Getting a tattoo is not as simple as choosing a design from a portfolio and having it permanently inked on your skin. It is a form of branding - a testament of your personal values and a reflection of who you truly are. More importantly, tattooing yourself is one big commitment. It is choosing to carry that symbol, that representation, on your skin for the rest of your life.
Committing to a tattoo requires careful judgment on where to get it and who to entrust yourself with. It is only natural that first timers have qualms about where to hand over their skin for their first tattoo experience. There are several things to consider when looking for the tattoo gallery that would suit your preferences and relieve your worries.
- First, ask around for referrals. Most people who have gotten tattoos probably have preferences as to whom and where they get their inks. Those who share the same personal tastes as you could point you to the right direction. It is important to get to know the tattoo artist working at a particular gallery. Find out about his reputation. Again, don't be afraid to ask around about the artist's background, working experiences, artistic style and method, and even his values and beliefs. Sharing the same beliefs as your artist could make you feel more at ease, and both of you would most likely agree on the method and design of your tattoo.
- Second, it is crucial to check for the general hygiene and appearance of the place. The gallery must maintain all standard health and sanitary procedures and precautions. The gallery must be certified by the local board of health, and all operations must be proclaimed legal. It must be well-lit, properly ventilated, and generally pleasing to the eyes. The place must not only look clean, it must also smell clean. Make sure they dispose of their trash properly and that everything is used only once.
Tattoos are made not only by the artist, but also by the tools of his trade. Check for the equipments. Needles, tubes, machines, power supplies, and razors are the most common supplies you will find in a tattoo gallery. Make sure they throw away all razors and needles after being used on one customer. Most importantly, ask about the inks that the shop uses. Ensure that it is compatible with your skin, and that you will not have an allergic reaction to it. Most of the inks these days are organic and are safe to use, so it would be good to ask them if this is what they have in the shop.
- Lastly, it is important to consider the staff of the gallery. It would be better if you establish rapport with the artist and with the other people in the shop because making you feel at ease and ready for such an experience is the primary concern. They must be courteous, available for questions, and knowledgeable about their trade. They must be willing to assist you in whatever query you have and if necessary, go through every detail of the process with you.
Going through all these steps will help in making sure that you find the perfect gallery that will suit your needs and wants. Hopefully, this will result in a smooth-sailing and fulfilling experience and a first tattoo worth committing to.