Having tattooed for the last 25 years, I’ve seen my fair share of tattoos that have healed badly due to the client simply sleeping in their bed. Usually these tattoos have incurred most of the damage, infection and hard healing from when the client sleeps with their fresh, new tattoo with unseen dangerous elements lurking in their bed. Sleeping is definitely one of the greatest moments during a new tattoo collector’s day to do the most damage to their new artwork. When people sleep, they are for the most part completely unaware of pain or minor discomforts, allowing them to be completely unaware of their new tattoo sticking to sheets, seeping onto the sheets and exposing their skin to possible other irritations to the new tattoo. Some of the most common issues while sleeping with a new tattoo is simply sticking to bedsheets, but it’s what’s on those bedsheets that matters during the healing process.
Sleep has a profound effect on our mental, emotional and physical well being! Sleep is the time the body can undergo repair and detoxification, although it can also be a determining factor in healing up well or not so well. Poor sleep patterns are linked to poor health and slow healing. Those who sleep less than six hours a night have a shorter life expectancy than those who sleep longer and naturally tend to heal slower. Getting enough sleep can also help resist infection, as some studies of healthy young adults have shown that moderate amounts of sleep deprivation reduce the levels of white blood cells which form part of the body’s defense system, preventing the tattoo from healing quickly.
There are many dangers to a new tattoo that your bed presents nightly. On average, most people don’t wash their bed sheets and pillows often enough, providing the perfect environment for dead skin cells to breed, potential infection or cellulitis to begin in a fresh tattoo. Another aspect is that most people don’t consistently shower or wash their hair before they go to bed, possibly having sweat or having been exposed to multiple situations during the day. People also can have their pets or animals sleeping next to them every night which undoubtedly brings animal fur, dander and the often overlooked feces that are on animal paws from the ground or backyard in general, which is simply horrible news for a fresh tattoo. Animal fur and dander can cause cellulitis which in worse than just a mild infection. Dander is an informal term for a material shed from the body of humans and animals, similar to dandruff. It is composed of skin cells which can be a major cause of allergies and skin infections in humans. Cellulitis is a common skin infection that happens when bacteria spread through the skin to deeper tissues. It is caused by bacteria, most often strep or staph and a cellulitis infected area will be warm, red, swollen, and tender and usually needs extra attention and antibiotics to help the tattoo heal properly. Animal and human dander are typically the biggest problems with cellulitis or skin infections in fresh tattoos.
Some tips to help avoid an infection in your new tattoo while sleeping in your bed is to first be sure to wash your sheets before you get any new tattoo. Always wash your tattoo off before bed and immediately when you awake, this will help eliminate any infectious materials that you’ve collected on your skin throughout the day before resting for 6-8 hours. Covering your new tattoo with a breathable, non-stick wrapping right before you lay down is an excellent way to help prevent infection from the beginning, it not only protects your new tattoo from sticking to your clothing or bed sheets, it also creates a barrier between you and your bed and helps keep potentially dangerous elements in the bed off of the new tattoo while the pores in the new tattoo seal up and stop seeping plasma. Remember to always wash the tattoo off and allow it dry with no lotion, etc before wrapping it at night. Wearing a protective piece of loose, breathable clothing also helps create another barrier between your new tattoo and infectious bed elements. Be sure to sleep on the non-tattooed side of your body, A pillow works great to adjust and hold your body part in a position that’s comfortable. Try to keep the body part somewhat elevated above the heart to reduce pressure and swelling on the new tattoo. Always wake up, remove wrapping and wash immediately with anti-bacterial foam wash when you wake up.
The most crucial time for a tattoo to begin the healing process is within the first five days, these are the days when a new tattoo is at the highest risk for an infection from everyday situations. After the first few days of wrapping or being very clean and safe while sleeping with your new tattoo, you can go about your normal routine of antibacterial soap, bactine, non-scented lotions or ointments depending on how you normally heal your tattoos. I personally like to mist my new tattoo with Bactine, it helps the body to heal while it’s trying to do two things. One is to fight any oncoming infection, the second thing is to simply heal and repair the tissue. The Bactine simply reduces your bodies need to dedicate white blood cells to fight infection and allows it to focus more on actually healing. Remember, the first days of how you take care of your new tattoo will determine the healing process and ultimately it’s final look!
By Joey Knuckles
Tattooing is all about progression. We learn from our mistakes and we grow every day; we should all approach it with humility and respect for our fellow artists. True tattooers want to continue to grow, and to become the best tattooers, artists, and people that they can be. To do this we must get rid of the negativity. I can tell you from my own personal experiences over the past couple of years that there are already enough things to bring you down.
