With shows like Tattoo Nightmares, a growing number of tattoo seminars for artists on cover-ups, and my fiancé’s own horror stories from the shop (he just did a half sleeve cover up OVER an existing cover-up..it was that bad.. TWICE!), it’s becoming quite clear that people aren’t doing the homework before getting the artwork.
Whether it’s your 1st tattoo or your 61st tattoo, the most important decision you can make above all others is choosing the right artist for the job. Unfortunately when I discuss tattoos with others, their focus is on the cost. They want a discount, deal, or trade of some kind. Well I’m sorry my friend, you get what you pay for and as Norman Collins once said, “Good work ain’t cheap. Cheap work ain’t good.” It’s as true today as it was back then. I know it may seem enticing to take your buddy’s cousin (that tattoos from a van) up on his offer to do “some sick tats” on you for a cheap price, but lasering is pretty expensive and hepatitis doesn’t seem all that fun either. Let’s move on from this and focus on the quality over the cost.
Start with your local shops. Have you heard any reviews? Have you seen any work that stands out? See what you can find out online first. Make sure the shop and artist you’re researching are known for a safe and sterile environment and quality work. Swing by the shop in person and get a feel for the environment, how they treat you as a potential customer, and make sure what you found online matches what you’re seeing in person.. Looks can be very deceiving! Set up a consultation with the artist you’re interested in so you can discuss the piece of art that will be the best fit for you. Pay the deposit if there is one (drawing isn’t free!) and then set up an appointment. The rest is easy.. show up.. don’t pass out.. and tip well!
Let’s move on to Scenario Number 2… You live in a small town or you’re just looking for something different than what your local artists can offer. Do some research to see if there might be any tattoo conventions that happen in a nearby city or state. They typically post a list of the attending artists and shops, so you know exactly who will be there. If you find an artist on the list that does the work that you’re seeking, contact them immediately! Just send a quick email, Facebook message, or call the shop they work at and see if they have any available time at the convention. Once the appointment is set you can continue to communicate about what you’re looking for, so when the day arrives you’re not wasting each other’s time.
I know waiting for a convention to roll around seems inconvenient when you have that sudden urge to get a tattoo, but it’s honestly for the better! It gives you ample time to save, change your mind, and then change your mind again! I’ve had hundreds of tattoo ideas over the years.. hell, even the past month.. and I’m very happy that I’ve decided to wait until I have something completely mapped out before starting it. Patience is a virtue.. your mother said it all the time for a reason!
What did we learn today? RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH!