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Finding a Good Artist

This may seem like a given, but having been through all sorts of learning experiences when it comes to the quality of work in the tattoo industry, I can tell you that it really is worth investing time, patience and thought into who you want to transform your skin.
I often have people ask me where they can get a good deal on ink work. Frustrating as my answer always is, I truly admonish them to realize that in this genre of the art world, it's often true that you get what you pay for. Meaning, you might be able to find a "bargain" out there, but you also might end up with results that reflect the price. Tattoo work is not the time to search for a deal. This is something permanent that you are doing to alter your body and if it means that you might have to save up a few extra months to have enough bucks in the tattoo jar, DO IT! It's not to say that there are some exorbitant rates out there, where you might be paying too much for what you get; but taking the time to research the artists you are considering is always worth it in the end.  If you have a vision of what you want, whether it's unique wedding invitations or a tattoo, focus on the quality and finding the best match first. Letting price be your biggest deciding factor can make a short-term problem (not enough money) turn into a long-term regret (poor quality work).

Look carefully through their online galleries and portfolio books. Be sure that they really grasp your art concepts and seem receptive to bringing those ideas to life. Be sure that you mesh well with them and like their personality. I know that isn't always essential and that everyone won't become best friends with their artist, but just from my own experience, I know that getting a tattoo isn't just sitting down for the art and looking in the mirror at the end of the process. My memories of the day, the things I talked about with the artist and the other patrons in the shop, the way I felt about the overall experience, these aspects all have a huge impact on the way I feel about the tattoo from there on out. It's an entire experience to get tattooed (or ideally, it should be) and that's why finding a compatible artist has always been very important to me.
I have many different types of tattoo work on my skin: realism, portraiture, animals, cartoon art, text, Japanese, traditional flash, organic art...all sorts of genres. Each of these requires seeking out a different artist who is skilled in that particular area. While I have close to 200 hours of realistic work from Mike DeVries, he isn't the man I see for my text/font work, because my friend Nate McManus is the right choice for those pieces. When I wanted a cupcake with organic elements, I knew that encompassing that idea required the skills of Carson Hill. My point with these examples is to say that it's very important to keep the style of the piece you want in mind when you look for the perfect person to administer ink. Just because you see amazing work in magazines or online, ask yourself if that particular artist is skilled in the area that your design is calling for.
Take the time to examine all sorts of elements when finding your artist. Read, search, and educate yourself. The tattoo industry is brimming with talent and finding the perfect match for your perfect tattoo is essential and always worth the work invested.

Last updated on April 4, 2013 by Jinxi Boo