Updated to include statements from Thomas Hernandez.

Erin N. Carillo and Thomas H. Hernandez, promoters of the Honolulu Tattoo Expo, have been served with a $120K fine after 12 artists were allegedly found tattooing without a state license on both the first and second day of the convention. 

If you don't happen to be a tattoo artist or "in" the tattoo world, you probably don't know the protocol that comes with tattooing at conventions. So let's break it down real quick—artists need to follow local state laws for tattooing even at expos, which often means being licensed by whatever state you will be tattooing in. This means that before attending the Honolulu Tattoo Expo, artists must work with the event hosts to get licensed by the state—Hawaii offers a lot of online programs to easily get licensed by the state. Then artists must apply to tattoo at whatever expo they are attending.

Now, health inspectors who were attending the Honolulu Tattoo Expo report that they witnessed eight non-licensed people tattooing on the 24th and four on the 25th. Event promoter, Thomas Hernandez, told the Star Advertiser that he plans on contesting the fines that are $10K per violation. This is the highest price for the fines, as Hawaiian officials told Star Advertiser there was "open disregard for Hawaii laws designed to protect public health" by the expo operators. Hernandez argues otherwise though, putting some blame on the state. 

"The artists were notified by Thomas Hernandez that they must immediately stop tattooing and would not be allowed to tattoo at the event," Hernandez said in a statement to Inked, "All artists complied with our request and it was documented (that the artists had stopped tattooing) by the on-site inspectors... there were no incidents in which an artist was cited a second time... When questioned regarding fines for the citations the on-site inspector explained that the first citation is a warning and there would be no monetary fine imposed." You can probably emphasize with Hernandez's surprise when he received a $100K plus fine. 

The artists were just as confused over their citations as well, Hernandez said "Some of the cited artists did not know their license application was not processed. We received a list of artists whose applications were received on Monday, January 13, 2020 (after the 14 day deadline) and were informed that their licenses would be processed after the event, they would not be allowed to tattoo at the expo, and the health department was NOT going to notify them." Hernandez and his team attempted to notify these artists, but at least one did not receive their communications about failure to apply.

"It is also important to acknowledge that all of the artists in question received all the state approved training and passed both the TB and Syphilis tests required by the state of Hawaii but the health department refused to process their application in time for the event," said Hernandez.