September 2022 left the tattoo community with two major voids. Jack Brown’s Tattoo Revival Kenny Brown and Sacred Heart Tattoo Founder Tony Olivas both lost their lives suddenly last month. As we approach the 28th Annual Richmond Tattoo, Art & Music Festival this October 21-23, the community of organizers, artists, sponsors, volunteers, and other partners extend their condolences, support, and memories to those closest to Kenny and Tony.
“They were our friends first and foremost,” says festival co-host Jesse Smith. “We are all working hard to not only throw a festival Kenny and Tony would love to attend but find creative and even fun ways to honor their playful and inspiring spirits. This is a tough time for us all but throwing a really good party seems like the best way to honor them.”
The festival this year will be a tribute to both of these greats in many ways. Festival guests can get flash tattoos to honor Tony and/or Kenny. We’ll have a separate memorial room set up for Friends, Family, Artists, volunteers and staff to pause and reflect. Both Tony and Kenny’s assigned tattoo booths will remain vacant in their honor with a guest book to sign to leave your thoughts for them and their loved ones. We will present the books to their families at the close of the festival.
In addition, we invite friends, family, and fans of Kenny and Tony to leave comments here on this blog post. We will find unique ways to share those during our festival to help their spirit be felt all around.
A little more about our friends Kenny and Tony:
Kenny Brown was born in Woodstock, New York in 1973. He began apprenticing as a tattoo artist in 1992. He opened Jack Brown’s Tattoo Revival in Fredericksburg, Virginia in 2007 with friend and co-owner Chance Kenyon. Upon opening Jack Brown’s, Kenny and his wife began an annual fundraiser, “Tattoos For Community”. With the help of Jack Brown’s tattoo artists, friends, clients and community members, the “Tattoos For Community” event has raised an incredible amount of funding for a different local nonprofit organization each year. Kenny also donated his time through The Healing Ink project.
In 2016, Kenny began co-hosting the Richmond Tattoo Festival. He personally invited a curated list of artists to join him during the festival every year and many of them will return for the 28th annual event. Kenny was dedicated to his craft of tattooing and passionate about its history. Kenny’s tattoo career spanned 30 years, tattooing across the country and abroad attending conventions. His enormous hugs, unforgettable laughter, generous kind spirit, dedication to inclusiveness, and exceptional humor will be missed this year. We will make sure his larger than life spirit is felt all around!
Kenny’s Family is not in need of any money however they have set up a gofundme for anyone who would like to donate to the Fredericksburg SPCA in his name. https://gofund.me/9dbf47ab
Tony Olivas is originally from Tucson, Arizona. He started tattooing when he was 15. He worked at shops including Dixieland Tattoo in Panama City Beach and Ancient Art where he learned from Jerry Riegger to make needles and build tattoo machines. Tony founded Sacred Heart Tattoo Inc. in Atlanta Georgia in 1994. Sacred Heart Tattoo became an award winning tattoo studio and also has locations in Norcross and Roswell.
Tony has traveled around the world to Australia, Austria, Germany, Sweden, Holland, Panama, Canada, Mexico, and all over the United States doing what he loves the most: tattooing. Tony was a true legend of his craft. He has been a mentor to many and a constant welcoming presence at the Richmond Tattoo Festival. His Sacred Heart crew warmly and proudly refers to themselves as La Familia. We are sad to see this leader go but are so grateful to have known him during his close to 40-year tattoo career. Please stop by his booth at the festival to leave your thoughts for him, his family, and his crew.
Please share your memories and kind words about Tony and Kenny in the comments below. We know our friends are wild and free, but please keep them PG if you can! This is a family-friendly zone!
More fun and storytelling will unfold at the festival. We look forward to seeing you all there. Thank you for respecting and supporting the families of Tony and Kenny. Please take care of yourselves and your friends, too. We are all grieving in some way and community is more important than ever.
We love you, Kenny and Tony!