We have discussed this topic before . . . however, the stories of bad tattoo experiences still come in. So, here are some things to look for before committing to an artist or his/her place of business.
Getting the tattoo you want is really a test of time . . .
Many tattoo enthusiasts spend months thinking about the concept of their tattoo, discussing options with different artists and friends, finally selecting an artist and providing the artist with time to sketch out a unique piece for each and every customer. And then of course, the process of actually getting the tattoo, likely in multiple sessions. All of it TIME well spent!
Avoid being another statistic and another story of “Tattoos Gone Wrong” by carefully evaluating the place and artist you wish to do the work for you.
The Tattoo Artist Offers Samples of His Past Work
Selecting a tattoo studio where the artist cannot produce samples of his past work is obviously a bad choice. An album of the work the artist has done on living skin should be provided. A true tattoo artist will proudly stock photos of his previous work on the walls of his studio and have an online portfolio. This should be more than enough for you to gauge how competent the artist thinks he is. This is one of the first things you should look for in a tattoo studio.
Tip: Great portfolios don’t always equal great results. Ask questions about the art, how long did it take, what percentage of customers come back, what percentage of customers refer others. There are artists out there who have great portfolios but provide a less than desirable overall experience. (( *check out this article on HOW TO EXAMINE PORTFOLIOS ))
The Studio Owns an Autoclave Unit
An autoclave is a device used by doctors for sterilizing medical equipment. It is basically an electrical unit that resembles the features of a pressure cooker. In reputed tattoo studios, the standard operating procedure for sterilizing the equipment is putting it in the autoclave for 30 minutes at 246 degrees. ASK TO SEE their recent autoclave test, which should be done on a monthly basis!
A studio that owns an autoclave is a studio with an artist that takes his work seriously. A studio without one, (unless they use ALL disposables) is putting people at risk and violating health laws.
Tip: The unit itself should be clean, it should not look like a dirty break room microwave.
The Tattoo Artist Uses Disposables
This is another thing you should keep a keen eye out for. Nothing that a tattoo artist uses in making a tattoo should be put back in the container. This includes the ink, the ointment, and even water. The reason for this is that all of these items come into contact with your blood. The consequences of reusing ANYTHING which isn’t sterilized is hazardous. A reputed salon will never practice such irresponsibility. Many studios are moving to an ALL-DISPOSABLE policy, meaning that everything they use is made for one-time use.
The Needles Are Disposed In a Sharps Container
Even if they use all disposables, tattoo needles can’t just be put in the garbage can. For those of you who don’t know what that is, a plastic container that’s usually marked with a red biohazard symbol is known as a sharps container. This is where all the hazardous waste is disposed off, like needles and other things that get contaminated and cannot be sterilized through an auto clave. Cleanliness in this aspect is quite important.
Hint: Use common sense. Look around at the artists who are tattooing. Are they wearing gloves, masks, are machines and cords wrapped in plastic? Can you see the bioharzard containers, can you see the AutoClave unit?
The Studio Is Kept Well Lit and Clean
While many studios go for a Goth look, complete with loud music and black lights, this in no way implies that a studio is dirty. However, the overall decorative look of a studio doesn’t mean it’s clean either. Look closely at the actual stations, talk to other customers and check out online reviews before you commit to a particular studio or artist.
Watch out for the above aspects before trusting a tattoo studio with your skin; your decisiveness in this decision will determine how well your first experience goes.
*Check out TAM’s exclusive VIDEO interviews with today’s TOP Tattoo Artists http://gettam.com/collections/tam-videos[divider]