|Plumeria Tattoo By Ben Karnofski @ Lucky 7 Tattoo|
|Monkey in Branches By Russell Fortier @ Lucky 7 Tattoo|
In the last 5 years tattooing has exploded. No longer am I looked at by older folks as some type of demon for being covered in ink. For better or worse, television has taken a rebel act - a way of life-and made it an acceptable art form for almost everyone. Television and the media have advertised tattoos as a type of meaningful "keepsake" for the masses. It has created the mindset that each tattoo must be thought out, always be uber original and have some deep meaning in order to "justify" getting the tattoo. Trust me dear reader, until this decade most tattoos had no more meaning than to say "F+*# You to the rest of society by the outlaws who wore them. Alas, things change, and I appreciate anyone who walks through the doors of my shop to get ink from my family. Which brings us to the topic I started this blog entry with. "Why Do Tattoos Cost So Much?"
|"Weathered Tree with Raven" By Russell Fortier @ Lucky 7 Tattoo|
Did you ever notice that you never see money change hands on the tattoo television shows? My guess is because it doesn't make good t.v. I also imagine all the fans of these programs would have their dreams of getting ink by a celebrity tattooer flattened and stomped on by the rates these famous tattoo artists charge. More power to these stars for their great marketing skills-yet it makes it difficult for us in the real world to explain to a tattoo virgin that Lucky 7 prices are $140 an hour, and yes it really takes many hours to ink a sleeve. It always looks easier on tv!
|Butterfly Skull by Corey Boobar @ Lucky 7 Tattoo|
Let me break down what it cost to run our family owned shop. All amounts are per month. $2000 for rent. $400 for insurance, $200 for power, $100 for phone and internet, $150 for trash and sharps (needle) disposal, $300 for basic office supply, $500 for needles and inks, $200 for gloves, $60 for cleaning products, $90 for distilled water..this is just the bare bones of operations and we are already past $4000 a month! That is before any one of us takes home a dime for ourselves and our family. The shop is always first in line to be paid for.
There is no such thing as an "easy tattoo." It is a huge pet peeve to the artist when people beg us to cram them in to a very full schedule. "But its a really small and easy tat" they whine. To the person who is inking you for life, they take on a level of stress that cannot be fully described. Yes, some designs and locations are easier than others. Yet we strive for perfection on every tattoo every time. Would you want anything less? Understand that any good artist should make a fair wage to do their craft, and to take on the stress of your tattoo. Have patience when an artist says " I can't tattoo you today, but let me design the tattoo tonight and schedule you on another day." Know that good artists and reputable shops are not trying to rob you! What you pay for is a great tattoo in a licensed shop that is following the letter of the law. Those laws are in place to protect your health as well as the artist. I am sure you don't want a burned out tattoo artist who has to work 14 hours a day just to make a livable wage, right? Then please respect the prices tattooers charges for great work in a clean shop. You get what you pay for.
Last but not least. It is smart to price shop a pair of Levis 501 jeans. It is the same pair of jeans in every store, just some stores have better service and atmosphere. Save money on goods. When you choose a service -which is what tattooing boils down to- always pick the best you can find and afford. If money is short, save up! Waiting a few weeks isn't going to kill you. It makes you smarter than so many people who rush in without doing their research. That "bargain" tattoo isn't going to seem like such a deal when the joy of paying so little wears off and you hate the results that last a lifetime.