Tattoo Advice

Since i have a few tattoos and am always being asked about them, and since there is now a tattoist on pretty much every street in this country, i thought i’d share some thoughts or “Advice” if you want to call it that.

Firstly, 25 years ago i started getting my first tattoos partly to be different to a lot of people that i didn’t like. These days they are often the exact same people that have full sleeve tattoos or even more. So if you are thinking about getting any body modification just to be “different” or an “individual”, then don’t. Because you won’t be. Time makes fools of us all. And these days if you want to be different then try not even getting your ears pierced.

But if you are still determined…

You are going to get something that will (probably) be on you for life. So why be lazy and go to the tattooist on your street when one a short bus ride away might be 50 times better. Go in a few different places and just ask to see a few photo albums of their work. If they haven’t at least got a couple of hundred photos of great work then forget that place and look elsewhere. But if the first place you find looks ace then still look around a few others, even if you end up going back to the first place. Any artist worth his salt will respect you more for it.

Which brings me on to communication…
If you swagger into your local tattooist mouthing off and trying to act hard then you are the tattoo equivelent of fresh meat at a student party or club. And you are going to get:
1) Dissrespected
2) Bad art
3) Ripped off
You are not a hard man for getting a tat. And any tattooist that has served his time learning the craft will have seen bigger men than you flinching from a needle, while at the same time some 7 and a half stone woman won’t even blink at the pain.
Having said that i would also advise you to not trust a tattooist that’s not willing to dedicate one of his own limbs to practise on. Or at least if the guy doing tattoos dosen’t have any themself then you’ve got to ask why.

People often say
“I want a tattoo, but i don’t know what to get.”
In my humble opinion this is back to front. You should should wait until you stumble on a picture that you can’t imagine NOT having with you for life. This is how i felt about the album cover to “Spine Of God” by Monster Magnet. But by the time i’d found that my arms were already covered. Thankfully it naturally lent itself to being a back piece. But you get my point.

On the subject of cost: Really? You’ll pay £4:50 for a watered down pint, but you wont pay £150 for something in your skin forever?

Bargains and freebies? 99 times out of 100 you’ll get what you paid for. Shit.

And when people say that an artist does work free hand then that is not automatically impressive. You can get shit freehand the same as you can get shit anything.

As far as getting anyone’s name tattooed on you…. Try initials first. Tribal is ace for cover-ups. 😉

And bands names, logos? How about their artwork / album cover instead? It will still look good long after you’ve stopped listening to that band.

Get your first few where they are less likely to be seen. We all make mistakes on our journey to discover our way.
Wait until you’ve learnt from those mistake before you get your forearmes done. Nevermind your hand or face.

And another point… No matter how good and artist is, flesh is not canvas. You might get a perfect picture of your girlfriend, wife, child, or pet etc. But just a couple of years down the line when the hair grows back, when you’ve put on some weight, when you and your flesh are a few years older and fatter, then that perfect picture of your loved one might look like a bruise at best, or a fucking monkey if you’re unlucky.

Cover ups are an art in themselves. This is a time when you should take all this advice and times it by ten. Because a cover up of a cover up tends to be a huge black square covering a half an arm / leg / belly.

Tip your artist when you are uber-chuffed with his work. He will remember that when he’s working on you next. Getting a great tattoo is more than just getting a picture in your skin. Some people look at it as a spiritual journey. I don’t. I think of it more like a minor surgical procedure. Either way a little bit of your life is in someone else’s hands. It’s not just important that you find an artist you trust. It’s also a pretty good idea to be on good terms with them as a person!

But after all this advice, life still happens, and no system is perfect. And Who want to die without any scars?

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