Show Organizer Rich Handford

Rich Handford standing in his tattoo room.

Photo by Dwayne Larson

Rich Handford is a veteran tattoo artist with almost thirty years of tattooing experience. He owns Kapala Tattoo in Winnipeg and has travelled to dozens of tattoo conventions around the world.

“I’ve been making and collecting tattoos since 1989. During that time I’ve worked at over 50 tattoo festivals all over the world. I’ve been fortunate to have worked alongside the best men and women working in the industry today. Tattooing has given myself and my family a rich, full life and I felt it was time to share these experiences with the people of Manitoba.”

Up until recently municipal by-laws made a convention style tattoo event in Winnipeg unfeasible. Handford is excited to bring a tattoo convention to the city.

“When we invited all of our friends to Winnipeg, we had no idea they would all accept our invitation. We are overwhelmed by their response. It is an honour and a privilege to host an event of this calibre here in our hometown. Manitoba truly has a world class arts and tattoo community. We are honoured to host and work alongside over 200 of the best men and women working in the medium today.

“This is a huge opportunity. I am overwhelmed by the response locally, nationally and abroad. This is an opportunity for Winnipeg and its tattoo community to shine.”

Handford is taking steps to ensure the event aligns with his philosophies around tattooing, ethics and corporate responsibility. He also hopes to generate funds for a to-be-announced charity through the event.

“Tattoos are powerful. They are permanent milestones on our journey through life. They mark our heritage, philosophies, triumphs and tribulations. I feel there is something inherently magical in the messages behind them. The meanings behind them and the messages they convey are as diverse and personal as the people who wear them.

“Tattoos speak to people in every culture and from every walk of life in different ways. As an artist, I appreciate the beauty and aesthetic of a beautifully illustrated tattoo, but something as simple as a cancer ribbon on a survivor or a semi colon on a mother who has lost her son can be powerful reminders of loved ones and personal journeys that evoke emotion and promote dialogue. I think we all have more in common than we like to think. We can all relate to the human experience.”

“Conventions are a sort of coming together of the industry and culture and they are a place to share that atmosphere with not only tattoo collectors but all members of the public. I think Winnipeg is overdue in hosting an event like this and so far the response from everyone has been phenomenal.”