A tattoo will be on your body forever, and
it is a commitment that you should not enter into lightly.
Many people walk into a tattoo studio with no idea of what they want. And we as artists sometimes take for granted that the general public is not educated on the procedures, practices, policies, or most importantly, the ethics of professional tattooing. This article was developed to assist you, the customer, in making educated decisions when it comes to finding a studio and artist that will fit your needs.
The first thing you must decide on is
what you want and where to put it on your body. It is ultimately your decision. Remember, this is something that will be on you forever! Great thought and consideration should be put into making this decision. Most tattoo studios have flash on the walls as well as portfolios and magazines to assist you in getting ideas for your own tattoo.
The references provided should not be taken and reproduced. There is nothing wrong with choosing a simple design, however, it can still be made into an original piece of artwork! The purpose of getting a tattoo should be to express your individuality. To duplicate the artwork of another person should not even be considered.
Artists should be able to assist you in getting you ideas on paper from any form of visual reference. The key here is to have an idea of what you want and be able to express it to your artist.
The next step after deciding on exactly what you want is to decide who will do it! Not every artist is suited to fit your needs. A professional artist should have an extensive portfolio of their artwork. Check them out! Take note as to what kind of work each particular artist seems to "specialize" in. Is this the type of work you are looking for? There are many different styles an experienced artist is capable of, however every artist has a certain style or technique that separates him/her from other artists of this medium.
Listen to what the artist is saying to you. Do they seem to be knowledgeable? Do they make you feel comfortable? Are they willing to take the time to sit down with you and create an individual and unique piece of art, no matter how large or small it may be? Or are they just willing to take a design directly off the wall and put it on you the exact same way hundreds of other people have it done?
You should never compromise your choice of artwork because of price! A tattoo will be on you forever! It's a small price to pay when you consider that you'll be looking at this piece of art for the rest of your life! It is much more important to be assured of getting quality artwork in a sterile environment rather than getting a "deal" on the price and regretting your decision later.
STERILIZATION - EVERY artist should have an extensive knowledge of proper sterilization techniques! Aside from being capable of delivering quality artwork, your personal safety as well as that of the artist should be addressed immediately!
Check out the studio thoroughly. If the autoclave is not in plain view, ask to see it. Every studio should have one. (Autoclaving is their process that pressurizes the instruments & kills any viruses or bacteria that might be passed on.) Do the artists use single use or disposable needs? Are the floors and tables clean? How do they disinfect the work area (tables, floors, chairs, etc.) after each client? ASK QUESTIONS! You have the right to know!
Please note that there is a difference between single use and disposable needles. Single use needles are a higher quality needle than a disposable. This is not to say that all disposable needles are poor quality, just that single use needles are higher quality needles. The difference is probably reflected in the pricing of your artwork. Professional tattoo supplies and equipment are expensive, thus the pricing of artwork should be fair and consistent according to the quality of the equipment and the experience of the artist.
You cannot put a price on quality; especially when it is something you will be living with for the rest of your life!