We get tattooed for many reasons. Sometimes a tattoo is just a fun little gift to ourselves that makes us smile, and sometimes a tattoo is a highly transformative process of healing and spell casting.
I believe that every experience is a goldmine of information about who we are and how we function. Regardless of the energy investment that we put into our work, it is a direct reflection of our personal projection. The way one moves through the world shows us our programming, which is a wonderful opportunity to rewrite the code and weed out the glitches that hold us back from being our biggest self.
Your process has led you here, and you are looking for the right energetic match to express your inspiration. Every artist is as unique as you, and will have their own way of working. This may not work for you. You may be someone who needs lots of time to think over every detail, or you may be the kind of person that is decisive and spontaneous. Respect that your way of doing things may not line up with the artist’s process. Art is something that is drawn out of the normal plane of reality, it’s a transdimensional hyperreality. The many years it takes to access this in a reliable way so that we can make a living from is highly individual. The way you plan and operate in your life is not necessarily is not the way we function and may make you feel insecure.
There is no reason to compromise your basic needs, and if I feel that I am not the best artist for you, I will refer you to an artist who is better suited to your expectations. There are so many artists available that there is no reason to wrestle a situation into existence, it is much better to find someone you feel comfortable with and trust.
I offer two kinds of tattoos. The first is most common, where a client has done their research and has a pretty good idea of what they want their tattoo to look like. They have picked me because they like my aesthetic, and want to see me interpret their vision into a wearable piece of art that they are curating.
I will take the various images and compose it to your liking.
The second type of tattooing is more of a magic spell. My clients come to me with an intention which I translate into symbolism which is personal resonant and empowering.
While I always use basic sacred geometry for all composition, this type of tattooing doesn’t come from my head, it comes from beyond. I am able to channel the healing that is needed when it is being asked for by the client.
Initial consultations are mostly for seeing if we are a good match and brainstorming. The tattoo appointments are booked, and a drawing fee relative to the size of the drawing is put down as a deposit. This is refundable unless I have started drawing.
My practice of drawing is more like channeling, I sit down to draw and put myself in a flow state where I am highly focused.
I draw for which ever project I have coming up next. I put my full focus on my next client, and the communication will include a quick second consultation, example of reference for your approval, a monochromatic composition study, and a line drawing. Full grey scale, color rendering and watercolor paintings will be an extra fee for my time, and you are welcome to take the art home with you.
I am always happy to make changes to composition, but am not willing to tattoo in a style that is outside my area of focus or copy other tattooers style. If you want a type of art that I am not well versed in, I am happy to help you find an artist who can better accommodate you.
Once we agree to work together, I expect that you like my work well enough to trust me to tattoo you. Excessive micromanaging is a clear sign of insecurity, and no amount of changing small details in a tattoo will make you happy. Invest the time and energy into finding someone who you feel comfortable with.
Getting a tattoo is a big deal. The more you can move into it with respect, the better the tattoo will be.
So many things can effect the experience, and ultimately the tattoo itself because most people remember the circumstances and how they felt during the tattoo process every time they look at it!
The best thing you can do is pick an artist who you trust, and have easy & unstrained communication with. Tattooers are people, not just a server who is paid to do what you ask of them. We all have limits and strengths, and you should trust your gut when you are in the decision making process.
Being physically prepared for the session is essential. If you are exhausted, hungover, sunburnt, ill, on a tight budget, or generally stressed out we may not be able to complete your tattoo to its fullest potential.
Please communicate with your artist as early as possible if you don’t feel like you are up for the tattoo. We are human too, and understand extenuating circumstances. We will let you know if we are not able to tattoo you, and want you to feel free to do the same.
Prompt communication ensures that we can fill the gap in our schedule with another client and still earn a living.
Basic self care will help make this a great experience. Being well rested and hydrated are very important. There are many ways to boost your immune system, including teas and vitamins.
Please be flexible on the day of the appointment. If you have somewhere important to be later in the day, please prioritize rather than ask the artist to rush the process.
You are welcome to ask if it’s ok to bring a friend, but invite someone who feels safe and caring. Believe it or not, many friends can make things very awkward by projecting their own insecurities into the situation. Everything from the smells and sounds, to the actions of those around you will be more sensitively felt. Being tattooed is vulnerable, and we want you to feel comfortable and calm!
The way a tattoo feels can range from pleasant, to imperceptible to excruciating. Most of this is due to nerve endings, which are focused most heavily around the hands, feet and softer tissues. Every inch will feel different. Pain is felt in a highly individual way, and we hope that you will know what works for you to mange your reactions.
