Thursday, December 19, 2013

"I Smell a Rat!" - 7 Lies Unethical Tattooers & Scratchers Will Tell

Way back in 1992, I officially started my career as a shop girl & body piercer in Reno, Nevada and Sacramento, California. This type of assistant position was a very new idea for the tattoo industry. Before this time, most shops were set up with the tattooers lumped together in a bull pen, behind a low partition - dealing with customers coming in while tattooing at the same time. Fast forward to the 1990's - tattooing becoming more popular. Biker Bob had to move over for the new breed of tattooer artist we have today.  

With the new generation of younger, more gifted artists - who set up nicer shops -came the need for help with their business. Rather than trying to do everything they hired "shop girls" / helpers to speak to customers, sterilize equipment and clean the space. The very first shop girls were usually the wives or girlfriends of the tattooers themselves. In my case I fell into the job for a different reason. I was already a good customer who knew her way around their shops, and I had learned how to pierce.

Fast forward to 2013. Throughout the decades I have worked with gifted artists and ass@#$%*. Men who I admired, with others who over estimated their talents & abilities. Some have lived exciting lives, telling others of their adventures and encounters.  Some just tell stories of their faked "greatness." My goal right now is to see through the tall tails of their so called white lies:

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tattooing is His Career, Fly Fishing His Mistress

"Adams Dry Fly" for fishing by Russell Fortier
Lucky 7 Tattoo Tahoe
Copyright 2013
"May Fly Dun" inked by Russell Fortier
@ Lucky 7 Tattoo Tahoe
Copyright 2013
Back when I married Russell in 2005 we had to live apart the first 5 months. Me in Nor Cal. Russell in the Inland Empire.
 I had a vague awareness that he enjoyed fishing. Once every few weeks hubby grabbed his pole, cooler, tackle box, Gatorade and salty snacks - heading out to some So Cal reservoir I had not heard of. Hours later a few snapshots of him holding a cute little fish would arrive to my pink Motorola Razor. Good for him getting some smoggy fresh air, enjoying himself!

"Truckee River Fly Fishing" Tattoo
INKED by Russell Fortier
Lucky 7 Tattoo Tahoe
"Dry Fly" by Russell Fortier
colored pencil on paper
Lucky 7 Tattoo Tahoe
Copyright 2013
Once Russell made his move to live with me his fishing style changed rapidly. First thing, the old gear started to be replaced by new fangled things. No longer were Levis and a white T shirt okay to wear. Oh no, he had to have a fancy vest that cost more than my monthly food budget. Next came fishing poles the length of a 1970's station wagon. Shortly after that his old tackle box was abandoned. Dozens of tiny beaded furry feathery thread like creatures with hooks clogged multiple foam lined clear boxes. Gone was the folding chair and salmon eggs. Power bait dried in its jars. That was then, fly fishing is now.

Next came giant waiters, two different pair!. Multiple pair of Sims boots. One pair has felt lined soles? (Still do not understand that.) He even bought a tiny garbage can to hang from the vest for his cigarette butts...WOW!

For the last 5 years, every possible day off - no matter what Mother Nature throws weather wise through these mountains and canyons - Russell is fly fishing. It is his Mistress.
"Paintbrush Fly" Stencil and Tattoo By Russell Fortier
Lucky 7 Tattoo Tahoe
Copyright 2013

7 years of marriage, 5 dogs, one furniture eating timber wolf, 1tattoo business and spending 24/7 together in                          life can cause a bit of feeling over exposed to one another.

Yet I am oh so grateful the only female my husband holds is a beautiful wild fish! XOXOXO Kathleen
Russell Fortier Tattoo Artist & Fly Fishing Guide
Copyright 2013
Lucky 7 Tattoo Tahoe

Black and Gray Wild Fish by Russell Fortier of Lucky 7 Tattoo Tahoe
Copyright 2013
Russell Fortier fishing the Truckee River
Skull Tattoo by Cory Norris @ Classic Tattoo/ Fish by Mother Nature
Copyright 2013  Lucky 7 Tattoo Tahoe
Guide Russell Fortier fly fishing the Truckee River
Owner / Tattoo Artist  @ Lucky 7 Tahoe
Copyright 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013

Portfolios of Tattoo Artists - 7 Attributes To Look For

Digital or static portfolios are the most important truth teller any artistic service professional can possess.

 When I went to get "new and improved" breasts back in 2004 I fully realized how significant pictures were to my decision in picking the doctor for my "rack increase". Before this revelation I had never picked a professional to do a job that I had not worked with first. Therefore I had never been through the chores of choosing.

In anticipation of getting my new bosom I booked 3 consultation appointments with 3 plastic surgeons who had been recommended to me.

The first 2 doctors were cocky, assumptive and overly self assured. In fact the second physician seemed dismissive of my ability to even pay him the full amount for the consultation. My expectations of a physical exam or a professional attitude were not met. Nor was I shown even one example of their previous work.

My expectations were low for consultation number 3. I started to believe that plastic surgeons all acted like old, bald rock stars or stuck up tattooers for that matter. Glad to say that the "3rd time was the charm" for my search. Dr Murphy in Reno was a gentleman. Let me ask my list of questions. Explained why it was not a good idea to make his incision through my arm pits. Best of all he had tons of photos of his previous work. 99% good boob jobs with happy patients in the photos. And a couple snapshots of a few that had not gone well for various reasons. 

I admire anyone who can own up to their own imperfect performance as a human being. Too many so called professionals pretend they never make even the slightest mistake at anything they do. In my mind, by Dr Murphy showing me the few bad with the overwhelming good, he won me over. He exceeded my expectations - and I get compliments to this day on my figure improvement.

So it is with this spirit in mind I wanted to provide you with a short guide as to what to look for in the portfolio of a tattoo artist. For more in depth information on shop and artist selection please see the other earlier entries in this blog.

  1. Line work that is steady, consistent and even though out the design.      Look closely at the boarder surrounding each piece of the entire design. These lines should be uniform in thickness or thinness. Flowing from one stroke to the next with balance and uniformity. You should not see where the needle has been applied to the skin to start the line itself.                                                                
    Sharpie Examples of Uniformity and Balance (or lack thereof)
  2. Tattoo Designs that have Symmetry.         Does the mouth on animal designs look too large for their face? Proportions seem somehow off? Do letters in a word all seem slightly larger and smaller as the eye travels its length? With designs that have exact uniformity,  say a 5 point star -is it a mirror image in each component of all its parts? Pay careful attention to symmetry. Where there is a little of it on other peoples tattoos, you can expect the same half hearted work on your ink. Inexperience is usually the cause of it. Do not be one more customer this tattooer cuts his teeth on.                              
  3. Varied Styles of Different Tattooing.      I myself love American traditional tattoos. I am personally covered from throat to feet in these crisp, bulky designs. Yet when I see a portfolio that contains nothing but traditional I take special notice. This says to me the portfolios owner is not comfortable showing a possible customer how good or bad they are at other types of more complicated tattoo designs. It is an attempt to manipulate your information gathering. This tattooer prefers to do the minimum amount of work for their money. While this is not a crime - it is a red alert to avoid this tattoo provider unless you want a standard, monotone straight from the rack flash tattoo design. Tattoo Artist with a specialty like black and gray portraits will still demonstrate other styles they are capable of inking. This shows confidence in their trade. Therefore hoping to earn your business.                                                                                                                                           
  4. A Simple RED HEART is ANYTHING but Simple.    Even the smallest and simplest tattoos can have a stunning amount of vibrancy. A customer may ask for " A tiny red heart on my bum." A talented artist will carry the request - but will go beyond the simple request to exceed the expectation of the customer. Does the little heart have a highlight to the round tops? Can you tell that a few different shades of red and pink were blended together to create subtle nuances - creating more shape than just the black outline provides? Attention to the simplest designs tells you the artist cares about everything he puts his name on. THAT is a good thing!      
    "MOM" Heart with Rose By Russell Fortier
    Lucky 7 Tattoo Tahoe
  5. Match the Portfolio to a Single Tattooer.      This is a more recent development in low rent tattoo shops. One large photo album that is suppose to represent the entire staff. See it as a red flag to walk away. You have a shop owner who only cares about making money. Once again this is done to deceive you by omitting information you can use to make an educated choice in WHO in that shop is good (if anyone actually is). You are being sold false hope that everyone who tattoos in that location is equal. NONSENSE. There is no such thing as an "easy" tattoo. IF your tattoo artist cares about their work, having pride and self satisfaction - they will gladly take clear pictures and display them.                 
    Black and Grey Angel By Russell Fortier        Day of the Dead Pin-up Face By Corey Boobar
    Lucky 7 Tattoo Tahoe
  6. Digital is Great - However Photo Paper is Better.     I am sure to get a few miffed emails regarding this one. Yet I must advise you the best way I know how. Online sites are wonderful for the shear ease it can be to upload pictures of your work. Potential customers can sit around anywhere they please and browse an artists work. The web is a great tool to weed out who you do not want to bother with in person. However is no substitute for a static leather bound portfolio with plastic sleeves to hold photo paper photography.  Matter of fact, I want you to reach under the plastic, feel the paper to make sure it hasn't been cut out of a magazine. See if  the weight seems appropriate? Any artist who is proud of their abilities will gladly flip their book to certain pages - showing you what they have created for other clients. It takes time, will and money to get photos printed from a store. That is a good sign of someone who cares to show you their best and has done little or nothing on Photoshop type editing programs to trick you.                                                                                                                        
  7. Do Not Be Impressed By A Massive Number of Photos.   One of my favorite tattoos I got from a tattooer who had half a dozen photo albums in his lobby. Now I knew the guy and his work for a while before I had gone into his shop. So the number of photos did not impress me-his actual tattooing did. Since that time I have wandered into a few situations where a tattooer had the approach of quantity over quality. Reams of endless poor images,  quite blurry or poorly focused. Numbers of them written upon with ballpoint pen to explain what you are looking at!?! At times I would feel the need to take a quick cat nap trying to get through the heft of it all. Again, a bit of trickery is going on. The tattooer is taking photos of everything he does, which makes no sense really. Talented tattooers will take photos of work they are exceptionally proud of. Or perhaps of tattoos they know clients will find marvelous for one reason or another. As the portfolio grows to enormous for additional pages for its rings - they edit out older photographs to add the newer ones. Putting the old photos away for safe keeping - to pull out for a specific situation. Do not be dazzled with by the volume. Be cognizant of possible trickery.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
As I have said with any other list of advisement I have created about tattooing or piercing - always trust your gut. If you have doubts about the ability of a tattoo artists skills then wait. No matter how desperately you desire the piece that very moment. Regret is easy to come by when preparation and planning is tossed aside for speed.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

" 7 Good Reasons To Get Tattooed or Pierced Today."

