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There are so many styles of tattoos possible. It may be one of the most versatile mediums behind digital art. You can make a tattoo look like a watercolor painting, a piece of metal, an open wound, or anything else one could come up with. But the greatness of the tattoo is limited by the technical skill and creativity of the tattoo artist. You need to make sure you choose a tattoo artist that is passionate about art and capable with their tools.
The best tattoo artists in the world charge much more money than the other tattoo artists. This does not mean you need to be rich in order to get a beautiful tattoo. This only means that getting a "collector`s piece" by a famous artist is expensive. There are great tattoo artists in local shops; and you just need to find them.
The easiest way to find a good tattoo artist near you is to ask people where they had their tattoos done. Make sure you look at the tattoo in detail to see how well executed it is. If the tattoo is a few years old, and still looks great, then that tattoo artist has done a good job.
Tattoo magazines are a good way to get familiar with tattoo styles and names of great tattoo artists, but make sure you find the right magazines. There are plenty of bad tattoo magazines, so you should try to stay away from the ones that market themselves to bikers or using naked women to sell the magazine. The magazine should be focusing only on tattoos and art, not subcultures or sex.
Be careful what you believe in magazines, though, as there are cases in which the tattoo artist will digitally manipulate the tattoo picture they send in to be published, and there is no way for the magazine to check that. In addition, most tattoo pictures are taken the day of the tattoo being applied, so you have no idea if certain colors stayed, or if it got too overworked, and scabbed up really badly the next day. That is why seeing a tattoo on someone that looks good and fully healed is the best way to go ahead.
Once you have chosen a few artists that you like, go into their shops and ask to see their portfolio. If they do not have one, thank them and leave. A real artist always keeps a record of their work. If the portfolio is not very well put together, that is also a bad sign. If the portfolio is good, and has close up pictures of excellent looking tattoos, ask yourself a few questions. Is that the look you want? Are you coming to an artist that would want to do this tattoo, or would they be bored with it and do a sub-par job?
The next step is to watch them do a tattoo on somebody else, even if just for a few minutes. If they are following all the cleanliness guidelines, you should feel very comfortable. Lastly, talk to the artist about what it is you want to get done. If they are a color expert, and you want a black tribal, they may turn you down. But if you feel like this artist was respectful and excited to do this tattoo for you, then it would seem like you have found a good match.
Tattoo StudioThis is very important, because a beautiful tattoo is not so great if it is infected and is ruined or you get a disease from poor cleanliness of a shop. A tattoo is pretty much a medical procedure, as it involves contact with blood, contaminated needles, and other medical waste. Every tattoo shop should be as clean and professional as a doctor`s office.
Some shops cater to a crowd that do not care about cleanliness, and the artists they employ fall under the same category. Some people that work in these shops are just tattooists, the people who can tattoo, but know nothing of art, and have very little creativity and drawing ability. These tattooists might not be the people you want tattooing you with a permanent piece of art. Certain slang in tattooing is really looked down upon, like calling a tattoo shop "parlour" or a tattoo machine a "gun." "Drilling" is not what a good shop does, and these terms are an indication of a shop you might like to stay away from it.
A shop should be more than just clean and have tattoo artists with talent. The whole atmosphere should be customer friendly and inviting. Too many shops use intimidation to move threw customers at a quick pace and make more money. Some ways they do this is by playing loud music or looking intimidating himself or herself. A good shop should have non-abrasive music on, should have clean and presentable artists, nothing offensive on the walls, and clearly stated rules in plain view. Most shops do not allow any children under 18 in their doors, and this is a good practice. Artists should be able to concentrate on their job, and should not having yelling kids or crying babies.
There should be a section devoted to the tattooing, apart from the "waiting room." This tattooing part should have a tile floor that can be sterilized when needed. There should be nothing allowed on the floors or counters, like purses or jackets as it is a contamination risk. There should be no food or smoking allowed in this part. A water bottle might be needed, but should not be exposed to the artists counter or setup. The waiting room should have the portfolios in plain view, business cards, and magazines to look through. It should be comfortable, because tattooing is not quick, and you might have to wait for a while. The bathroom should be incredibly clean also. Shops that have bathrooms in poor condition cannot be too concerned with the health of their customers.
The shop should have a receptionist or someone that can talk to you when you come in. They should be able to direct you to the portfolios, answer questions about their artists, make appointments, sell gift certificates, etc. If you are ignored when walking into a shop, take that as an indication of how they will treat you every other step of the way. Tattooing is a business, and customers need to be treated well.