Breathing engages the parasympathetic nervous system, which means that if you can focus on keeping breath deep and consistent, it tells your body that you don’t need to panic and escape the discomfort that the nerve endings are signaling. The chemical reactions that the tattooing releases almost always includes a rush of endorphins, which kick in within the first half hour and help maintain the calm.
Eating may be difficult beforehand due to excitement, but having some calories in your body is a requirement. Bring food and non caffeinated drinks with you, or a friend who will happily get you snacks if needed.
Many people say that pain meds are a no, as they can thin the blood. If you’d like to take a non-acetaminophen pain killer, you are welcome to do so. Please let us know if you have any concerns about potential interactions.
Drinking or using narcotics is unacceptable. While they may dull the discomfort, they also impair judgment and often incur a lapse in social boundaries. This sort of coping is disrespectful to all involved and will be addressed clearly by the artist. If your behavior is disruptive, we will kindly ask you to have your tattoo finished at a later date.
Sitting through a tattoo is something to feel proud of as a it is an accomplishment of mind over matter. Most people leave feeling empowered and euphoric. We will do everything we can to collaborate in creating a happy memory and a lasting representation of your strength and beauty!
Please feel free to consult us with any and all concerns, we have a wealth of detailed information that we are happy to share!
So you are all ready for your tattoo! Unless you have spent a lot of time around tattooers, you may be wondering about some basic etiquette. No one wants to feel like they are being disrespectful, and the tattoo industry functions a bit differently than most other professions.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but it seems obvious that part of the path into tattooing stems from being a non conformist. The mold doesn’t fit, and we as artists overcome great obstacles to make a life that we want to live, on our own terms. We are not going to behave with the same level of professionalism that you would expect from a bank teller. In exchange for financial security & comfort we have the freedom to stay true to our personal morals, and this is intimately what makes us artists.
Please refer to your artists bio and process, voice concerns in a clear way, and always feel free to stop the tattoo process when it feels wrong to you. I have met so many people who have tattoos they aren’t happy with because they weren’t sure if they were allowed to back out. At any point you can let your artist know that you won’t be coming back to them. Tell them what they could do better as you would to a friend you’d like to see succeed. No one is perfect, and we should all practice non reactivity to constructive criticism. Some one who makes you feel bad for asking about cleanliness in the shop, or to move a stencil isn’t someone you want working on you.
In exchange for the deposit you won’t be getting back, you’ll save your self a lot of time and energy and a potentially expensive cover up.
We also may choose to terminate the working relationship if we feel like it’s not functional. This is our prerogative, and will not be negotiated. It’s so strange to see someone try to power trip an artist into working with them, as if a tattoo were a cup of coffee. We both need to feel our best to optimize the finished project, and that includes energy. Why would you want some who feels subjugated and disrespected to tattoo you? It’s awkward at the least and traumatic at its worst.
Here are some basics that I find to be in line with most artists expectations. Please ask individuals what their personal boundaries are.
Communication: Please do not harass us. Respect the level of interaction that we can give before an appointment. It’s exciting to get tattooed, but if your appointment is 2 weeks away, we have 20 other clients ahead of you who are equally excited. Each client deserves an artist who is focused of the work in front of them, not distracted by the person who is stressing out because their expectations aren’t being met on the timeline they imagine. All artist function differently. Please respect that. Micromanaging makes us feel like you don’t trust us, and wonder if you really want us to tattoo you.
There are thousands of artists in the world, all with different skill sets. Invest the time and energy to get work from a person you trust, with your means. Ask other tattooers for referrals. We are experts on the subject!
Self care: Be in good working order, refer to Tattoo Precare for some tips on being physically prepared for the ordeal. You wouldn’t run a marathon drink, hungover or on an empty stomach. Treat this as a ritual trial you are undergoing with respect. The physical and energetic attitude that you bring does effect the tattoo work!
Punctuality: we work on a schedule, and have set aside a window of time that we feel is adequate to execute the session. Without a salary, we are only paid when we are tattooing and are self reliant when it comes to earning enough to make a living. If you are early or late, it is disruptive to the schedule, which affects not only the artist, but other clients as well.
If you are running late or early, please communicate. Often your appointment and deposit will be forfeited if you are over 15 mins late. Clients who no show and do not communicate are sometimes not given a second chance to make an appointment with that same artist. Ask your artist what their specific policies are.
Finances: Ask your artist how much you should expect to spend on the upcoming session, they should be about to give you a range so that you are prepared.
Before you come, check in on what types of payments are accepted. Many shop only accept cash, while others use cash apps or accept checks.