You have thought about a particular tattoo design you totally dig for the last 2 years. Every time you venture out beautiful-and not so beautiful-inked skin is peaking out from under clothing. Your cool tattoo concept is beckoning to you silently... "Gee- wouldn't it look great on your forearm."

Perhaps you ran in to a friend - while chatting you see her dazzling new inner ear piercings with tiny glimmering jewels. It looked so darn cute on her! The mental pictures of those piercings are on your mind for days. Wondering if a new body adornment like your friends' may attract attention to your sleek, graceful neck.

Lets go down the list of good reasons to go ahead and dip your toes into the modification of your body / your temple.

1.Enjoyment of the art form itself                                                                                                      Seems like every one of us out there in the big bad world has their own story of when they first became fascinated with tattoos or body piercing. Sometime in our childhood we caught sight of an adult rocking something cool on their skin. We become entranced, then more aware of all the folks walking around the world with these cool alterations. As we grow into teenagers the thought of having are own body mods becomes as reality. If you were one of us, kids who never stopped being attracted tho ink and metal - you get the green light to go right ahead and get some work. Safe to say you have an appreciation that hasn't waned. You won't regret getting work - as long as its GOOD work. which leads us to....
"Mom" Heart Tattoo Stencil
2.You have done your research on shops and artists / piercers                                                 
This is a HUGE, time consuming step. Yet it is the most important one you can make. First, ask friends, coworkers and peoples who have work you admire where and who does their tattoos and piercings. Then, look up those shops online. Does the shop have an over all positive online reputation? Is there an artist on staff with a portfolio of work you respect for its craftsmanship and artistry? Very good, now head on down to that shop and meet the artist. Is he into your idea, or acting moody or bored? If things go well, step up and get started. If you are not feeling the energy of the artist or the shop they work in time to go back to the computer for more research.

3.Supporting a Loved One, Cause you Care About / Altruism                                                Don't misunderstand me, you can get tattoos and piercings for no reason at all. Gods know I have a hundred of those myself. "Just because" is a good enough reason when you like ink and metal. Nevertheless coming together as a group or family to mark a life event of importance with a permanent design on you body is very fulfilling in an indescribable way. The emotional bonding can be empowering for all involved. Almost like a little high develops between all those marked for the event - no matter joyous or saddening. Pink ribbons have been a tattoo Lucky 7 has done dozens of times. Ribbons with a newborns birthday and footprints are a lovely way to symbolize your family's' growth. What great mark can you share with your tribe for a big life event?
Mother/Daughter Nostril Piercings
by Kathleen Langley-Fortier and Kindra Acker
Lucky 7 Tattoo-North Lake Tahoe
4.Covering an old scar or a tattoo you never liked 
Somewhere on our layer of dermis lies a nick, cut or surgical scar. Some folks are never bothered by these marks along life's rough road.  Others can not stand the idea of some part of their body they dislike glaring at them daily, like a toothache. Is it not wonderful that we can bury these tears in our skin with the beauty of tattooing or jewelry? Good to know you can usually tattoo over a scar after only 9 months of healing the area. With old tattoos we no longer care for, they can be re imagined into something fresh you will like much better. Or perhaps they can be completely covered with a completely different design? Please see my other blog entry on cover ups for concise information on what can be done in your case.
Cover Up Tattoo
By Russell Fortier
Lucky 7 Tattoo-North Lake Tahoe
5.Modification to Help You Embrace an Area of your body You don't Like                               
 I love when clients make a choice to ink up an area of their bodies they dislike. So empowering! I for one have a few areas of my genetic construction I have never cared for. Rather than opt for a surgeons knife I have embraced those zones with colorful,  traditional pin ups. Makes me happy every time I see those big buxom ladies of past fashions emblazoned on my hide. What a great way to reset your brain to like an area of you body that use to drive you a bit nutty.
Traditional Cowboy Pin up
 By Russell Fortier
Lucky 7 Tattoo-North Lake Tahoe
6.Sex and Sexuality Can be Better with Piercings and Tattoos                                                            Perhaps you  have glimpsed some photo erotica that displays partners with genital piercings? Or some very phallic tattoo on a mans genitals. Well, in many cases these erotic piercings and tattoos can be a turn on for the person wearing them or their lucky partner encountering the artwork. A great deal of the excitement of coupling comes from the minds eye, rather than just the physicality of the moments together. A great many of the  public would be shocked to know who among them might have something a little "extra" in their undergarments! A few of the extreme piercings can be painful. Yet most are no more painful than a nose piercing.

