So, you are about due to get a fancy new tattoo… What are your next steps and how do you choose where to go or who to get tattooed by? Well let us help you out with a bit of info to steer you clear of kitchen wizards, basement scratchers and even the “legit shop” who’s work may be subpar, but for some reason or another people keep going there for work they may forever be regretting.
The number one most important thing to do is research. Keep in mind this is a permanent addition to your body that you have to look at and bare to all the world for their judgement whether you like their judgement or not. Now, in this day and age the internet is ‘king’ when it comes to research and it truly is a very helpful and useful tool that should not be overlooked. I’ve used it for everything from diagnosing why my rusty tahoe is still rusting to figuring out math problems my 5th grade daughter has to learn…… I never have been all that great at math; it turns out. Nonetheless, the internet also has its restrictions. You don’t get the genuine face to face contact with the internet. I know we are in a new age and that almost everything can be done either via email, instant messenger, facetime, snapchat or any other variations of social media, but… This will be a place where you may spend hours at a time and form a relationship with. A bond so to speak. A potential loyalty for lack of a better term. Which leads me to tell you my next recommendation.
Go to the studio in person. We all lead busy lives and have things to do. I get it and I hear you loud and clear. However, this is an important commitment you’re signing up for. You are paying someone your hard earned money to leave ink in your skin for as long as you walk this earth. Nothing will ever replace the experience of you walking into every shop in your area and feeling that first impression. Is the place clean? Is the place thought out and appealing to be in? Is the place inviting and comforting? Long gone (For the most part) are the days of dingy dark and underground tattoo parlors. Today’s standards have risen incredibly as they should be. Just walk into a place and ask yourself two questions. Is this place clean and is this place somewhere I could sit for a few hours if need be? If either answer is a maybe or no, walk out. Go to every shop in your area and ask yourself those questions.
So you’ve gone to every shop and asked yourself those two questions. Now what? Now the real work for you begins. Look at portfolios. Look at Instagram accounts. Look at Facebook accounts. Both the studio’s and the artist’s accounts should be reviewed. Look at the work leaving the shop. If a shop’s social media page is only promoting one artist (Typically the owner) ask yourself why is that? Why wouldn’t the shop want to promote their entire crew? Why would only one artist in a shop that has several artists only push one person out to the public? Without trying to sound offensive, it is usually for two reasons. The person being promoted is either a glory hound and seeking approval or the person is driven to do so because of monetary benefits…. That’s fancy talk for “They are money hungry”. Just think about it is all I ask.
I once took a mentoring program to continue my education in this field. During this mentorship I learned that we as artists need to be ambassadors for good art and educate our clients and potential clients on what “good art” is. Well, this is my attempt at just that. Look at the artist’s line work…… You all know what a good clean black line looks like on a piece of paper and that really shouldn’t change because of what the line is on; be it a piece of paper or a piece of skin. If the line work isn’t clean then be honest with yourself and acknowledge it isn’t what you want. Now not every tattoo has line work and as the future progresses you may keep finding less and less lines in tattoos. So if that is the case, look at the shading or color blends. Are they smooth and clean? Are they patchy and uneven? If they are turn around and walk out.
Now you’ve visited the shops in person, you’ve looked at portfolios and social media accounts. The next obvious step would be to talk or consult with the artist you have chosen. Sometimes a good artist can also be not so good of a person. If you and an artist have a personality conflict it can make your tattoo experience miserable. Bounce ideas off each other and get a feel for what your experience will be like. As a tattooer, I know that a client is buying a piece of forever artwork, but just as important to most clients is the experience and the process of getting tattooed. We not only sell tattoos, we sell memories as well. I feel that if you do the research and hard work to choose an artist and shop you will get your monies worth. It will also help you be patient and give you time to think about what you want and which artist is going to best suit the style you’re trying to achieve. You will be more comfortable letting the artist put themselves into the tattoo so you walk away with a true one off custom piece.
In conclusion, be patient and put in your work. It will be time well spent and you won’t be looking for another artist willing to cover up a mistake that was made out of haste. Hope that makes sense!
Thanks for taking the time to read my little blog on this very important topic!