Whether your first tat is a portrait of a cat or something else, Joy Rumore, tattoo artist and owner of Twelve 28 Tattoo in Brooklyn, N.Y., offers the following tips:
- Make sure the shop is clean and well-maintained. Ask to see the shop autoclave (sterilizer), and be sure all needles are sterile, single-use and disposable.
- The artist should be willing to answer any questions you have about the way the tattoo is performed and the shop’s sterilization techniques. The artist should provide directions for the aftercare of your tattoo.
- Take a look at some of the artist’s work, and ask how long the artist has been tattooing. Like any other skilled trade, some artists specialize in specific styles. If the artist is unable to do the type of piece you’re looking for, ask if he or she can recommend someone else.
- Tattoo laws vary from state to state. Contact your local Health Department for the rules and regulations regarding tattoo shops in your area.
Most of all, you should feel comfortable with your artist. Trust your gut — if you have a bad feeling, don’t get tattooed there!