7.In This Day and Age, We CAN get tattooed and pierced Without Judgement  
In 1985, when I had just turned 18 I craved a tattoo like a 5 year old craves candy! Off to San Francisco I went with a friend. On Broadway, I walked into a totally 80's biker shop - somewhat scared and wary of the staff. My treatment by these folks was less than polite- with the finished work lacking the cool look I had asked for. Once I got home my mother came unhinged with anger! How dare I "desecrate the temple God gave me! Only guys in the military and easy girls get tattoos." Blah de f@#$%*n Blah.
Well that was not too fun for my first time. Lots of negatives stacking up against me just for getting a small tattoo.
Thank the GODS once again this is no longer the case. As Mickey Knox said in Natural Born Killers: "Life is about choices...."                                                 It is delightful that we have so many good choices to select from . No more do we have to choose only from bikers and foul tempered wanna be rock stars. Great tattooers and piercers reside and work near you. Or may be located in an area you love to visit. The bottom line is, you do not have to settle!

Thanks for reading kids. Remember, your loyal Lucky 7 Tahoe staff is available to help and guide you through your tattoo or piercing process. Find us everywhere online, call or email at once.

Friday, November 8, 2013

" 7 Reasons Why You Should NOT Get Tattooed or Pierced " (at least not for the time being)

 Every one of us in the English speaking world has had the following little bit of pseudo wisdom bellowed at us in a life defining moment- this golden oldie  - this sadly moronic and quite over used rally cry :   " You only live once!"  Usually it is barked at us by so called friends who want us to follow in their treacherous footsteps. Doing something completely stupid, dangerous and possibly life altering. In many cases, liquor has been consumed, or we have not matured out of wearing superhero underwear. Therefore our decision making skills are under developed. By our partners in crime announcing "You only live once", it circumvents our "fight or flight" instinct - helping us make a move. Many times the wrong one we may regret later

2 happy, beautiful and smart young ladies
 w/ new septum piercings
done by Kathleen @ Lucky 7 Tahoe
14kt Yellow Gold OHM
Nostril Screw - Custom
Bend to fit
In this current social climate of  having zero patience,  the "I WANT IT NOW" mentality, many folks- especially youngsters - dive in to tattooing and piercings with almost no forethought to how it can affect every aspect of their future. Especially when it comes to their employment and social standing. These days the world has had so much more exposure to the entire scope of body modifications. No longer are homemade tattoos lumped in with beautiful Japanese panels. Quality and care in body modifications shows and can be appreciated. The public as a whole will look at your tattoos, judge their quality and the story they tell. Passing silent thoughts of admiration or judgement about you.

In the interest of helping you make the correct decision for yourself and your future, I offer the following list of solid questions to contemplate BEFORE you rush out to get work done. You choices in this moment can and will affect your future. It may place LIMITS on your available choices in the future.
"Panda Munching Bamboo" by Russell Fortier
@ Lucky 7 Tattoo & Piercing

  1. Someone is "making" you. If someone in your life is pushing you toward ANYTHING in a forceful or coercive manner do not do it. Especially when it is a permanent change to your being. Never be forced to "prove" anything to anyone who says they care about you-period.
  2. Depression or pain is prominent in daily life. Some of the worst choices we make for ourselves is when we do not feel good for whatever reason. You do not want to walk around with a permanent reminder of that terrible time in your life. Scaring your body will not help you heal. Get help for what ails you before doing something you may regret later. Wait to make big life decisions when you are at your best mentally and physically. No matter if it take 2 weeks or 2 years. Those super cool ideas your currently have will still be there when you are feeling better.
  3.  Your pain tolerance is very low. With piercing, this isn't as much an issue-unless you desire a complicated, multiple point piercing project. Almost all of us can handle a few seconds of mild discomfort that can occur with a well executed, much desired piercing. However, when it come to tattooing, pain tolerance - or lack there for of- WILL have a huge impact on various components to receiving a quality tattoo. Imagine how disconcerting it will be for your tattoo artist - to have created an awesome tattoo design - only to have its application come out poorly due to your own behavior. Moving around, moaning and being a pain in their ass in no way helps your artist to do the job you hired them to do. No one can perform at their best when their customer is being difficult. No matter the cause. Know your limits kiddo. Sample the pain with a small or dainty design before biting off a big slice of the pie. 
  4. You ALWAYS Have to Have the Newest & The Best est Thing. If you are trendy, always having to have the newest, hippest designer goodies I say pass on the body modifications. You may be happy for a short amount of time, taking pleasure in the NEWNESS of the modification. But once some time has passed, or someone says "Oh my friend has an Infinity knot on her wrist just like your." dismay will replace the high of the new purchase. You will no longer feel special or fulfilled by your tattoo or piercing. Stick with haircuts or handbags. 
    "Male Lion Head" by Corey Boobar &
    Lucky 7 Tattoo & Piercing
    Lake Tahoe, California
  5. Will your Family Cut you Off?  No tattoo or piercing is worth having your family disown you. When Grandmother says she will not pay for college if you get tattoos just WAIT! Being grown up, having to pay for everything in your life is over rated! Do not offend your blood by rebelling with ink and metal. Once you have broken their hearts it sure will be hard to put the pieces back together. If you really, really want the tattoo, you will still want it in 4 years. And hell, in four years with a degree in hand you may find.....  
  6. Employment Opportunities Depend on How You Look. Having a degree is great. However, its only one piece of your employee package. Do you think a tattoo on your neck is going to be a problem when applying for an entry level management position? You bet it is! Even the entry level jobs at fast food restaurants do NOT allow their employees to have more than a couple piercing in each ear. What makes you think some big boss is going to hire you,  paying  40 K a year when you look like you should be turning a wrench at Jiffy Lube?!? No matter how popular tattoos and modern piercings have become, their is still a stigma for those of us who choose to wear them. Have your game plan for income in place before getting hardcore with your modification placements.
  7. You Have Not done ANY research into Tattoo Artists, Body Piercers OR Shops. Put the brakes on Right This Minute! Walking in to the closest shop to your pad is rolling the dice with you looks and health! Ask a few people with good looking, healed work. Use Google Places for reviews. Check a few places out in person. Read my blog entries with shop selection suggestions - ANYTHING to assure yourself you will receive great work, in a fun yet professional atmosphere. Tattooers have a reputation for acting like rock stars - even when their tattoo skills suck. Do you want to spend hours of your time and lots of your hard earned cash with someone who acts like a horses ass? Who does not care about his work- because he just turns and burns that shops customers with crappy work all day - then moves on to the next crappy shop 5 miles down the road when word gets out about how bad the work is at his old shop....

