AGI 2019 In Progress Special – Tattoo – Project

Designing a tattoo can be a way to imagine how you might go about commemorating someone, or something of certain importance, permanently onto your body. As designers and artists we are able to transfer thoughts and ideas into images (and words). Much like how we approach our day-to-day work, tattoos also communicate and express identities yet in a very intimate manner. Designing your tattoo(s) doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have to get your design actually tattooed. (You can also persuade somebody else to do it.)

For the 2019 Special Project, we invite you to express your idea(s) about the moment you are traveling from where ever you live to AGI Congress 2019 on the peninsula of Katendrecht in Rotterdam: your Port of Call.


Rotterdam, Port of Call and Katendrecht, ‘The Cape’.

The quaint village of Katendrecht was annexed in 1895 by the city of Rotterdamse for the digging and expansion of the port. The new peninsula was, and still is, nicknamed ‘The Cape’.

In 1911, 500 Chinese men were dispatched from England to break a big harbor strike in Rotterdam and Amsterdam. As labourers, they were cheap and hard working; it wasn’t long before more came over to these cities. Soon the first Chinatown in Europe was established on Katendrecht with its own boarding houses, toko’s, opium kits, laundry shops, gable houses and restaurants.

In the 1930s jazz music became very popular on ‘The Cape’. Local and national heroes such as Kid Dynamite, Teddy Cotton and Boy Edgar topped the bills of what was then called Negro Palace Belvédère. Jazz was inhibited by the Germans during the Second World War, but Katendrecht managed to be a kind of free state for a short time.

In the postwar years, Katendrecht became the hang out for sailors and criminals with its bars, nightclubs, tattoo shops (e.g. Tattoo Bob) and prostitution. It became the center of entertainment in the Netherlands, with among others, the dance palace Dancing Walhalla, the Black Sea Bar, the Neutral Bar, Deliplein Café and the Horse Shoe Bar. Sailors knew they could get tattooed night and day in Katendrecht. Catering and retail flourished. Katendrecht had its brightly lit bars, partying sailors and prostitutes; it was the place to be.


Specifications and guidelines.

Design ONE to MAXIMUM 5 tattoos.

Theme: ‘Rotterdam, Port of call’ or a related subject of your choosing.

Your design(s) must have maximum dimensions of 5 x 5cm (approx. 2 x 2 inches). 

Color: BLACK only

Be sure to design / draw in high contrast.

Avoid very fine lines and very fine details.

Be aware that designs usually are traced manually by the tattoo artist before being transferred and tattooed onto the skin.

Submit your design as 300 dpi Photoshop .JPG .EPS or Illustrator vector files and email it. to with ‘Special Project 2019’ as the subject line.

All designs will be reproduced in a small catalog that can be used to select your tattoo (and ones designed by your very best AGI friends) during the AGI congress (at your own expenses) at the local tattoo shop Tattoo Bob.

We might set up limited workshops with Tattoo Bob where you can experience inking your tattoo on ‘fake’ skin.


A few considerations on tattooing

A tattoo is a process where the needle is inserted up to 2 millimeters into the layers of skin called the dermis. For this, the first layers of the epidermis are broken. Some bleeding is normal and the healing process is often similar to a paper cut, especially when tattooing with thin needles. The feeling of getting tattooed is absolutely individual and depends on the body part. But usually one can say that it feels like scratching sunburned skin. During our lives, tattoo lines tend to spread and lose definition, so, very small works could turn blurry and lose details over time. It’s important to review size and placement. There are parts of the human body that don’t heal well such as hands, feet, the ribcage area and back. The tattooing process varies depending on style and colors used. Every tattoo artist develops a personal and unique style that comes from practice and experience over many years.

With a quick search on the internet you will find plenty of information on tattooing, tattoo artists and tattoo design.


Submit to

Deadline: August 14th, 2019