UPDATE: The Honolulu Tattoo Expo responded to our request for comment stated in an email:

“The artists were notified by Thomas Hernandez that they must immediately stop tattooing and would not be allowed to tattoo at the event. All artists complied with our request and it was documented by the on-site inspectors. There were no incidents in which an artist was cited a second time for continuing to tattoo which can be corroborated by the health inspectors. 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.  On the Application For New Tattoo Artist License it asks if the application is for a tattoo convention and if so, licenses will be issued at the convention. No licenses were issued at the event. This made it difficult to determine who had been inspected and licensed and who had not.”

PREVIOUS: Health officials are calling it a complete disregard for public health rules, resulting in the maximum fine to the Honolulu Tattoo Expo. 

At the Department of Health Food Safety, officials take these expos seriously. We’re told they heavily monitored the Honolulu Tattoo Expo and sent a crew every day to make sure the artists were in compliance.

State officials say the Honolulu Tattoo Expo that was held last month at the Hawaii Convention Center will need to pay $120,000 after officials found 12 unlicensed tattoo artists at the expo. The artists had to provide a picture ID and if they were not on the master list of credentials they were removed from the floor.

Peter Oshiro of the Food Safety branch says the owners of the expo blatantly disregarded the rule. 

Peter Oshiro, Dept. of Health Food Safety: “They clearly understood that we have numerous emails going back and forth and we set up registration procedures. So when my people were out randomly checking booths they found people engaging in tattooing with no licenses. That was frankly very shocking to us because the previous expos in the past we never had that kind of problem.” 

Oshiro says it doesn’t take long to get a license. Tattoo artists need to complete a blood-borne pathogen transmission prevention class. Blood-borne diseases include HIV, hepatitis B and C, and tetanus. 

Peter Oshiro, Dept. of Health Food Safety: “Being able to handle blood coming out of a person, being able to make sure procedures are in place where you don’t infect others or yourself is really critical so diseases don’t spread in Hawaii.” 

Oshiro says the penalty is against the promoters of the Honolulu Tattoo Expo, Erin Carillo and Thomas Hernandez. Oshiro says they are from California, and this is the first time the expo has been held here on Oahu. We reached out to the Honolulu Tattoo Expo for comment and are waiting to hear back. Oshiro says they have 20 days to appeal.