"Filigree, Rose with Skull" by Russell Fortier
@ Lucky 7 Tattoo
Lake Tahoe, Ca.
(thanks S.W.)

Did my questions get you thinking? GOOD! Food for thought my darlings....

Coming up next in Lucky 7's Blog...."7 Reasons Why You Should Get a Tattoo & Piercing"


 Need some answers to your specific questions regarding what you want in a tattoo or piercing? Email me at - I and my staff will do our best to help.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

What is Going on With my Piercing !?! Your Problem Solving List from Lucky 7 Tahoe

Irritated from rubbing against clothing.

* My 21 years as a piercing professional is not a substitution for a piercing friendly, medical doctors treatment! Please consult a doctor immediately when you have any doubt about your health and well being.  

I know I know - you are a smart cookie! You did your homework before getting something pierced.  You ask folks with beautiful body mods for piercer recommendations. Visited piercing shops. Did a bit of online research. Yet months after the healing period for your particular piercing is suppose to be concluded-you are still having issues. Perhaps you have had the piercing for years, yet all of a sudden the hole is becoming fussy. Bothering you for no good reason. 

Lets go through some of the causes of why you may be having issues with your body adornment:

Granuloma from jewelry irritation

Piercing too shallow
and jewelry too large and heavy
for site.
  1. "Healing Times" are approximate. All piercing clients heal at different rates. If you are very fit and healthy your healing time may be much shorter than quoted. However, if you are smoking, drinking and living in life's fast lane-well that just slows down your over all immune systems performance. Recommit yourself to your piercing care program. Perhaps some Vitamin C added to your diet? Give it a go for at least a 2 additional weeks.   Most of the time you will see an improvement in days.                                                                                                   
  2. Did you change the starter jewelry to something more "fun"? A good deal of the time clients will want to put in different jewelry the very day the new piercing is suppose to be "healed". Sometimes  the method of jewelry removal or insertion can create irritation or discomfort where there was none before. Jewelry with a nickle content can bother piercing of any age. If I even wear a belt buckle with nickle in it I break out in a rash! Reinsert the jewelry your were pierced with. If it was the newly inserted jewelry causing problems you will see an improvement within a day or two.                                                          
  3. Did you prepare your piercing jewelry properly for removal and/or insertion? This is a crucial step for comfort with any piercing. Washing the piercing with mild soap and warm water is best. However, even cleaning the area with a moistened towelette will work. Clean the entire pierced surface with gentle motions. While there is still a dampness to the skin and jewelry, slowly remove the current jewelry. Take the new jewelry, clean according to directions. Then apply a tiny bit of essential oil to the end of the jewelry you will be inserting into your piercing. Use your other hand to hold the area taunt -this will  help guide the jewelry through that pretty tunnel. Wallah! Easy and pain free. Make sure to tighten any threaded end with clean and dry hands. Next time you bathe, rinse well.  Your bellybutton piercing will never "move" like your ear lobe piercings.                                                                      
  4. Is your jewelry the proper gauge, length or circumference for YOUR piercing? Irritation can be caused by ill fitting jewelry. Just because your friend can wear a 1/4 inch hoop in her nostril does not mean it will work for you! It doesn't mean something is wrong with your build, or that your piercers placement was not correct. Very best thing to do when buying new jewelry for the first time is patronize a good piercing shop-and be properly fitted with quality jewelry. Once you know what gauges + length or circumference fits best for you, then you can be sure never to waste money buying ill fitting jewelry again.                                                                                                                            
  5. Keep your hands away from the piercing! I cannot stress this enough. Many times clients have come into Lucky 7 complaining of having problems with their new adornment. While discussing the possible causes I will see these clients touch the piercing over and over again.  In my opinion, touching a piercing over and over again, especially without cleansing your hands first, will result in irritation at least, infection most likely.  I once read that humans touch their own face at least a few times every minute of the day.  Isn't that crazy!? So be sure you keep your hands away from the piercing site, except when caring for it according to your piercer's  instructions.                                                                
  6. What is your piercing coming in contact with during the course of your day? Clean pillowcases and wireless phones are very important for facial and ear piercings. Clean sunglasses/eyeglasses and headbands are also important. Pillows in a hotel, or at your loved ones home may have fresh cases. BUT it is what may be living inside the pillows filling that can cause problems. If in doubt, bring your own pillow for overnight stays during healing. If that cannot be done lay your own t-shirts over the pillow. This keeps your bodies own"flora and fauna" close-and others away!    Same rules apply to bed sheets, comforters, sleeping bags, etc. Take a mental inventory of all the fabric surfaces you piercings may be coming in contact with. Make sure they are clean, or that your piercing is guarded from contact if in doubt.                                                                                 
  7.  Irritation or Infection?   Very often piercing customers will contact us saying: "I think my piercing is infected." Most times, after we examine the pierced area, we  find the proper description would be irritated. The site may be pinkish, a bit of flaky skin surrounding the jewelry. A wee bit tender. Slight swelling.. A little dry crusty matter at the start or end of your day. All of these concerns our common in the first stages of healing - and are quite normal. Perhaps a change in your care procedure or product may help?  Most often the piercing just needs normal care and TIME to heal........However, if there is: PAIN -  YELLOW, GREENISH OR GRAYISH DISCHARGE OR PUS -REDNESS THAT IS SPREADING-HEAT AT THE SITE-SWOLLEN LYMPH NODES - FEVER-   do NOT take the jewelry out (as the hole with jewelry still inserted may help the area drain) and see a doctor at once!  Do not wait. If you procrastinate it could cause unspeakable damage to your over all health.   
                           When in doubt get some help from a qualified professional. Your friend who has "a lot of piercings" does not qualify. Sometimes our friends make us more scared than need be by telling us horror stories of piercings gone bad. In no way is that providing a solution to your situation my darlings! Remember that no one knows your body better than you do! Listen to your gut. Be proactive in YOUR PIERCINGS healing.

