International tattoo award joy for Andy

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A Coleraine tattooist’s mesmerising Batman-themed artwork has scooped a major award at the second Northern Ireland Tattoo Convention in Belfast.

Andy McKeary’s superb ‘back-piece’ won the Large Colour award at the two-day international event in the Ulster Hall.

More than 50 top tattooists from all over the British Isles, Hungary, Poland and Greece were among those vying for top honours.

Andy, who runs Ink Unleashed at Circular Road in Coleraine, said he was thrilled to walk away with one of the 12 prestigious industry awards on offer.

“I’m chuffed, it’s the best work that I’ve ever done,” he said. “It’s the first competition I’ve ever entered and just the second convention that I’ve done.”

Andy carried out the stunning work on Stuart Wolf who is from Mountsandel in Coleraine in the past six months.

“It took roughly 40 hours to complete. I put at least ten hours of my own time to get the piece to where I needed it to go.

“The tattoo has three Jokers, Batman, Catwoman and Robin and other Bat man-themed artwork.

“I’d entered other pieces at the convention but that was the main one and I hoped it would do well.”

The judging took place over two days and Andy was delighted to receive his crystal trophy award from Belfast artist Terry Bradley who, along with Andy Moore of Studio 76, Londonderry and Baz Black, made up the judging panel.

Some of the top exponents of the art showcased their talents at the weekend event which was organised by Robert Allen and Andy Moore.

Andy has been in the tattoo business for four-and-a-half years now and opened Ink Unleashed three years ago this July.

He specialises in custom and freehand tattoos, one-off designs and portraits.

The NI award winners are all expected to feature prominently in the newly-launched Tattoo Ireland Magazine in the near future.