Tattoo Expo Promoters Fined for Allowing Unlicensed Tattoo Artists at Event

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The Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) Food Safety Branch has issued a $120,000 administrative penalty to the Honolulu Tattoo Expo for aiding and abetting a dozen unlicensed tattoo artists to practice the occupation of tattooing at a public event last month at the Hawai‘i Convention Center.

Between Jan. 24-25, health department agents observed 12 individuals without a valid Hawai‘i State tattoo license practicing the occupation of tattooing at the Honolulu Tattoo Expo. As a result, expo promoters Erin N. Carillo and Thomas H. Hernandez were fined.

“The complete disregard for public health rules placed the public at undue risk of contracting a blood-borne disease. They placed profits above public health. We hope this maximum fine sends a strong message to tattoo expo operators that only those persons with a valid Hawai‘i State tattoo artist license may practice the occupation of tattooing in Hawai‘i,” said Peter Oshiro, Food Safety Branch program manager.

Carillo and Hernandez violated Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, which require any person that practices the art of tattooing to have a valid Hawai‘i State tattoo license to protect the public from blood-borne diseases.


“All licensed tattoo artists in Hawai‘i must show proof to the health department that they have attended and passed an OSHA-approved blood-borne pathogen transmission prevention class to receive a Hawai‘i State tattoo artist license,” the statute indicates.

The requirement ensures tattoo artists have received formal course work in required aseptic techniques and practices to prevent the transmission of blood-borne diseases to their customers or themselves when tattooing. Blood-borne diseases include HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, tetanus, and other infections which may become life threatening.

The health department has issued the maximum fine due to the expo operators’ open disregard for Hawai‘i laws designed to protect public health.


The Honolulu Tattoo Expo is not affiliated in any way with the Pacific Ink and Art Expo (PIAE).

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