Anyone who takes their ink seriously knows how important it is to find the right tattoo parlour. Making the wrong choice can leave you with an ugly tattoo and potential scarring and infections. That’s why it’s essential to do your research when looking for a tattoo artist.
To help you find the right tattoo parlour, we have 5 tips to help direct your research.
- Choose a Professional Studio
Before doing anything, you should ensure the tattoo parlour is registered and licensed to provide tattooing services. Depending on what state you’re in, an individual artist may not need a licence, the business should be registered as a tattooing establishment.
A registered business will be more likely to adhere to the proper safety and sanitation procedures and have a qualified and experienced staff. Avoid backyard or home tattooists.
Another thing to look for is a welcoming environment. You’ll no doubt be excited about your new tattoo and your artist should share this enthusiasm. This speaks to their commitment and passion to their work.
A warm and friendly environment can also make the experience more comfortable for you. Feeling welcomed will make you relax, which in turn can make the tattoo process less painful for you and less difficult for your artist.
Finally, look at the art on the walls of the studio. A professional studio will be proud of their artists and display their works. Be wary of a studio that doesn’t have a lot of original work available. Their artists may not be as talented and competent as they suggest.
- Safety must be a priority
Tattoos are not without their risks. As the process involves injecting dye under your skin, you want to be sure you choose a studio that emphasises everyone’s health and safety.
For instance, if your artist were to use an unclean needle, you could potentially be infected with golden staph, tetanus, hepatitis B or C, or even HIV.
To minimise these risks, look for studios that follow these safety measures:
Disposable gloves are worn by artists and disposed of after each session
Needles are sterilised and kept in sealed containers when not in use
Surfaces, including tables, trays and chairs, are kept clean and sanitised
Ingredients in inks are disclosed
Be sure to let your tattoo artist know if you begin to feel unwell while in the chair. You may be having an allergic reaction to the ink or may just need a little break before continuing on. A professional artist will be accommodating of this request. They may even have suggestions on how to help you feel better.
- Know what you want
Once you have a sense of the studio, you can start thinking about the specifics of your tattoo.
You can’t pick the right tattoo artist and studio without knowing what it is that you want. It’s okay if you only have a general idea for your tattoo — a professional tattoo artist can work with you to create something truly special. Read What you Need to Know before your First Tattoo.
Your job right now is to think about what the trickiest part of your tattoo will be. For instance, it might be that you want a realistic picture of a family member or friend. Or perhaps you want a lot of colour mixing together. Knowing the trickiest part can help you narrow down an artist.
Some tattoo parlours and most artists will have their specific types of tattoos that they specialise in. If you’re looking for a particular style, you may want to take the time to find a parlour or artist with experience with that kind of design.
- Get to know the artists
With your tattoo idea a little clearer, you can start looking at the artists at the studio. It’s important that they are trained and skilled at their work. The best way to find this out is to look at their portfolios and any awards they may have won.
Many tattoo artists will have an easily accessible digital portfolio you can explore. Instagram and Facebook are also useful platforms for exploring an artist’s work. You can also check the studio’s or artist’s website.
These portfolios should showcase the artist’s best work. Think critically about what they offer and whether it suits your idea. You need to choose an artist whose style matches what you’re looking for. You wouldn’t choose an artist who specialises in tribal tattoos to do your watercolour tattoo.
They also need to be experienced enough to complete the work properly. While you may like an artist’s style, it may not be best to choose an artist who only does small pieces to complete a work intended to cover the entirety of your back.
- Look for reviews and word of mouth
Before committing to a tattoo studio, look for reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations. Check out online reviews and forums. Look for feedback on their social media pages. And always talk to any inked friends to see where they got their work done and what they’d recommend.
Ask about their general tattooing experiences and what they like to see in a studio. Their advice may further justify your decision or get you thinking about alternatives.
Getting a tattoo should be a rewarding experience and one that shouldn’t put you off the process. Finding the right studio is therefore key to getting exactly the tattoo you want without any nasty side effects.