A little advice: about two years ago, I stopped listening to news/media/political arguments. I also fought off some personal demons, such as drinking, anger, and depression. Not only have my anxiety and stress levels dropped drastically, but also my thought process has been liberated and I’ve been able to focus on what truly matters. Separating yourself from all the negativity and drama in your life, and surrounding yourself with people who support you is so important. The people in my life, including my wife Tori, my ever loyal Philadelphia clientele, my continuously growing Columbus clientele, and my brothers everywhere, are what keep me going and continuing to progress and to further my understanding of the past, present, and future of this craft. I can wake up in the morning, work on some sketches, and just be happy and honored to be part of the tattoo community.
We are the few and the lucky to be “true tattoo artists.” We must understand that we are all folk artists responsible for handing this craft over to the next generation with integrity and intelligence. If we ever want to progress as individuals and as artists, we have to understand fully what builds a true “traditional tattoo.” Not that everyone has to work in a “traditional style,” but everyone should understand and be able to accomplish the fundamental tattooing techniques. We must understand the tools involved in this trade, and resist relying on shortcuts such as tracing other artists’ work, Google images, and using programs like Photoshop to create graphic images that are unrealistic in the tattoo world (never mind Photoshopping tattoo pictures to create colors and vibrancy that do not exist in nature). As the saying goes, “Don’t confuse the menu with the meal.” People in the beginnings of their careers in this industry are learning these days with rotaries right from the start, without taking the necessary 5 to 10 years needed to master working with coil machines, among other aspects of tattooing. It seems everyone is rushing into fame without absorbing the knowledge required to become a “tattoo master.” So let’s take this note from one of our forefathers in tattooing, which has been a personal motto of mine, so that maybe we can all treat each other, and our craft, a little better: “I ‘Joey Knuckles’ am in the business of rendering a service to this community for the small group who choose to have their bodies decorated in some way or another…I choose to pursue my profession with intelligence and skill, wishing not to offend anyone, but instead with my love for mankind do what good I can do before I die…” —Pledge by Stoney St. Clair.
Joey Knuckles has been tattooing since 2003. Beginning his career in Columbus, Ohio most notably at High Street Tattoo, where he honed his tattoo skills in a fast-paced environment under his mentor Giovani. He then moved to Philadelphia in 2008, working in legendary shops like Philadelphia Eddies, Olde City Tattoo, Art Machine Productions, and Black Vulture Gallery, over the past five years. He has now returned to Columbus full-time, after inheriting High Street tattoo from his good friend, mentor, and High Street Tattoo founder Giovani. Joey prides himself on being a well-rounded tattoo artist specializing in anything ranging from cover-ups, custom lettering, floral work, to large-scale illustrative designs.
By Kevin Miller
Earlier this week, Durb Morrison announced on Instagram that RedTree Tattoo Gallery would be opening a second location in Phoenix, Arizona. In the same announcement, Durb officially stated he would be relocating to Phoenix. This is obviously a huge announcement, as Durb is a leader in the Ohio tattoo scene and the tattoo industry as a whole.
To find out more about this news, we caught up with Durb Morrison and asked him a couple questions.
Tattoo Snob: Let’s start off with the basics Where is original location of Red Tree Tattoo, and when did it open?
Durb Morrison: The RedTree Tattoo Gallery opened in 2012 at in Italian Village connected to the Short North Arts District at 1002 N. 4th St. in Columbus, Ohio
TS: The shop is a little different than your average tattoo shop, can you tell us a little about that and why you chose to have it that way?
Tattoos by Richard Cook
By Gunnar Gaylord
Last year I had the good fortune of attending two amazingly inspirational conventions, that put me on the path to a brand new year in art. I had blogged on both events at the time, those being Paradise Gathering in Massachusetts and Hell City Phoenix. And I have to say the fact that it was in Phoenix, may have a more profoundly symbolic meaning, then it was meant to. However, from these events was born a new passion in art, one that I hadn’t had in years… (more…)
By Gunnar Gaylord
I recently posted a short list of rules on Instagram that I found to be helpful with my art. I received a lot of positive feedback and it seemed like something that people wanted to hear… Maybe even needed to hear. I know personally that after 15-plus years making a living with art, I have had major lulls in creativity, growth and confidence… (more…)
By Gunnar Gaylord
I decided to write a blog a bit different from the earlier ones. I thought maybe I would touch on a topic that may help aspiring tattoo artists. I am often asked in interviews and by individuals, how I created a unique style. So here is a concise breakdown.
As a disclaimer I will inform you that the information I am going to share is based not on what may be deemed “correct,” it is however the way in which I formed my style. I hasten to say that at times I fall short on artistic academic knowledge. However, as an artist, I know that the style I created is unique and hence feel that this is something I have the knowledge to discuss…
By Gunnar Gaylord
There’s a line that goes, “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.” I think at some point whether it’s due to a broken relationship, a lost loved-one or something as small as losing a pair of sunglasses it’s a relevant statement. But I recently realized that sometimes you don’t don’t know what you had ’til you open your eyes and mind and discover it…