How Do I Pick a Tattoo Artist?
Never pick a tattoo artist by: a close location to where you live, cheap prices, the nice ad he put in the paper, or just because he’s a good friend of your sister…
There are loads of great tattoo artists around the globe, as well as a bigger number of amateur tattoo artists.
The two main criteria you should consider as far as you’re concerned are: professionalism and sterility.
If you’re not experienced in getting tattooed, you’ll have a hard time evaluating the tattoo artist in front of you all by yourselves. So, the best way would be, simply learning from the experience of others. Do not randomly walk into the first studio you run into. You’re not getting a can-o-coke. You’re going to perform a procedure on your body that is simple enough, medically, but a procedure that must be performed well, and an amateur tattoo artist might jeopardize your health. Apart from that, a tattoo is for life. If you discover after doing the deed, that the tattoo artist you chose wasn’t professional enough, and the result hasn’t satisfied you – you’re in trouble. So, the best way for you is simply asking friends that are proud owners of tattoos, and get a specific recommendation of their tattoo artist. Don’t settle for the name of the studio, because in many studios there are a number of tattoo artists, each one with his level of professionalism and sterility, find the specific tattoo artist you were sent to and only go to him.
Check the level of sterility
Luckily for us, a tattoo artist that isn’t working in sterile conditions is a rare sight in the 21’st century. Today, more than ever, maintaining a sterility level of 100% is a cheap and easy task. Taking out third world countries, you’ll almost never find a tattoo artist using a used needle or working with no gloves.
None the less, don’t be ashamed to ask the tattoo artist to show you how he works. Don’t be contented by a piece of paper hanging on the wall reading: “Health Department license”. Anyone can get (or fake) one. You want to see with your own eyes!
A professional tattoo artist would keep an “autoclave” machine in the studio. An autoclave is a machine that looks like an oven, generates hot temperatures (about 130C degrees), and steam. In such a machine, we sterilize the none-disposable tools, to make sure there are no living organisms on them.
The needles, the cups into which the ink is poured, ant the razors which are used for shaving – should be disposable.
The needle and the tube (which the needle goes through) must come from sterile, hermetically sealed casings. On the casing, there is an indicator saying it’s been sterilized.
The tattoo artist must work with disposable gloves, and mustn’t touch any object not covered in nylon or a special paper during the tattoo process, except of the tattooing devices.
Check the level of professionalism
Many tattoo artists proudly hang photographs of their works on the studio walls.
If your tattoo artist doesn’t have such photographs on the walls – ask for a portfolio (I don’t believe anyone would stoop so low as to show you someone else’s works…).
Look though the album and find a tattoo in a similar style to the one you want to do, and check their level of professionalism. Most good tattoo artists will be able to perform any tattoo in high quality, but each tattoo artist has a certain style he masters. And so for example, a tattoo artist that professionalizes in technical tattoos such as tribals or precise decorations – won’t necessarily succeed in doing an artistic tattoo such as a portrait perfectly. In spite of the fact that there are excellent tattoo artists that do not have drawing talents, if you’re planning an original tattoo, expecting the tattoo artist to draw it for you, it is very important to check his drawing ability. Needless to say, there are tattoo artists with a great talent for copying, so even if they do not have drawing talents, they will succeed in performing the tattoo perfectly, as long as they have a drawing of it in front of them.
Talk with the tattoo artist
It’s very important to have a good communication with the tattoo artist. You’d want a nice, patient tattoo artist, and not a nervous and impatient one. You’re just gonna have much more fun getting tattooed by him, especially if you’re a bit nervous or a bit scared…
Do not forget
You’re not buying a T-shirt, in which case if you find out after buying it that it’s of low quality – you can throw it to the garbage and get a new one. This is your body we’re talking about here. Removing a tattoo is not an easy task, and fixing a tattoo will not always be possible. So even if it means waiting a little while longer, saving a bit more money, or traveling a bit further – it pays in the end. Money comes and goes; the tattoo stays for ever! The cheaper people end up paying more. Check well and do not compromise!!