Show Reviews

NorCal Tattoo Expo

November 1-3, 2019

Win-River Resort & Casino Event Center

Redding, California

Event promotors Josh and Brenna David have staged bridal, beauty, and health & wellness expos. One key to the success of such events is putting the right audience with the right vendors. They developed the NorCal Tattoo Expo through visiting other tattoo shows around the West Coast, networking with artists and actually collecting business cards from those they’d like to invite to their own event. “We met a lot of artists with really awesome portfolios and who were super friendly and down to earth — those were the kinds of people that we wanted for our show,” says Paul, a tattoo collector himself, and that being his inspiration for the event. “Our goal was to really focus on the artists — no live music or other exhibits — we wanted it to be like an artist gathering.”

“Redding is a small town with only a handful of tattoo shops, and people locally aren’t exposed to much unless they travel to get tattooed,” Paul adds. “The expo really gives the local tattoo community here a really feel for what else is available out there.” The NorCal Tattoo Expo welcomed 85 artists in its second year. The 2019 gallery included 40 specially selected guests who could then bring along another artist from their own studio or a favorite in thier area. The majority of artists came from California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado and one travelled all the way from Norway.

“Everybody was super chill and there wasn’t any kind of egocentric atmosphere. Artists were even getting tattooed by other artists,” Paul says. “With everyone staying together in the same hotels, and hanging out and eating and having beers together, there was a really cool vibe.” A thousand people through the doors over the thee-day event might seem like a small turnout compared to big city shows, but then again, the population of Redding is just over 90,000 and the Win-River Resort & Casino Event Center is fairly small in itself. In all, Josh says the size of the expo felt just right.

“Alot of the artists who returned from year-one, we’re booked with clients who they’ve met previously and had been waiting for them to come back so they could get tattooed,” Paul remarks.

Among the notable artists represented were: Curt Baer (Iron Mountain Tattoo); George Campise, Greg (Taco Monster), Ben Cheese and Dana James (Warhorse Tattoo); John Wilson (Scapegoat Tattoo); Wrath (Bulldog Tattoo); Thomas Asher and Lisa Del Toro (Last Chance Tattoo); Jeff Houston (Trigger Happy Tattoo); Khalil Justice Linane (Project Tattoo); Caitlyn Gale (Death or Glory Tattoo); Chris Astrologo (Captured Tattoo); and Jacui Alberts (Moonlight Tattoo).

Brian Wilson, owner/artist at Scapegoat Tattoo, in Portland, Oregon, won Best of Show honors. He earned prize package from Kingpin Tattoo Supply, CBD infused aftercare products from Pure Source Ink, a custom hand-painted award courtesy of Scott LaRock (Sideshow Signs), 200 bones to play at the Win-River Casino, and of course an invite and comped booth space for the 2020 expo.

“When I’m walking around, and every booth is busy, and you hear the machines running the whole weekend, it makes me super stoked,” Paul says. “It’s super cool when the artists come up here, have a good time and make money as well as having a connection with other artists. Getting to be a part of all that is the reward for all of us involved with putting on the expo.”


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