Kathleen Langley
Lucky 7 Tattoo and Piercing
Kings Beach-North Lake Tahoe, California      Email me at                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Friday, September 20, 2013

Being Your Own Hero..............

Everyone loves a hero.

As little girls we happily listened to bedtime stories of handsome young princes arriving on their white horse to rescue us from peril.

As adult consumers of goods and services, any professional who can problem solve issues in our over scheduled, jam packed lives is viewed as heaven sent.

With the art/industry of tattooing evolving a tremendous amount this last decade, heroes are needed to fix the mistakes of those wanna be tattooers who jumped on the bandwagon. They threw themselves into tattooing sans the proper art skills or serving an apprenticeship within an established shop.

The outcome we have all seen. Very mediocre looking tattoos everywhere you lay your eyes on exposed skin.
Biomech inspired cover up By Russell Fortier

A good deal of these tattoos could have turned out better.Just a little research, with a smidgen of self control, can keep bad choices from getting off the ground.

 If the tattoo consumer had just looked up the shop on YELP, City Search or Google Places or a dozen other online review guides - their inky mishap could be completely avoided.

They could have been their own HERO.

Rushing to a decision rarely works out well.

Learning patience will reward you in ways you cannot begin to imagine.
Feather Cover up By Corey Boobar

With tattoos, take your time to explore how others have conceptualized their similar design. Look past the first 10 pages in you GOOGLE IMAGES web search. Go back in time, before every tattoo had to have "meaning". Plenty of wonderfully cool tattoos have ZERO meaning to their owner. It is perfectly fine to get a tattoo that makes no sense to anyone but you - as long as you dig it, and you found an artist who wants to ink the pattern.

Koi Cover Up by Russell Fortier

When you approach your chosen shop/artist, be open to their knowledge. Those who are true tattoo artists will  guide you as to what works well in design. Be your own hero -be open to their feedback. If an artist tells you: "Its just not my thing to tattoo without a black outline." HEAR THEM. Be grateful for their honesty.

You can try another artist, or another shop. Never try to convince a tattoo artist  to do anything they have already declined to do. Hear them. Believe them. You have the ability to receive amazing tattoos.

Be mindful and patient. Be classy and smart. Be your own HERO.
Rose Cover Up By Russell Fortier

Monday, July 22, 2013

Never Burn Your Bridges - Think Before You Speak

We are cooking a bit up here at  The Jewel of the Sierras! With the heat comes the flat landers and visitors from all over the world. Some of the tourists are spending money this year. Its a nice change of pace from the last few summers - when the recession kicked off for us all in 2008. In the previous 9 months we here at L7T2 Tahoe have had the pleasure of serving clients, customers and friends who have not had the capital to visit the area, let alone buy extra cool services for the last 4 years. We are enjoying seeing all the old Lucky 7 clients once again!

"Americana Aviator Skull with Wings" by Jason A. Langley 
For the last two years, we have also been unable to find the right tattoo artist to join our family affair here. Had a few tattooers come and go for varies reasons - as I have told you about in previous blog entries. Let me tell you, having to turn away clients because we are already over booked kills me a bit each and every time. Alas, what do we have as a business if we do not have integrity? We can't just hire some mediocre, stuck up wanna be rock star to take up the slack. As a team we have chosen to just carry on as is. Having Corey and Russell do as much tattooing as they can - without letting them burn out.

