Unlicensed Tattooing: Bustin’ Myths

imageYesterday, This is Leicester put up an article on their site which warns “youngsters” about unsafe tattooing in the local area.  Of course, I will sing the website’s praises for publishing a story like this, as everything published which promotes safe tattooing is a great step in the right direction! However, there are two things I don’t agree with so much: the first is the fact they’re warning “youngsters”, instead of everyone. This is happening to those of all ages. Secondly, this isn’t something specific to Leicester, I’m afraid. Due to that, I thought I’d like to remind you all about safe and hygienic tattooing, through some of the myths I genuinely hear in defence of such a piss take of a beautiful art form. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section! These answers are more Spark Notes versions, you’re welcome to ask me to elaborate on anything (I just know no one likes to read lots of crap on a tiny screen!).

Myth: My mate may not be in a studio, but he’s still safe! He has an autoclave and a proper machine!

This does not mean the person about to butcher you up is safe, I’m afraid! Admittedly, there are some few people who do tattoo at home legally, and have regular inspections and a licence, but most don’t. Many also seem to think that an autoclave is enough. This brain- deprived “tattooist” can try to impress you all they like with their shiny autoclave, but what about the rest? What about gloves, sharps bins, general cleanliness? You can never know unless you go to somewhere inspected. Oh, and that “proper machine”? It was probably made on the cheap by someone who doesn’t know a thing about machines and sold on eBay.

Myth: All the tattoo artists are just trying to keep people out of the industry, and think they’re great.

Well this is just ridiculous! Most of the artists I know love to be able to befriend and rely on other studios when they need it, why would they want less of that? Apprenticeships aren’t for the “lucky few”, they’re for those who worked hard to years to get their foot in the door. They want to protect their art, not see it ruined by idiots with eBay kits. No one wants to make enemies, and to be honest I think a statement like that says more about the person saying it than anyone else!

Myth: Tattoo Studios charge too much, so going to a “scratcher” stops greedy studio owners.

This isn’t only untrue, it’s just cheap and trashy! If you were to take a look at the amount of things studios and artists actually pay for, you’ll see that actually they aren’t being greedy at all. The price of your tattoo also covers the equipment they need, as well as things such as electricity, heating and the bed or chair you’ll be sat on. Of course, their insurance will also usually cover you while you’re being tattooed, so what’s wrong with paying for that? Furthermore, if you ask for a custom tattoo which costs £70 for an hour’s work, and your artist spends an hour drawing it first instead of tattooing people, they’ve actually already invested that £70 into your tattoo! Studios pay for a lot more than just this, trust me!

Myth: Studios are usually just as bad.

This isn’t true at all. The reality is that most tattoo studios are lovely clean places that are registered, inspected and have good artists in them. However, there are also some crap studios who aren’t that much better than those at home, I will admit. The bad studios give them all a bad name. Instead of believing whoever told you studios are bad too, I’d suggest doing a bit of homework yourself about a studio you want to visit- you can start by clicking on our guide at the top of the website, called “Choosing Your Tattoo Artist”!

Myth: People put a label on scratchers because they “don’t understand”

That is such a ridiculous excuse. If I decided I wanted to perform surgery on my friend, and she died, how do you think a judge would take to the excuse that "surgeons just don’t understand”? I’m not even dignifying that stupid statement with any more of an explanation.


That’s all I’d like to come up with for now, as I’d love to see what some people finding this page on the Internet would also like to know, so I can add it up here. I may not know all of the answers, but I can assure you that when I don’t, I always know someone who does! You can choose to be completely anonymous for any reason.


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