Youngstown Tattoo Classic expo revived in Valley after a decade

Local News

A tattoo convention that has been gone for a decade made its return to the Valley this weekend.

Youngstown Tattoo Classic is bringing artists from out of state to the Metroplex in Liberty. 

Tattooing was not always an accepted artform in the Valley. Debbie Lenz, a tattooing pioneer in the Valley, has been drawing on people for almost four decades. 

She says her husband started the first tattoo shop in Youngstown, sketching the way for expos like the Youngstown Tattoo Classic.

“I think they should continue having it. It looks like it’s doing well,” Lenz says.

The expo shut down 10 years ago and tattoo artist Hope Sweany brought the expo back to life this year.

“I just decided like someone has to do it, so it might as well be me,” Sweany says.

Over 80 tattoo artists attended the expo, some all the way from Tennessee and West Virginia.

“It’s showing that we can all work together and just ensure that everyone’s getting the best tattoo possible,” Sweany says.

“It’s just so much nicer being able to have it in our hometown,” tattoo artist Josh Trolio said.

Boardman native Trolio is an artist at Bulldog Custom Tattooing.

One year ago, Trolio was a photographer. He says putting down his camera lens and picking up a tattoo gun did not put a lot of financial pressure on his family.

“I get a lot of people that I’ve photographed that are messaging me and wanting to become tattoo clients now,” he says.

Trolio says Youngstown Tattoo Classic helps push his career forward.

“Trying to do your best to enter some things in a competition and trying to get some feedback and come back at it again the next day,” Trolio says.

Youngstown Tattoo Classic started on Friday and continues through Sunday.

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