Page last updated at 08:27 GMT, Saturday, 2 August 2008 09:27 UK

Celebrities leading tattoo demand

Amy Winehouse
Singer Amy Winehouse is among the celebrity fans of tattooing

The social stigma attached to a tattoo is disappearing, say the organisers of a major convention.

As celebrities like David Beckham show off their body art, the popularity of the once-maligned tattoo increases.

The Tattoo Jam, organised by Skin Deep magazine at Venue Cymru in Llandudno, brings together about 150 tattooists from more than 20 different countries.

Skin Deep editor Neil Dalleywater said celebrity culture played a part in the increased demand for tattoos.

"You do tend to see a lot more ink on pop stars and film stars in the media," he said.

"The social stigma of tattoos is breaking down although you still come across it in places but it's becoming far more socially acceptable.

David Beckham showing tattoo
David Beckham's tattoos have received huge media coverage
"Things have changed really with the technological advances and the artists have really come on."

The list of famous people having them is a long one, notably pop star Robbie Williams and footballer David Beckham.

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney was recently reported to have had a tattoo featuring the name of the south Wales band Stereophonics.

He is said to be a big fan of the band and had the title of their third album, Just Enough Education to Perform, put on his arm.

Their popularity among women is also growing, again fuelled by celebrities such as film star Angelina Jolie and pop star Amy Winehouse.

"People are realising you don't have to just have a swallow or an anchor, you can have beautiful fine art," said Mr Dalleywater.

"The limit for tattoos is your own imagination."

Several Welsh tattooists are taking part in the three-day convention alongside others from as far afield as New Zealand and Singapore.

"The number of studios in Wales is phenomenal for the size of the country," said Mr Dalleywater.

"Every month I hear of another studio opening up in Wales, more so in south Wales though I don't know why."

Tattoo trends change, but Welsh dragons and the Welsh flag continue to be popular.

"I would say that the tattoo du jour is stars but I don't quite know the significance," said Mr Dalleywater.

"A while ago, it was Celtic work which was very popular in Wales.

"You see a lot of Welsh flags and Welsh dragons. The Welsh are very patriotic, aren't they?"

But while tattoos may be more popular than ever, some things never change.

"It's still painful!" he said.

The Tattoo Jam is at Venue Cymru, Llandudno, from Saturday to Monday.

Man gets breakfast tattoo on head
09 Feb 07 |  North West Wales
Family tree tattoo for dad of 20
08 Sep 06 |  South East Wales

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