The Complete Guide to Getting A New Tattoo – Part 3

Choosing A Tattoo Studio

Here are some things to consider when rummaging through local tattoo studios. One of the most important details to pay attention to is the level of cleanliness and sterilization performance of the studio. There are some things to stay away from and be aware of when walking into a tattoo studio. They are as follows:

1) Is there a lot of dust and grime around the shop?
If they cannot sweep, Windex, or mop the studio then how clean can their tattooing instruments be?

2) Artist cleanliness is vital.
I personally believe that personal hygiene is a very large decider for me when I choose a tattoo studio or tattoo artist. I don’t trust the cleanliness of a an artist’s needles or machine’s if the artist himself/herself can not bother to clean the soot out from under their nails, the gingivitis from between their teeth, or kill the stench radiating from their body that could possibly bring down a full grown mammoth.

3) The studio owner or artist should always be very willing to show you the autoclave that they use to sterilize all of the needles, machines, and other equipment.
Make sure that the autoclave is itself clean, not rusting or calcifying. An autoclave is a steam sterilizer that kills all bacteria, blood borne pathogens, and gross little microbes that could be possible contaminants to your skin and body. Some lazy artists/shops will show you a pressure cooker, designed to can food, as a “good” sterilizing tool. But he is not Betty Crocker and you are not trying to let him cook up a master bacterial recipe on your skin. So, if you come across a situation such as this it is a good idea to just walk away from the situation. Before you start going to studios, Google appropriate autoclaves so you know what they look like so you have an idea what you will be looking at. And if you seem to be feeling extra nosey and conscious, ask to see the studio’s recent Spore Test for the autoclave. This will ensure that the autoclave has been professionally tested and is certified as reliable and accurate to do the job that it should.

4) Make sure that the studio has proper biohazard bins for disposing of used needles and equipment.
This is detrimental for any tattoo studio to have. If they do not have a biohazard bin(s) in any work space then the needles are either lying around in your local trash cans waiting to be rummaged through by possible children, OR there is a possibility that those needles are being re-used! This is the worst and most dangerous fear in any person walking into a tattoo and piercing studio. Don’t feel like you are ever being overly nosey, or overly suspicious because it is plainly your right to see what is about to be put in or on your body. Also, when about to get a tattoo make sure that each needle is broken out of a sterilized bag in front of you. This and every tattoo is permanent and you do not want a permanent disease to go with it from not checking a studio’s sterilization practices.

Choosing A Tattoo Artist

4Let’s start today with choosing a tattoo artist to master your first tattoo. Listen; there are a million shops with 100 times as many artists. Some very talented tattoo artists can do anything from a simple butterfly to full realistic oriental back pieces. Though a lot of artists have a forte or a specialty they are tuned in with more. Some artists specialize in traditional, some in grey wash, and others in biomechanical, and then others specialize in full color portraits and so on.

You really need to think of what you want and how you want it, then go around to your local studios and peek at every portfolio you can manage to grasp your hands around. Artist portfolios frame the artist themselves. The prized pieces of each artist lay within its pages and show, quite literally, the true color, design, and styles of the artist’s soul and the skill of their hand. You can check out a lineup of extremely talented tattoo artists at to see what level of artwork is available.


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