Richmond Tattoo Arts Festival Draws International Tattoo Artists to Richmond

December 6, 2012

Online Story by Amanda Dix
Video Story by Jabari Powell
VCU InSight

RICHMOND Va. – Local and international artists gathered in one place to showcase their artwork, but on a unique campus, the human body.

Black and greys, portraits and traditional Polynesian or Japanese were a few of the tattoo styles showcased at the 20th Annual Richmond Tattoo Arts Festival.

Over 200 artists attended the Festival with dozens of booths lining the Greater Richmond Convention Center, each booth representing a different shop and a different story.

Hold it Down Tattoo is a locally owned tattoo shop located at 302 Goshen Street, and was one of the tattoo shops at the Festival.  Owner and artist, Darryl Rodriguez, said they are making a name for their tattoos.

“I think it’s the work we produce and just, I don’t know, it’s something about the shop. It’s got a certain magic it to it man. Like it’s got that old tattoo shop romantic allure,” said Rodriguez.

According to MSNBC, Richmond is the third most tattooed city in the nation.  Another Hold it Down tattoo artist, Ryan Bailey said having so many tattoo shops in the area pushes tattoo artists and the culture to new levels.

“It’s all the kids that live here, so many kids have so many cool ideas and keep the tattooers motivated so much, and keep them on their toes so much that they’re always trying to do more,” said Bailey.

What better way to compete than one of than one of the nation’s largest tattoo festivals? One of the coordinators for the festival, Nate Drew said this convention gathers local and some of the top world artists in one area.

“It’s the longest running tattoo show in the nation, this is the crème de la crème,” said Drew.

The Richmond Tattoo Arts festival was held from November 16th through November 18th, with each day consisting of contests for various competitions.