Tipping: is appreciated but not expected. We charge what we feel our work is worth, and tipping is an additional gift we are happy to receive. The industry norm is very similar to restaurant standards, with between 10 to 20 percent being most common.
The money that you pay your artist for the hours of tattoo work represents many years invested in studying art, and it takes ten years of drawing to be able to do a good drawing in ten minutes.
The total you pay is usually split 50%50% between the artist and the shop. Out of that 50%, we pay 30% in taxes and buy most of our own tattoo equipment and supplies. So like a waiter, tips are a big part of our income.
Tipping is your individual choice, but considerations as to how much you should give are pretty normal. Are you happy with the work? Will you come again? Was the artist nice to you? Did you receive a discount? A very genuine way to show appreciation is with money!
Bringing friends: please ask your artist for their policies on extra people coming along.
Some artists prefer to work quietly, others will talk a lot. This is not a reflection of you, but what helps them do their best work.
Boundaries: Tattooing is intimate in many ways, and hopefully the client and artist connect in a pleasant way. Like most service professionals, we have developed the social skills necessary to manage the interactions, and may be charming and warm. In the same way you wound never expect a waiter to date you or be your friend or give you a discount because they are nice, a tattooer should not be treated in this way. If you really like us, behave in a respectful manner and pay us for our time as you would any other professional.
The tattoo healing process is is quite unique to each person, and everyone seems to think they know the best, only way to heal. My advice is based on 10 years in the industry, and offers a general outline of what you might expect to experience. Please use them as a guideline and customize to fit your self!
The tattoo will leave the shop clean and bandaged, either in an absorbent bandage or an adhesive covering. Both are breathable and will prevent the tattoo from drying up and help to avoid scabbing.
To heal a tattoo in the traditional fashion, remove the absorbent bandage at home when you are able to clean, can be left of for up to twelve hours. The tattoo may scab up a bit, with the areas of concentrated color taking the longest to heal. Do not pick at the scab, as it will pull out ink along with the dead skin.
Ideally a healing tattoo will flake a bit like a sunburn, and once the skin is shed the tattoo will look a bit shiny before the new layers of skin form above it.
Alternatively, keeping the tattoo covered with Tagaderm for a few days alleviates a lot of potential problems, and speeds up the healing process by a few weeks.
Tagaderm is a thin adhesive bandage that was designed for burn victims, and essentially acts as a cover so that your body doesn’t have to make a scab, so that the skin reseals itself with minimal drama.
The bandage may fill up with fluid and look like a blister. This is mostly plasma and the excess ink that would have formed a scab. It won’t hurt the tattoo, and it’s fine to leave it be unless it isn’t staying inside the bandage.
To drain the fluid, lift the edge until you reach the pocket, and squeegee the liquid into an absorbent paper towel.
The tagaderm can be used up to 10 days, but 3 or 4 seems to be a good amount of time.
To remove, gently pull the bandage down and away and clean thoroughly.
Whenever you do remove any type of bandage, clean it throughly with warm water & clean hands over a non-public sink until no longer slick. Let air dry, and once it is no longer moist, you can apply a small amount of moisturizer.
All products should be gentle, unscented and dispense from a pump to assure that there are no bacteria present.
As long as the skin is unsealed, do your best to keep it clean and dry. The skin maybe extra sensitive to fragrances and is vulnerable to infection.
Once the skin has sealed, use any moisturizer you like as needed.
Healing tattoos may feel sore for a few days, may swell a bit, may feel itchy as it’s healing, and will look worse before they look better. A new tattoo may take as long as 6 months to fully settle into the skin. You’ll know it’s fully healed when it looks like the rest of your skin. This is a good time to touch up any inconsistencies in the tattoo.
Please contact your artist with all concerns, but be proactive if you suspect an infection please go to a doctor. While we are knowledgeable and have seen many healing tattoos, we are not medical professionals and are not qualified to give medical advice.
The human body is not paper, and the healing will vary greatly due to your unique chemistry and how you care for the piece. You may be surprised by how a tattoo looks during the stages of healing. If you suspect that the tattoo needs more work, wait until it has fully healed and is no longer shiny. Most small imperfections are normal and easy to fix. If you don’t trust the artist who did your tattoo to fix the issues you are concerned about, go to a different artist.
Tattoos are a process not a product, and may need multiple sessions. Touch up and and final passes may not be free, as they are expected and represent time and supplies that the artist is spending.
Ink that is in the red color family make take longer to heal.
Colors may change as they settle, every single person is different and the results will vary.