This past weekend, I went to the 18th Annual Tattoo Arts Festival in Richmond Virginia, just as I have most every November for the past decade. Out of all the conventions within a few hours from me, this one has always been my favorite. This was the show where I first witnessed true legends of the tattoo world work, where I first had my photos taken for a magazine and where I first met Shawn Porter many moons ago. Not to mention the parties, dear Jeebus, the parties. I have been to a lot of other conventions and a ton of other parties, but never have the two been combined together in such delightful excess as they are every year at the winter Richmond show.
A few days after returning home, kicking the hangover and returning to work I hear the sad news……….. Billy Eason, the man behind this convention for the last 18 years, as well as many other conventions, has passed on.
Billy was an old school American badass, one of the last of a dying breed.
He left his mark all over Richmond’s tattoo scene by his opening of Red Dragon and Capital Tattoo. He left a much larger mark still on the international tattoo convention scene, not only by the conventions he threw, but by the precedents they set. He raised the bar for what was to be expected from a tattoo convention and he became a legend because of that.
So whether you knew Billy, knew of Billy or are just learning who he is take a moment to pay respects to one of the men who helped define the tattoo conventions which are now more popular than ever.