Studio Spotlight: River City Tattoo in Richmond, Virginia

September 26, 2023

Between launching River City Tattoo in 2002, to being appointed by the governor to the Board for Barbers and Cosmetology, and educating for the Red Cross, Jessica Simmons has made a name for herself beyond piercing and tattooing. Her long time dedication and attendance to the Richmond Tattoo and Arts Festival began in 1997 at just 17 and has since grown. We sat down with Simmons to talk about this year’s event and what she has in store for attendees.  

river city tattoo richmond tattoo festivalHow long has River City Tattoo been part of the festival?

I attended the Richmond Tattoo Festival in 1997 for the first time as one of two guest piercers at age 17. I began piercing in the early 90’s so to be a part of the beloved Richmond Tattoo Arts Festival at that age was truly a dream come true. RCT has attended the show throughout the years numerous times, but we’ve become increasingly more involved with the festival in the last 5 years. 

What are the biggest differences between when you first became part of the festival and today?

It’s great to see the festival carry on. The biggest changes have been the acceptance and diversity of individuals attending as well as more diversity of various artistic mediums. 

Why is the festival so important to you personally?

I get to see a lot of old friends that live far away, I love seeing the old tradition grow and be revitalized through the craft of the trade and through the growing enthusiasm of our society. It’s really exciting to see more young women there and numerous other talented individuals. 

What is the festival’s importance to RCT as a business and the VA community?

For the community, it helps promote a high standard of work in a professional safe environment and it supports healthy recognition of a type of art that is ancient yet still so very relevant today. The Richmond Tattoo Arts Festival has attributed to pioneering the industry as a whole by providing support to flourish in a type of business that is outside the box. In many ways the event contributed in spearheading the Richmond Tattoo scene that has been proudly carved out on our map.

River city tattoo piercing richmond Virginia What is RCT bringing to the festival this year? 

We’ll have an even larger booth than previous years providing an army of talented established tattooers such as Stephen Reaves, and Brandon Saunders as well as a few new up and comers including Jaime Escanellas and Paula Fernandez specializing in various artistic styles. 

Additionally, we’ll be bringing the largest selection of fine body jewelry on the east coast as well as jewelry curations designed to fit any individual’s unique style. We’ll also have fine prints of artwork done by our tattooers.

What event features are you most excited about?

I’m super excited to see the outdoor Live Art for Charity by amazing artist Niko. Ukrainian Tattoo artist Tetiana Nazarenko will be there showing off her flawless fine line work and the very talented artistic handmade vendors such as Just Buried. 

Why should people join us at the Richmond Tatto Festival This October?

The show is going to be packed with a variety of talent that everyone should experience. I think it’s a great opportunity to see firsthand the uprising of an amazing and exciting subculture. Some of the best artists in the world will be in attendance and it’s a Richmond tradition that will be a lot of fun for all walks of life!

Learn More About the Richmond Tattoo & Arts Festival.

Book Your Hotel Room.

See the latest festival announcements on Instagram and Facebook.

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Artist Submission

Become a Volunteer

(All volunteers will receive a Free Richmond Tattoo & Arts Convention T-Shirt for helping out)
(For every hour that you Volunteer at the Richmond Tattoo & Arts Convention, Loose Screw Tattoo will give you free tattoo time. On Wednesday, Thursday, Friday Morning and Monday Morning you will receive $15 of FREE TATTOO TIME for every hour worked and on Friday Evening, Saturday and Sunday you will receive $10 of FREE TATTOO TIME per every hour worked)

Book Your Hotel!

Book your Room!

We’re taking over the DoubleTree by Hilton Richmond – Midlothian and we're sharing our convention discount with you! Stay the night, enjoy the full convention experience, but most importantly, party safe knowing you can have a drink or two and don’t have to drive.
(We will do our best to accommodate, however due to availability we cannot guarantee that we will be able to put you on your preferred floor)
(We will do our best to accommodate, however due to availability we cannot guarantee that we will be able to put you in your preferred room type. If we cannot get your preferred room, we will let you know immediately)
Each night is $193.80 + 3% processing fee. (Cancellations: 24 hours notice prior to check-in date is required. Cancellations after that point are subject to be charged a total of one night's stay. There is a $50 early check-out fee for any reservation that vacates the room early)

Official Richmond Tattoo & Arts Convention Merchandise

(If you have purchased multiple T-Shirts then please list any additional sizes below.)
(If you have purchased multiple T-Shirts then please list any additional sizes below.)