We’re at a time now, where everyone with access to Google is an expert, and everyone who can (or a lot of the time can’t) string a sentence together can make a lot of money from pretty much anything. This is no different around tattooing, and I see a lot of people who don’t really know anything proclaiming themselves to be the experts in order to sell the ebooks, the t shirts and whatever other bullshit you can throw at a person. Of course, a lot of the information I see from these people is straight-up stupid, so I thought I’d take a few claims from somewhere and set a couple of things straight. These might be things I myself said when I knew jack shit about tattooing, to be totally honest, though I don’t specifically remember. I’m not saying I’m some kind of an expert these days, however I don’t make some of the dumb claims many do (thankfully!).
Anyway, I chose an iPhone app called Perfect Tattoo for this, which is an ebook full of the most incoherent bollocks I’ve read. You can get it for around two pounds in the app store, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Here’s some stuff from it that many people trying to make a buck will tell you.
“A good tattooist will take the time to talk with you. If he won’t take the time to talk, then you walk.”
I hear this so often from potential customers who think they’re owed something as soon as they step into a shop. In reality, if you walk into a tattoo studio, and someone who’s more than likely busy doesn’t drop everything to speak to you, it’s because you’re not as special as you think you are. Speak to whoever is on the desk, they’re there for a reason.
“Leave [a fresh tattoo] wrapped up for at least 10-12 hours.”
The people who write these things have no idea what happened to put your tattoo together. Trust the tattooer who did it by taking their advice. It varies from person to person, however those who don’t know about tattooing rarely say anything less than 8 hours, and I find that really stupid.
“You’re more likely to know what’s in the ink if it’s mixed on the spot by your artist.”
If you ask tattooers whether they mix their own inks, the majority of them will laugh at you. Who has the time for that? Most don’t. There are many people who see manufacturers of tattoo inks as horrible people, for whatever reasons. In reality, if you ever had a reason to know (maybe you’re allergic to something), all you’d have to do is ask your tattooer about the ink. If they don’t know, contact the manufacturer. A lot of the time you’d be surprised just how helpful some companies can be.
“Smart tattooists keep their autoclaves in sight of the customers for the same reasons they let them see broken needles.”
I know many incredibly smart tattooers. None of them do this. Autoclaves are usually kept wherever is best for the studio, and keeping them on show all the time would be stupid because they are used a lot. If you have any doubts, by all means, ask about sterilisation, but teaching yourself what a good tattooer is will probably aleviate that need.
“You can check the razor out if you want to. The artist won’t think you’re rude. He’ll probably thing [sic] you’re dumb if you don’t.”
More bollocks- by this point, the customer typical of this drivel has expected tattooers to drop everything they’re doing to talk with them, show them the autoclaves and now talk to you about razors which you probably just saw coming from a sterile pack. If this is a busy Saturday afternoon, people will think you’re rude. By all means, be cautious of a studio you don’t know enough about (though why you’d be in the chair if you weren’t sure is beyond me), but demanding to know about every tiny thing is just rude and unneccesary.
“A tattooer can’t [set up] ahead of time or everything won’t be sterile.”
While this is true in a sense, you’ll probably find that you won’t see your tattooer setting everything up. A lot of tattooers set up their areas when you’re filling in your forms or what have you, to save some time and so they can chill out instead of feeling watched and scruitinised. Don’t assume that there’s anything wrong with that, everything should be fine if you’re gone to the right studio.
There are just a few small points, and things that irritate or bore me when I see silly things like this. Perfect Tattoo has some other gems in it, like how 90s tribal tattoos are the only ones that don’t fade (interesting!) and how MRI machines make your tattoos explode, but they’re not something people are stupid enough to write all the time so I left those out. These things people say just make newer customers demanding and annoying, which will end up leaving both the customer and the tattooer pissed off by the end of it. Showing some common sense and politeness is all you need, really. Some people find this site typing in amusing phrases like “how to get a tattoo” or what have you, so I hope this helps when you’re looking at other things.