The growing popularity of tattoos - ‘It’s much more accepted now’

As 250 artists gather for the Dublin Tattoo Convention this weekend, studios are seeing a larger and increasingly diverse range of customers

Georgiana Stoian’s tattoos on a client can, on occasion, take five-six years to complete. “Some of my customers get large pieces to slowly build a body suit. That would be my speciality,” she says.

Originally from Romania, Stoian is a tattoo artist based in the Little Rabbit Ink studio in Dublin city centre.

Today she will be at the Dublin Tattoo Convention in the RDS working on a client’s full body suit, continuing on a back tattoo she started in her shop.

“We’re already three full-day sessions in, so it’ll be our fourth day working on it at the convention,” says the artist who has been tattooing for 12 years, nine of which have been in Dublin.


This is her sixth year participating in the convention, which is “very important” as it gives both an artist and a client an opportunity to “find a connection”.

“It helps people when they’re choosing an artist to meet and find a connection. Sometimes tattoos have a deeper personal meaning and they want someone they can be comfortable with to explain those ideas,” she says.

“We’re going to spend a lot of hours together, so the convention is the perfect environment for both the artist and the customer to meet.”

About 250 tattoo artists will be at this weekend’s convention, some of whom will be participating in competitions, either entering tattoos already completed or racing against the clock to finish tattoos at the convention to enter.

There will also be aerial performances, live music, fire shows, piercing stalls and vintage sales in what is seen as a family day out with under-14s free to attend.

“It’s going to be huge this year,” says Jess Maciel, a co-organiser of the convention. She is expecting a diverse crowd, from traditional tattoo lovers to people who have never considered getting a tattoo before.

“Tattoos have become much more accessible and mainstream in the past 10 years. It’s definitely becoming way more popular with the younger generations,” says Maciel.

“The rise in social media means people get to see how tattoos look in all different sizes and styles, and how they’re looked at has changed. They’re much more acceptable now,” she says.

She says workplaces in which tattoos would have previously been banned from being shown are “encouraging people to express themselves”.

That’s why the convention has only become bigger since it started more than 20 years ago, she says.

New trends are emerging, especially among generation Z, who have been “really into fine line tattoos on their hands or the back of their arms” compared with “years ago when the big thing was a tattoo on the lower back”.

Kevin McNamara of Dublin Ink tattoo studio is seeing “a bigger influx” and “very broad” clientele come through his shop.

“From the 18 year old in college studying engineering to a 75-year-old on holiday in the country with their kids, Dublin Ink has always been at the forefront of making it a more accessible scene,” he says.

There has been a noticeable “big shift in society about personal aesthetic and people being aware of that” which is moving more people towards considering tattoos, he says. “As a society or a culture, we’re moving more into celebrating different forms of self expression,” he says.

“It is much more accepted now, which is great to see.”

Jade Wilson

Jade Wilson

Jade Wilson is a reporter for The Irish Times