This summer season the Gods decided to offer their help to us in a way I was not expecting. My ex husband Jason Langley has come to our rescue! Ex husband number 3 has gone out of his way to travel up interstate 80, from his home, young son and career working in Auburn CA's finest tattoo shop - to aid us during the busiest times of this season. Taking on numerous walk in customers, as well as lightening the load on my husband Russell and my other ex husband  Corey.

Working with Jason has been going even better than I had expected. As divorces go - ours was especially painful, for reasons I won't bore you with here. After my terrible first divorce at age 28 I learned to use old wisdom: NEVER BURN YOUR BRIDGES AND THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK. These simple rules has enabled me to work with Corey, and now Jason. Because my husbands and I did not lash out at each other at the end of our romantic relationships, saying or doing horrible things - we can be friends and work together. When you think about  "special someones" who have been, or currently are in your life - they were  always your friend with traits you totally dug about them. So why not try to evolve the friendship once the romance is over? If you keep the damage to a minimum, I know it is possible.
"Horse Head Microphone with Japanese Waves and Cherry Blossoms"
by Russell Fortier at Lucky 7 Tattoo & Piercing
North Lake Tahoe / Kings Beach, CA

Our shop is doing great things because all of us show one another respect. The common goal of being successful in our chosen professions drives the business.

Which brings me to the next topic I want to let you all in on: The T.V. pilot we mentioned a few years back. Finally I have some positive news for us all!

After many false starts and stops, Lucky 7 has filmed a mini pilot for the production arm of one of the top networks! It came to be after the producer who signed us knocked on many doors around the television business. So many of these companies loved the idea of a show, but held back because our business is tattooing. With television already offering so many reality shows based on tattooing, it was hard to find a company who was willing to take the large financial gamble on producing a pilot.

Right as the entire Lucky 7 crew  took a collective *sigh* of sadness that nothing was going to happen for us, !BOOM! came this offer.

So in June a small production crew flew up to our little neck of the woods, spending 3 days hanging out with the extended Lucky 7 family. They made us laugh, cry and tell out crazy tales. When the crew departed they said encouraging words. So far so good.

The footage the studio shot will be used to "sell" the show to the network, or passed on if we don't "cut the mustard." We should have a definite "yes mam" or "no go" in about 8 to 10 weeks. Being a praying woman myself, I ask all of you to say a little something positive to your Higher Powers for a positive outcome. In my heart I know a show based in North Lake Tahoe / Truckee would be great not only for Lucky 7, but also for the Tahoe area itself.

"Black Dream Catcher with Simple Script"
by Russell Fortier @ Lucky 7 Tattoo and Piercing
Kings Beach / North Lake Tahoe, Ca.

 Here's hoping I get to tell you some great news about the show in my next blog entry. Hope you all are enjoying your Summer, and planning a visit for new ink or metal with us soon as you're not busy with summer sun and fun.


Kathleen @ Lucky 7 Tahoe

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Random Splatter of Inky Advice from a Pagan Piercer

Lucky 7 Tattoo & Piercing- North Lake Tahoe
Yes, yes-I know what you are thinking. Why would the PIERCER from Lucky 7 Tahoe be giving advice on how to get a great tattoo?

Well darlings, it is so very simple. Not only am I covered with varying qualities of ink from 3 decades. Not only have 3 of my 4 husbands been tattooers- 21 years of my life have been spent working with tattoo customers in various shops in California and Nevada! As an employee, then an owner and operator. From a customer's tenuous first baby steps of just entertaining the idea of getting inked - to the actual creation of what that person has rolling around in their cranium.

So it is my pleasure to freely offer the Lucky 7 Tattoo Tahoe countdown of:  "7 Steps of Insider Advice  To Getting a Great Tattoo"

7. "Don't ask 1 person who their tattoo artist is-ask several."
       Even shitty tattooers can pull off an amazing piece once in a while. The chick you work with might have been that lucky one who got a really great set of wings on her foot from some guy who works out of his kitchen. But when that kitchen scratcher tries to pull off a  mountain sunset-YIKES!-you end up with a pile of doo doo. Ask anyone you see with ink that looks great. Remember, it does not have to be a design you would get yourself. If you see clean line work with a well thought out pattern, plus shading or color work that catches your eye-all are signs to check this artist out further. Perhaps on Yelp or Google Places? which leads us too....
Color Turtle By Russell Fortier @
Lucky 7 Tattoo

6.  "Do Your Own Research."                                                                  
        A great deal of our species are lazy. As a rule we want to do as little work as possible with a great reward after that little bit of work. However, this is not the way to go when buying a house or getting a tattoo. A few search queries now can save you heaps of cash and trouble later. You wouldn't want to buy a beautiful house in a neighborhood riddled with crack shacks, right?

