We would like to offer some advice to some of you out there who may be thinking about getting your first, or your next, tattoo. There a few things you need to know and think about.
First, check out shops. Go in, see if you feel comfortable. Look around, does it look clean and safe? Then, check out portfolios and meet some of the artists, see who you can connect with to work out that great piece of artwork. Their portfolios will give you a good idea of what kind of work they like to do, and how good they are at doing it. We do custom work all the time, so you can either choose from the "flash" designs already on the wall, or we can design something one-of-a-kind, just for you. Be careful in your decision, it will affect you for the rest of your life!
It's important to know only 1 in 10 shops, it seems, is worth going to these days. There's a lot of shops out there with a lot of "artists" who really don't care what your tattoo looks like, or how much scarring you get from them hacking some terrible outline on you, then overcharging you for it. In an area of 20-30 shops, there are probably only 2-3 shops that actually have artists who love their job and love to tattoo quality, original art, on quality, original people. And we like to consider ourselves one of those few. We've had some real talented artists come through these doors over the past 23 years, but I wouldn't trade anybody for the artists I have here now. These guys do some fine work and you can tell they love what they do, but there's a lot of greedy inexperienced shops out there we call "production" shops. These types of shops don't seem to care. They just want to get you in, get a quick buck and get you out. Believe me, you don't want anyone to try to be quick when it comes to your tattoo. So take your time and focus on the art form and not the dollars. I always appreciated that old saying, "the bitterness of a bad tattoo will linger long after the sweetness of a cheap price is forgotten". It's really true. Just take your time and do what feels right.
Other than that, be good to your skin. Don't come in sunburned, drunk, or looking for what you can get for forty bucks. Think about what you want and make sure that's what you get. It's about you and what you want, not what the artist wants - they don't have to wear it, you do, forever. Take the artist's advice, but don't be bullied into something you don't want or aren't sure about.
I hope this helps and I appreciate those of you who took the time to read this.
Thanks, Steve Huntsberry - owner/artist