The most important decision of any new tattoo is choosing the proper tattoo studio. There are probably several tattoo shops within driving distance of your home. So how do you decide which tattoo studio is the right tattoo studio?
Tattoo artists don’t go to school for training, they are apprenticed. Anyone can make a flashy certificate or buy a trophy for the front window. Unlike your family physician or your lawyer you can’t just look at a wall of certificates and determine a tattoo artist ability.
What To Look For In A Tattoo Artist
Artists are a dime a dozen, and tattoo artists are no different. The best way to find an artist is by asking people who have tattoos that you like. Most everyone with a good tattoo is more then happy to recommend their favorite artist.
When looking into a tattoo artist be sure to see his “books”. All decent tattoo artists will have one, if not several, books full of photos of his previous tattoo work. These books should be filled with photos of real tattoos, not pages of illustrations on paper. Be sure to see photos of both fresh and healed tattoos. Tattoos can change quite a bit during the healing process if done improperly.
What To Look For In A Tattoo Studio
Not only do you need to find a good tattoo artist, you must select a studio that meets basic tattooing standards. If any of the following are not present in the tattoo studio you have selected, immediately run out the door.
First and foremost the shop should be clean. All work surfaces should be free of dust. Counters and supplies should be neatly organized and uncluttered. Floors should appear to be cleaned daily. There should also be a working sink in both the bathroom and the tattooing workspace.
You must make sure the shop uses hospital grade sterilization procedures. Ask to see the autoclave, a sterilization device used to prepare needles for piercing or tattooing. All needles should be one use and be sure that you watch the tattooist remove the needles from sterilized bags in front of you. Cups for ink should also be new and one use only.
If the artist doesn’t wear gloves, and change them any time they touch an unsterilized surface you need to get out of the tattoo shop immediately. Any tattoo artist that doesn’t use or change his gloves obviously does not care about the health of his customers. You can risk contracting anything from AIDS to a flesh eating staph bacteria if improper sterilization procedures are used.
I Found A Tattoo Studio I Like, But It’s Expensive
When you select a tattoo studio you are not only paying for the talent of the tattoo artist but everything that goes into running a clean and reliable tattoo shop. There is building overhead, cleaning products, needle disposal, bookkeeping, and a ton of other expenses that must be covered in order to run the business properly.
Remember… good tattoos aren’t cheap, and cheap tattoos aren’t good.