So you want to get a tattoo… now what?
When you have a few tattoos, people tend to ask you about them quite regularly. In fact, the questions I probably get asked more than anything else are: How did you know for certain what you wanted followed by where should I go get a tattoo?
Yesterday, my memories on Facebook reminded me that it has been a year since my shoulder tattoo. I honestly can’t believe it has been a year already while simultaneously only having been a year since! If I look back on my life a year ago it’s crazy how much has changed. Firstly, we no longer live in the same country. We don’t do the same jobs, have the same hobbies etc… Things are very different. The one thing that will probably always stay the same for me is my collecting of inked pictures on my body.
They say tattoos are addictive – yes they are! To be honest, I think taking that first step to get the first one is probably the hardest part of getting a tattoo. Once you get the first one and you realise that yes, it is sore but it’s worth it, you are totally okay with going back again and again. I don’t think I will ever stop.
My mother in law came to visit us three months after we had landed in New Zealand and she asked me if I’ve found a hair salon yet because it’s important for women to have a good stylist. My response was “no but I’ve found a tattoo place” because THAT is my priority. I knew where I was going to be getting my new tattoos before I even landed in Wellington. Choosing an artist is pretty important.
It can be so intimidating
I know that walking into a tattoo shop can be scary as fuck! There are all these “uber cool” people working there and they ooze this attitude that says you’re less than me. I’ve been to various tattoo places and the atmosphere can be quite scary. Until you realise that actually, they’re just people like you are and you’re totally transferring your own issues and insecurities onto people who are actually just really nice.
My last tattoo place was owned by the nicest couple – it was super chilled! The one before that was super commercial and my “regular” artist was full of attitude and made being tattooed terrifying because they all gossiped and moaned about the tattoo industry the ENTIRE time I was there, every time so going there wasn’t the most pleasant experience.
What do I look for when choosing a tattoo place?
Absolutely hands down most important is the ARTIST!
When you’re looking for an artist, you have to know what STYLE the artist specialises in. If you want something old school, look for an artist with experience doing old school tattoos.
Don’t choose an artist who does tribal tattoos all day long because they won’t be the kind of artist you need. You need to get your tattoo done by the person who best suits your needs.
You should NEVER ever EVER choose your artist based on the price they charge. I don’t care if you can’t afford anything other than Mike who tattoos from his living room. Mike is NOT your guy unless Mike is a professional! Price should NEVER be the determining factor. Rather plan YEARS ahead for it, save up the money and get it done by someone genuine and skilled and clean with a good reputation. If an artist tattoos with a home made machine and ink he got out a pen then RUN! RUN THE FUCK IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION!
ALWAYS make sure the artist you choose is professional and knows what they’re doing and most importantly, that their shit is hygienic! Needles should NEVER be boiled clean. Do not ever let them use an old needle on you.
I feel like I’m stating the obvious but I once saw tattoos being done at an airshow, in the dust and dirt and the needles were being cleaned on the barbecue. This is NOT how it’s done! You don’t want to fuck with the hygiene of your needles.
How do you know WHAT to get?
Do my tattoos have to have meaning?
This is another thing that pops up regularly – what do my tattoos mean and how did I know for sure I wanted them on me forever and don’t I get tired of them and do I regret my tattoos.
I have various tattoos. Some of them have meaning and some of them don’t. Honestly, I’m not precious about it. I don’t overthink it. I used to get annoyed when people asked me about their meaning but I’m older and don’t mind anymore. I get that people are curious or intrigued. Often it’s because they have always wanted one but never had the courage.
I have never regretted a single tattoo. I don’t see myself regretting them as I get older either as I seem to be actively getting more as I get older.
I have covered one up though – my first tattoo was a lizard. It was boring, it was rebellious and I chose it off the wall. I didn’t regret getting it but later on, I got a back piece and I needed the space so it had to go.
I choose my tattoos based on how I’m feeling at the time, what I’m into and what makes me happy. I am certainly not the same person that I was when I got a hanged man tattooed on me, but I love my tattoos. They tell the story of my life. My journey – a journey that I am really proud of.
So no, they don’t have to have meaning but if they do, that’s cool. It’s forever though so do what feels right to you. Don’t get something you think you will regret or get it knowing you’re stuck with it for life unless you get a cover up. Go with what your heart tells you is right!
I’ve always been really hesitant about visible tattoos
I’m very professional and my career is really important to me. I know that no matter how good you are at your job, people will judge you based on how you look and so I’ve always steered away from visible tattoos. However, I’m just at the age now where I don’t care what people think. This is me.
I know that I will probably have to prove myself more than someone without tattoos but it’s a price I’m willing and happy to live with. My tattoos are a part of who I am and who I am is a successful and capable person so people who don’t see that will just have to deal. I do still cover them up for job interviews and big meetings. They are a part of me and I am awesome 😉
So my advice to you is;
Know what you want.
Look for an artist that suits your style.
Choose a professional tattoo place.
Make sure it’s all hygienic and clean.
Every artist or tattoo shop will charge different amounts! Some per project and some per hour it takes. Don’t choose a place based on it being cheap! You usually get what you pay for.
Go with what feels right.
Personally, I’d never get anyone’s name tattooed on me unless they were my kid but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do that if that’s what you’re into.
Just make sure your artist knows how to spell and proof the shit out of any words you’re getting inked!
Start small and get used to the idea of having permanent markings on your body OR throw caution to the wind, say fuck it, get a full sleeve and rock that shit like there’s no tomorrow.
Life is too short to have regrets!
Leave a comment and let me know how you decided on your tattoo/s?