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.