The Richmond Tattoo & Arts Festival will celebrate 35 years in American tattoo history this October 20-22, 2023. Ink Master judge and internationally acclaimed tattoo artist Ryan Ashley will return as the festival’s headlining artist. This is the only tattoo convention she will be attending this year!
“The Richmond Tattoo Festival is a great convention for people to get up close and personal with so many incredible artists, witness amazing pieces happening live, and to just support the tattooing and arts community,” says Ryan. “Whether you’re into tattooing or just art in general, there’s a little piece of everything there for everyone and I’m just so excited to get back in the game and back into the tattoo world!”
The event has been a gathering place for industry founders, tattoo enthusiasts, artists, collectors, and fans since 1988. Today, It showcases the latest trends and innovations in tattooing while honoring the legacy of its founders. Hosted by tattoo legend, JD Crowe and world-renowned tattoo artist Jesse Smith will ensure that this year’s celebration is truly unforgettable.
“The Richmond Tattoo Festival is different because it’s an invite-only artist event,” says Smith. “Only the best artists in the world attend. We’re excited to welcome our friend Ryan Ashley back for this year’s event along with nearly 150 other respected artists from around the world.”
During the 3-day festival, guests will be able to schedule appointments for tattoos with these artists, many of whom will only be in Virginia for this event making it an exciting opportunity for east coast fans. Guests can also chat and interact with artists at their booths and at other areas of the festival for a unique and intimate experience.
“The energy and the in-person face-to-face exchange of such positive vibes really lifts me up and allows me to realize how many people I have the honor of influencing,” says Ashley. “My fans keep me motivated to be my best self, not just for ME but for the world. They make me really focus in on what I stand for, and allow me to appreciate the beautiful thing that is human connection.”
Ryan Ashley will appear as a judge in Paramount’s Ink Master Season 15, which will likely air this fall ahead of the festival. Ashley won Ink Master’s season 8 competition and has hosted the Ink Master’s Angels, judged Ink Master’s Grudge Match, and more. Festival goers can purchase additional VIP tickets for exclusive, private meet-and-greets with the Ink Master winner and judge.
“Having been a part of Ink Master for so many years, it’s really become such a cornerstone of my life,” she says. “Ink Master is such an incredible once-in-a-lifetime experience you could have, and it’s so much harder than most people think-not just in the competition sense, but in the sense of putting yourself boldly out there with enough bravery to be strong through criticism from millions of people.”
Other Ink Master winners including Cleen Rock One, Josh Payne and Steven Tefft will join Ashley at the Richmond Tattoo and Arts Festival in October as well as runner ups James Vaughn and Sarah Miller.
Since her last appearance at the Richmond Tattoo & Arts Festival in 2019, Ashley and her husband Arlo, who is also a tattoo artist, have spent the last 4 years completely renovating a 100-year-old historic church into a new tattoo studio, Elysium Studios.
“We’ve brought the facility to such a heightened level, really going above and beyond on every detail preparing to host events, seminars, excursions, and open our doors from guest tattooers from all over the world who want to experience what Colorado is like,” she says.
Ashley says she is excited to see her friends from the tattoo and art industry at the festival. There will be dozens of other unique attractions including daily tattoo competitions, artisan exhibitors, comedy competitions, kid-friendly activities, and a Live Art for Charity event, featuring internationally celebrated mural artists.
“Every year, we work to curate the entire festival experience so it’s even more special than the last year,” says Smith. “We hope everyone will join us as we carry on important traditions for the national tattoo industry and spur economic growth here in our own community.”