Whether you give them, wear them, or don’t think of them at all, it’s hard to deny that tattoos exist as a beautiful display of artistry, trust, and dedication between both the wearer and the artist. As the receiver, we lay our skins bare to be marked permanently by someone we barely know because their craft spoke to us louder than what years of conversation could ever do. As the artist, hours of diligent research are outdone by hours of applying needle to skin in order to paint an original composition only to see it walk away after mere minutes of finishing it, most likely to never see it again. But it’s all in a day’s work for the artists at Redwave Tattoo & Art Gallery.
Established in 2006, Redwave Tattoo‘s first goal was to create a unique experience with their shop that hadn’t been seen much by the community as of yet. The owner, Rico Saldivar, was an artist with a brush, having shown paintings in the Fresno Art Museum galleries prior to becoming a tattoo artist, and it gave him an idea to integrate both worlds into something new for the community and patrons to share in together.
“I opened up Redwave during a time when Fresno only had street style shops that were loaded with Flash art from the walls to the flash racks for clients to choose from. I took a chance to integrate an art gallery within Redwave in an effort to create a tattoo studio that would break the barriers between skin art and fine art by merging both under one roof,” explains Saldivar.
The gallery inside Redwave is a home for not only resident artists within the shop, but it has also been host to art shows featuring work by the likes of Ron Earhart, Nate Banuelos, Eddie Stacey and many other respected artists alongside tattooers. Since opening their doors with an unconventional idea to blend 2 worlds together, more shops are found around the area featuring a similar landscape on their walls to celebrate the vast spectrum of artistry.
“I’m proud to say that at the time when Redwave Tattoo & Art Gallery’s doors were opened we took a chance on something new that inspired many and is now the norm… and that’s a beautiful thing because there are some really nice shops with amazing, talented artists here in the Central Valley,” Saldivar shares.
However, Saldivar isn’t on his own in building the reputation of Redwave Tattoo & Art Gallery, he has a talented team of artists working right beside him. Johnny Rockit, the “wave” in Redwave, is their prized resident tattooer specializing in American Traditional and Portrait Realism. Will Hondo, emphasizing in American Traditional, and Richard George, who specializes in Fine Line, are the newest additions to the group having joined Redwave just over a year ago. John Garcia is their resident piercer who also heads up all Body Modification requests. But the first friendly face you’ll see when walking through the doors at Redwave will most likely be Shannyn Kout, the shop manager who will help you on your journey to a new piece you can be proud to show off.
“We are a group of self-managed artists who are united by our craft, we work together as an extended family and share common goals and aims in respect to our art, clients, and future growth as a team within our tattoo community,” says Saldivar of his team.
Even if you’re not in the market for a new tattoo, you’ll still be able to catch them in action at the 13th Annual Fresno Tattoo Expo going down at the Big Fresno Fairgrounds on March 25 – 26. As a vendor, they’ll be tattooing and selling custom paintings along with their shop’s own merch. But as a sponsor, they’ll also be hosting, and they’ve put together some unique experiences for all those headed to the event.
Presenting a multi-panel graffiti/brush art show, they’ll be displaying 20 panels that are 4’x6′ each painted by select artists. There will also be a live Art Fusion show in which a group of volunteer artists will team up to produce 5 different chalk art pieces to become a mash-up masterpiece. All of these will be packaged up and raffled off, giving event-goers rare memorabilia to commemorate this year’s expo.
The 13th Annual Fresno Tattoo Expo expects to host over 200 tattoo artists from around the world along with performances, contests, and for the first time ever, a car show featuring the finest lowriders. It’s all ages with a full bar for those 21 and over, packed with hundreds of artists all working together to create a wicked good time celebrating a near ageless craft.
For more information about Redwave Tattoo & Art Gallery, follow them on Facebook and Instagram @redwavetattoo and stay up to date with future events, artist mentions, and artwork done by or hosted by the Redwave team. More information about the 13th Annual Fresno Tattoo Expo, tickets and packages can be found at CentralValleyTattoo.com