Friday, July 16, 2010

How do you choose a Tattoo Artist/Studio? Part 2

(Excerpts and info from "Tattoo Sourcebook", by the editors at

This is a continuation of the June 18 blog on the things you should consider in choosing who tattoos you. Here's a recap of #'s 1-5:

1 - Word of Mouth
2 - Look Closely at Portfolios
3 - Some Artists only work in certain Styles
4 - Cleanliness is next to Godliness
5 - Your Health is a Primary Concern

Let's move on and talk about the next 5 tips.

- Be Comfortable in the Hands of your Tattoo Artists - This is your tattoo experience. Needles alone are uncomfortable, so being tattooed by an artist you are not comfortable with is only added stress. You are going to be spending a lot of time together. As with a hairstylist, doctor, or therapist, the tattoo artist is connecting with you in an intimate way. Your tattoo experience is a memory that will last forever, so invest in the time and energy to make it a good one. As Guy Aitchison explains, "The personal connection must be there. There is an 'invisible part of the tattoo' and that is the relationship between the tattooed and the tattooist. You don't want bad tattoo mojo."

- Understand what your Tattoo Artist guarantees - Some shops guarantee their work for life. Some shops will guarantee their work for a certain period of time, such as six months or one year. Some shops abide by a "one pass, first-class policy," meaning if there is a problem with the tattoo, they believe it is due to incorrect healing by the tattoo recipient, and they will therefore charge for a touch-up. Regardless, you should know the policy ahead of time.

- Apprenticeships and Training - Tattooing is a trade - a craft consisting of specific knowledge and skills. Like most trades, tattooing is generally learned through an apprenticeship; one tattooist (the master) teaching a student the craft. Some "tattoo schools" exist today, but there is definite resistance to these from within the industry. Generally, a reputable tattooist has gone through some type of apprenticeship. Talk to your tattoo artist about their training experience, including education on health precautions and practices.

- Make sure you and your Tattoo Artist share the same Vision - Avoid tattoo artists who are less focused on your vision and more on their own. If you compromise on this point, you may leave with a tattoo that the tattoo artist wanted to create, but not the one you want to wear forever.

- Communicate Special Needs and Considerations - If you want to cover a scar, if your complexion is darker, or if you have a condition that might affect how well the ink takes to the skin or how well you heal, you need to include these factors when deciding on who tattoos you. Make sure you are working with a tattooist who has experience in dealing with these conditions or circumstances. Ask for evidence that they know what they are taking about through photos, stories or both.

So when you are thinking about getting a tattoo, take these tips into consideration to make sure you have the best experience possible! Have fun!

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