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3-day Richmond Tattoo & Arts Festival draws 'best artists' from across the globe

Posted at 11:33 PM, Oct 22, 2023

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. — The 35th annual Richmond Tattoo & Arts Festival, which organizers said is one of the oldest tattoo conventions in the world, took place this weekend.

Jesse Smith, who has been organizing the convention since 2016, said the three-day event at the DoubleTree Hotel in Midlothian attracts some of the best tattoo artists in the world.

"We have tattoo artists flying in from New Zealand, we got some coming in from Asia, we've got some from California. They're coming in from everywhere," Smith said. "This convention this year is probably one of the biggest that we've ever thrown."

The convention is "a great reflection" on Richmond's vibrant art scene, Smith said.

"Richmond is known as a tattoo and art town. So I feel like this is a good time, once a year for everybody to come together, and kind of enjoy the art and tattooing that is happening currently."

FULL INTERVIEW: Richmond Tattoo and Arts Festival draws 'best artists' from across the globe

FULL INTERVIEW: Richmond Tattoo and Arts Festival draws 'best artists' from across the globe

Smith said that along with the chance to get some new ink from artists, the show featured live performances and competitions.

Additionally, Sunday's show offered family-centered activities.

“We're actually partnering up with the SPCA, and so we're going to have a lot of pets around,” Smith said. “We’ve got about 185 tattoo artists who are tattooing throughout the weekend. We've got tattoo competitions, we've got a kid's tattoo competition. So the kids can come and they can draw on their parents. And then enter those tattoos for a chance to get some stuffed animals and cool art supplies.”

There was also a dog kissing booth, jump houses, face painting, caricatures and live paintings, which were auctioned off at the end of the show.

The Richmond SPCA received a $1 donation for every ticket sold Sunday, according to organizers.

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