It is not the tattooer's responsibility to make sure your German grandmother used the correct spelling and grammar when writing out your dead cousins favorite bible verse for your planned rib cage tattoo. The way you say it or write it is how they are going to produce it. Take the time to triple check every single thing you desire. Over the last 20 years we have had young fathers misspell their new infants names. Bible thumpers' blow the scripture that helped them get sober - in addition to countless other mishaps we have to fix when research isn't done before getting inked.

5.  "Match the Artist You Hire to the Portfolio You Liked."
       Sadly, some shops commit fraud by purposely bunching all their tattooers work together online. Not labeling who did which tattoos. When you go into these shops, browsing among the various portfolios, they will not let you know that the artist portfolio you loved is NOT the artist who is going to be the one tattooing you. They will say something like "anyone in here can do that tattoo, its easy." The goal of these types of shops is to just get your money, slapping your tattoo on you with a bare minimum of care or concern for your input. Moving you out the door quickly to get their hustle on with the next person who walks through their door.

This is simple to address! If you find someone you might like to work with, ask to speak to them. If they are unavailable at that time, ask to schedule a consultation. Do not let rude or discourteous staff persuade you to get inked by anyone other than the artist you have chosen. If they are rude, walk away completely. You are the master of your own temple!

Black & Grey Trees with Birds
By Russell Fortier @ Lucky 7 Tattoo Tahoe
4  "Draw or Sketch Your Ideas."

    It DOES NOT MATTER if you have child like skills! By putting your ideas onto paper it helps you get the tattoo you imagine. Clarity of your own ideas will help your selected artist create a cool, one of a kind tattoo. In addition, you teach yourself a bit about what may work and what may not. Trying to cram all your family members names inside a grape vine the size of a spaghetti noodle doesn't read well on paper- you will gain that knowledge by first trying it on your own! Your tattooer will think you are a super smart client for having made the effort on your own! Everyone wins with this action - your tattoo design will be more reflective of what you envision, your tattoo has an easier time developing your design, AND you can truthfully say the tattoo is what you had in mind when you dreamed of getting it!

   3  "Give Your Artist Plenty of Time to Do the Job"
           Each and every person under the age of 90 is living a busy life crammed full of responsibilities. Its just the way it is in the day and age. However, there are some things that should not be rushed. Your custom tattoo is certainly not one of them. Not only is it a bit rude to demand the tattoo be finished by a certain time, it almost guarantees the artist will not even attempt to do their very best. No one likes to rush when trying to create anything. Do not be a "toe tapper". Be open to the artist taking a few breaks. Stepping out for a smoke or to get a drink. This helps the artist perform better-thereby producing a better end product for your investment. So when booking your appointment, keep this point in mind.

Cute Cowgirl by
Russell Fortier  @
Lucky 7 Tattoo Tahoe
2    "Leave the Posse at Home"
          Some folks always feel more comfortable when having friends or loved ones near. However, when you are going through the designing and execution of your custom design-too many different tastes can create an impossible situation for your chosen artist.
Imagine yourself in the tattoo artist's position. Having more than the client directing the tattoo will become distracting, annoying, as well as difficult to produce. Also, my mother's taste is a complete 180 from myself. How about yours? I don't allow my mother to buy me socks-let alone "help" plan something I will have for this entire lifetime.
While making sure your spouse digs what you will be wearing on your body for the next 50 years is respectful and comforting-it is not helpful to the creation process in itself. You are a smart cookie yourself! Work on the design WITH your artist-don't hobble his artistic flow with random input from your mom. Trust your artist, and your own gut.
Cowboy Boots with Hat by  Russell Fortier
@ Lucky 7 Tattoo Tahoe
OK, Ready for the most unexpected advice-my most number ONE important advice most shops don't have the guts to tell you.....???
     1 " If It Does Not Feel Right- Walk Away"
           Many times I have said this mantra, its the best advice for ANY of life's little dramas. WALK AWAY if the situation is not working for you OR the artist. May it be the tattoo design itself, or that you do not care for the energy of the artist or the tattoo shop itself.
If you do not care for the design-explain to the artist what you want to see, give them a chance to come up with something you dig. BUT, if they have tried more than 3 times to sketch the tattoo, thank the artist and pay them for their drawing time. If the shop or artist isn't treating you professionally and friendly after your initial meeting, walk away. If you discover the shops tattoo area cleanliness to be lacking, walk away.  This is your body-do NOT settle.
Your chosen tattooer may work in a shop where they cannot decline a customer-even if they cannot produce the type of tattoo the client wants. This is due to greedy owners who only care about taking home maximum dollars. You must be on guard for this. The tattooer cannot tell you this is the shop policy. Sometimes the tattooer will say whatever they think you want to hear-just to get your butt in their chair. Do not be their dupe. WALK AWAY.

Less than 40 miles from my beautiful little tattoo and piercing shop is an overpopulation of 40 tattoo shops! Most of them opened in the last 10 years. Just in Reno, Nevada alone there is over 30. A few are very good-but most are awful. Even with all that competition, with the terrible shops trying to undercut prices and marginal quality- the good shops stay open and thrive. My shop is located in a town of less than 5000 full time residents.
 The key to us "good" shops  being busy and producing great tattoos is caring. Simple really-but so true. We care about what we put our name on. Be it skill, manners, service. We care. And that my darlings is what you need to do for you when getting tattoos. CARE.