How To: Finding a Tattoo Artist
Tattoos are for life, so selecting an artist is not a decision you should take lightly. Finding a tattoo artist can be really tricky. There is a number of different things you should look at. Take your time and choose an artist you feel comfortable with. Make sure you have confidence in their abilities before getting started.
Talk to people with tattoos
Speak to any friends or family members who have been inked. Or ask them to ask their friends and family too. Getting direct advice from people you know is a great place to start. If they had a good experience with a particular artist, then you have nothing to lose by contacting them for more information. Even if you don’t find a great tattoo artist this way, it’s still worth asking, as you might be made aware of negative experiences and artists to avoid.
Looking up an artist online can give you good insights into the past experiences of others. Look for an artist on Humans.net, check the portfolio. Follow the artist you are interested in on Instagram too, read the comments and reviews. Message people who have been already been inked by the artist and ask for their opinion.
When it comes to looking at online reviews, be wary of everything you read. Some recommendations on sites like Google+ pages are not always accurate and many are posted anonymously. These reviews may have left in a bid to counterbalance any negative comments or reviews.
Checking the portfolio
There are a few key things to look for when going through an artist’s portfolio or looking at images of their work. Check for strong and solid lines that are smooth and look as though they have been made in a single stroke.
Look at the color and shading of their work. Check for smooth and consistent color work. A tattoo artist with better skills or more experience should be able to demonstrate proper color gradients. If they can’t blend colors well, their skill level might be lacking in other areas too.
Finally, when looking through an artist’s work, think about how you are feeling. Does it make you feel excited about looking at their previous tattoos? Would you be happy to have a tattoo from their portfolio on your body? If you feel inspired and excited by their work, you will feel more comfortable having them tattoo you. The more confident you are in their ability, the better your experience will be with them. If you are happy with how their work looks when finished, then you are more likely to be happy with their work on you too.
There are multiple awards up for grabs every year for tattoo artists across the USA. Look for an artist that has won an award. This will not only reflect their skill but also their popularity, as most awards require votes from the public (previous clients). Award-winning and popular artists are more likely to be booked up and very busy. If you are hoping to have an award-winning artist ink you, be organized. Try to book in advance and be prepared to wait.
The hygiene standard of the artist and the studio they work in is an extremely important consideration. Poor hygiene while giving tattoos can result in infections, blood poisoning, and Hepatitis A. It is really not worth compromising on hygiene to guarantee your health and safety.
It is important that the artist wears gloves when they are working. The studio should be clean, with surfaces regularly wiped down after each client. Any plastic on chairs or beds should also be changed after each client too.
The artist’s bench, ink box, and seat should be clean and organized with plenty of new ink pots, paper towels, and ink. All needles, inks, and pots should be new for each client, with the needles coming for a sterile package. The new needle should be opened in front of you to confirm it is sterile.
If you are concerned about the hygiene of the artist or the studio that they are working in, get up and leave. Do not feel obliged to stay because you have made an appointment. It is the responsibility of the artist and studio to maintain optimal hygiene at all times.
There are various health, safety and hygiene courses available for tattoo artists to complete. If your artist of choice has hygiene certificates, this is a clear indication that they work hard to maintain their standards. Feel free to ask the studio or artist if they have any hygiene certifications.
Finally, consider the location of the studio that your chosen artist works in. Make sure that the studio you choose is in a reasonable distance from your home. Especially if you are planning to get a larger tattoo done that may take multiple sessions to complete.