Unsurprisingly it can be really difficult choosing the right artist for you tattoo, it can be made even worse if the tattooist you want is already fully booked!
Whether you’re completely sober or completely blind drunk (yes it does happen) when you get a tattoo, there are a number of things to really take into account before actually getting inked.
This ink is going to be on your body for the rest of your life unless you decide that you would like it removed later on down the line, which will cost A LOT more than it did to have it done in the first place.
Ok, here are some tips to point you in the right direction:
1. Make sure the shop is clean
If the shop isn’t clean … get out. Hygiene is the most important part of getting a tattoo, even if you’re really pleased with your new tattoo, you don’t want a nasty infection to come free with it!
Tattooists operating out of kitchens, bathrooms and basements should be avoided!
Check out this Wikipedia link to find out about tattoo health risks.
2. Examine their previous work
If the artists portfolio isn’t up to scratch try researching online or ask around to see if anyone you know has had a tattoo by them recently. Tattoo artists are extremely busy, they may have improved a lot and just not had the time to update their portfolio. Nearly all tattooists will have an instagram or facebook page now with their most recent pieces so do a search on there and see if you can find them.
Of course if you look at the work of an artist and it looks particularly bad then it would be in your best interest to stay away and look somewhere else.
3. Does their style suit what you want?
Is there a specific style that you have in mind? Most artists specialize in a specific style so make sure that the artist you are considering is the right one for you. If you really like the look of traditional old school tattoos and that’s what you want, make sure the artist you choose if also comfortable and good at that style.
If the artist doesn’t think that they are the right artsit for you then they will probably say and point you in the direction of someone who is. This is something you could research a lot yourself, with access to the internet, social media etc. just quickly search for the style that you like and your city and lots of artist will show up. Or if you don’t mind travelling just search for “the best (portrait, black and gray, old school etc.) artist“.
Different artists specialize in specific art styles depending on their preference or skills.
There are artists out there that are general good all rounders, you can spot these from looking at their portfolios. Discuss your ideas with them and see what they come up with, you’ll get a feeling almost straight away to whether or not they are the right choice for you.
Usually an artist that specializes in a specific type of tattoo style (new school, old school, pin up tattoos, realism etc.) will charge more due to the fact that they are highly skilled in that target area. This is a case of you get what you pay for.
4. Do your research
You don’t have to be the worlds best detective these days to be able to find out a whole lot of information about a business. Just search for the artist on the internet or the shop they operate out of and check out their reviews. What are people saying about them? Are they saying anything?
With social media and sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google + it’s easier than ever to take a look at an artists portfolio and also see what their customers have to say about them.
5. Don’t try to find the cheapest artsit
Seriously DON’T try and find the cheapest!
Ever heard of the phrase “cheap and nasty“? This saying almost always applies when tattoos are involved. Expect to pay a premium price for a premium piece of art.
Sure you might not have the cash right now, so save up and wait. It really will be worth it in the end!
Tattoos range in price massively from local tattoo artists charging less than $100 per hour to well know artists charging $1000s. You are paying for their experience and skill, they haven’t achieved the skill and reputation overnight, they’ve worked extremely hard which is why they deserve to charge more. For most highly skilled tattoo artsits you’ll need to book far in advance, this could mean months maybe even years because they are in such high demand and they truly are at the top of their game.
If you NEED a tattoo right now then make sure you make an informed decision and choose a safe tattoo artist in your price range.
In the meantime check out these very insightful pictures.