Paolo Cenciarelli, new author of Vangelo MMXVIII, which launched recently at Contemporary Cluster.
The photographic book speaks of a rough and raw Rome (like Oriol’s Los Angeles) with refined details, which clash againt the eye; deliberately hostile, consciously aggressive, self-evidently capable of slapping the individual sub-frame of those who watch. Gospel treats visual writing as sacrosanct to oppose the angelic vision of a Rome humanely recognized as “sacred”. The city of angels flanked by that of God.
But if you thought the long list of adventurers who travelled to the convention was finished, think again: late afternoon on the second day of the Convention, the Milanese arrived, those who in a weeks’ time will have inaugurated the Propaganda Tattoo Temple Studio, last of a series of far-sighted initiatives devised by Propaganda Agency. Once the VIP area closed, the Drago Lounge turned into a talk lounge, in which Carlotta Vagnoli posed a few questions to Andrew of Propaganda and Emanuele, better known as Noyz Narcos, about the rising activity of the new tattoo studio based in Milan.

International Tattoo Expo Rome 2019 Roma

The association between studio and rap artist doesn’t sound so hasty: in fact, Noyz Narcos met Andrew just as he was pursuing a career as a tattoo artist in the famous Roman studio The Grim Reaper Tattoo, in which today he continues to tattoo Scarful (present at the convention), author of the Tattoo Temple logo, and the latest artwork cover by Enemy, Noyz’s latest recording success.

Pepemaniak, International Tattoo Expo 3 May 2019

With the last day, Estevan Oriol finished his role by setting up a series of interviews: the first one by Kickit Market (an event that took place at the same time as the Atlantic), then at the Lounge, and last but not least at Radio Kaos, in which the CEO of Drago, Paulo von Vacano led the broadcast by asking the L.A photography question.
Among suffering bodies, vibrant machines and concentrated decoration masters, DRAGO tried to make sure the twentieth anniversary of the International Tattoo Expo would be remembered. And yes, it sure will be.

Estevan Oriol, Carlotta Vagnoli International Tattoo Expo 4 May 2019
Kickit Market 2019

Ph. Credits: Valerio Lintozzi


  1. I have found this post quite useful. This post helps me a lot to know everything about the international tattoo Expo in Rome. I want to request tattoo lovers to read this post at least once if they want to know everything about this topic. I am grateful to the author for this post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *