Tattoo FAQ

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The Tattoo FAQ is maintained by Stan Schwarz. You can retrieve a copy of the FAQ via anonymous ftp from the MIT FTP server:

Please note that this FAQ was last updated in 2007.


Purpose of this FAQ

This FAQ serves to disseminate information on the most frequently asked questions about the basics of tattoos and tattooing. If you are interested in learning more about the rec.arts.body art newsgroup itself, read the "What is rec.arts.body art" file that I post twice a month.

While body art has been around for thousands of years, it is currently experiencing an almost unprecedented popularity in the US and in Europe. However, the general population of developed countries still regard it with some disdain, especially against those who have a lot of any type body art. The purpose of this FAQ is not to raise these issues or to change such views, but to educate those who are interested in learning more about tattoos. Regardless of motive, tattooing is a very personal choice. Information in this FAQ should help you make a wiser decision about getting inked, since the reversing process is not easy.

I have tried to include the contributor's name and email address where possible, both for accountability reasons and for obtaining further information. Contributions, while welcome, may not always be added depending on whether they fit into the purpose of this FAQ.

Copyright and dissemination

Under the Berne Convention, this document is Copyright (c) 1997 by Lani Teshima-Miller, all rights reserved. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced electronically on any system connected to the various networks which make up the Internet, Usenet, and FidoNet so long as it is reproduced in its entirety, unedited, and with this copyright notice intact. Web sites are included. Individual copies may also be printed for personal use.

This document was produced for free redistribution. If you paid money for it, not only did you do so unnecessarily, but none of the money went to the person who did the work of producing the documents.

Sharing the files on an individual basis: You may copy, archive (ftp and web pages) and disseminate the entire set of FAQs electronically and in print on an individual, non-commercial basis. If you must break up the sections, break them up in the format already separated for you. Do not create your own sections. Do not add your own information in the FAQ.

Sharing the files through a BBS: If you maintain a BBS and wish to have these files available, please include a notice of how to obtain the most recent copy of the FAQs.

Creating your own html pages for WWW: Add whatever you want to your pages, as long as you leave my FAQs intact. 1.

While you are allowed individual copies of the FAQ, that does NOT mean my FAQ is in the public domain. To quote Jeffrey Knapp, "Lately, spaghetti publishers have taken to exploiting FAQs and lists, often publishing them without obtaining written permission. This is an abuse of copyright laws, and threatens the continued viability of the FAQ system which benefits us all."

All of my FAQs may be cited as: Teshima-Miller, Lani (1997) "rec.arts.bodyart _______* Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)" Usenet rec.arts.bodyart, available via World Wide Web:, ~180 pages *I maintain all of the tattoo files, "Alternate Body art" file, "Welcome & Netiquette" file, and the Purple Pages Directory.

You must obtain prior permission from me before you make the FAQs available commercially, including reproducing/distribution in any electronic or print format that is not a pointer to the archives (e.g. CD-ROM, diskettes). I usually give permission as long as I get a copy of your product.

You need not obtain special permission to quote parts of this FAQ for academic research purposes (although you must cite this FAQ).

If you are not sure how to cite electronic information, a must-have is _Electronic Style: A Guide to Citing Electronic Information_ by Xia Li and Nancy B. Crane (Westport, 1993). It will tell you how to properly cite FAQs, posts, private email as well as FTPs, etc.

if you are a media reporter or journalist you are explicitly requested to email me prior to using material in, or quoting from this FAQ. I will respond to you personally and will often provide you with additional quotable sound bites if you wish.

I will gladly accept submissions from artists interested in discussing technique, style, or the reasons they got into the field.

This FAQ was originally compiled by Paul Davies (Synthetic Man) with contributions from various people. The rights and responsibilities to maintain this FAQ was passed on to Lani Teshima-Miller in Summer 1993, and has since grown in size by at least 350%. It was passed to Stan Schwarz in 1998.

If you would like to offer suggestions, ideas or submissions, please email me.

If I have any advice for those who decide to get inked, it is: shop around, ask many questions, don't fret the cost, always ask to look at the artists' sample photos and to get something that's custom and meaningful.==== Table of contents ==== The 9 parts of the Tattoo FAQ files of rec.arts.bodyart, and the information provided in each:


2/9--Getting a tattoo: Does it hurt? Should I get one at all? WHY do I want one? Religious (Christian) arguments A temporary alternative? Where do I find a good artist, and what should I look for in a tattoo artist? How to look around in the shop Asking to see their portfolio What to look for in their portfolio What kinds of questions to ask What sorts of things to look for in a shop How much does it cost to get a tattoo? How should I act once I get in that chair? Where on my body should I get a tattoo?

3/9--Sanitation: Can I get infectious diseases from tattoo needles? What to look for in a sanitary shop environment. Can I get AIDS from tattooing? Can my tattoos get infected? How to look for sterilization Are there any medical conditions that will preclude me from getting a tattoo? What is the Alliance of Professional Tattooists?

4/9--Conventions: When and where are upcoming conventions? Tattoo Conventions: What are they all about? What types of conventions are available? Why would I want to attend? What's the format? What's the atmosphere? What kind of tattoo contests are there? Can I actually get a tattoo at a convention? What else can I find at these conventions?

5/9--Artist list Who is a good/bad tattoo artist near me? US West Coast. US Midwest. US Southeast. US East Coast. Canada. EUROPE/UK. EUROPE/POLAND. ASIA/Japan

6/9--Care of new tattoos: General advice from a medical doctor. What are some bad things for my new tattoo? Sauna or steamroom. Sunlight. Preparation-H. How do I care for my new tattoo?. Suggested Method 1: The Minimal Moisturizer Method. Suggested Method 2: The Pat-with-Listerine Method. Suggested Method 3: The Wait-24-Hours-to-Take-Off-Dressing Method. Suggested Method 4: The Coconut-Oil-Itch-Relief Method. Suggested Method 5: The Huck Spalding Method. Suggested Method 6: The Noxzema Method

7/9--General care/removal: How does weight gain/loss affect a tattoo? How does lifting weights affect a tattoo? How does pregnancy affect a tattoo near the abdomen? Can a tattoo be removed? Get it reworked--cover-up. Get it reworked--touch-up. Get it removed--Tissue Expansion. Get it removed--Sal Abration. Get it removed--Staged Excision. Get it removed--medical lasers. Innovative Government Incentive Program for Tattoo Removal. One person's decision toward tattoo removal

8/9--Misc. info: Are there glow-in-the-dark tattoos? Where can I get a Japanese "irezumi" tattoo? When did tattooing start? How does a modern tattoo machine work? How long do I have to wait before I can donate blood? Tattoos and allergies. Tattoos and MRI. How do I become a tattoo artist?

9/9--Bibliography: Are there references about tattoos I could look up? Tattoos in movies and videos. Newspaper articles about tattoos/bodyart. Magazine and journal articles about tattoos/bodyart. Books about tattoos/bodyart (reviews where available). Tattoo organizations. Resource material for custom tattoo design ideas. Current tattoo magazines in print

The one-part Alternative Bodyart FAQ has the following: What is branding and how is it done? What is scarring? What are cuttings?

What to expect in upcoming revisions

--List of artists (ongoing) --What kind of colors are available? What are the inks made of? What is it about red ink that causes allergic reactions in some? --Where can I get good ideas for designs? Part of a bibliography. Note: In part 9 there is an extensive bibliography on Celtic design resources by tattooist Pat Fish. --How is"traditional" tattooing done without the tattoo machine? --What is the history behind Japanese tattoos? How is it done? --What Polynesian islands were into tattooing? --What tat magazines can I look at for examples of artists' works? --Are there any tattoo museums I could visit?

Getting a tattoo

Does it hurt?

This is the first question in this FAQ because it's usually the first question that people ask. The answer is yes. Having needles pierce your skin hurts. The proper question is 'How much does it hurt, and can I handle it?'

It's not nearly as bad as what you might imagine. The pain comes from the cluster of needles on the tattooing machine piercing your skin rapidly. This sensation, however, doesn't feel like the pain of an injection - it's more of a constant vibration. You will be amazed at how quickly your body releases endorphins, which dulls the pain significantly.

The pain will vary depending where on your body you get tattooed. Skin right above bones tend to be more painful than other areas. In addition, certain types of needles seem to hurt more than others.

NOTE: Do not drink alcohol or take drugs for pain relief purposes prior to your tattoo session(s). Both aspirin and alcohol thin blood and promote excessive bleeding. Aspirin also decreases the clotting of blood, which will slow down healing.==== Should I get a tattoo in the first place? ==== Your reading this may mean you're already interested in getting a tattoo, or may know someone who is. In a survey of 163 tattooed men and women, a third of them had regretted their tattoos! While most of this FAQ discusses the process once you've decided to get one, let's pause for a moment.

Why do I want one?

People get tattoos for different reasons. However, because of the permanency of your tattoo, try to look at yourself in five, 10, or even 20 years. What will you be doing at that time? You might be a free-spirited college student now, and a web of vines on your wrist would look really lovely. However, are you planning to work in a very conservative field after you graduate? Will others look at your tattoo in a bad way? Will you have to hide it? Are you willing to wear long sleeve shirts?

Removing tattoos is difficult and costly. Expect to pay $1,000 to remove even a fairly small-sized tattoo if you're looking at laser surgery. Expect to have a noticeable scar if you go with a non-laser technique. Expect to pay for every penny out of your own pocket because health insurance companies will not pay for tattoo removal. There may not be a laser surgery specialist in your area.

Religious (Christian) Arguments

Written by: Chris Wayne ([email protected]), originator of RAB and a self-professed Christian.

A word to the religious: In Leviticus 19:28, it says not to tattoo "I am the Lord" on you. It does not say you can't mark yourself at all, and it does not say there's anything wrong about piercing. What it does say is that it prohibits mutilating yourself for the dead, which was a senseless practice at that time. But for Christians, they are no longer bound by the Law. The Talmud even mentions that it's not the tattooing that is wrong, but what the tattoo is of (i.e. if the tattoo is an image of a false god as opposed to a plain design).

There are probably many 'prim & proper' Christians that have had the urge to get tattooed, but have repressed it because they believed it was a sin. If you really believe that it is a sin, then it is. But is getting tattooed really a sin? If it draws you away from Christ or causes someone else to stumble, yes. But tattooing isn't any more special than anything else we distract ourselves with.

Take things in moderation at your speed. We are to deny ourselves of things if they cause us to lose sight of Jesus (for some, it could be driving a car, getting married, having children, going to work, smoking, abusing drugs & alcohol, disrespect, etc.). If you have good discernment, you know what distracts you from Christ and what doesn't.

Tattooing isn't inherently evil; it got it's 'evil' status because godless people from places like the South Pacific were tattooed. Do what pleases god; and one thing that pleases God is to be confident in oneself. Tattooing can bring out that confidence, because to be tattooed requires commitment. And that's a conquering power over fear.

Some Christians will claim that drinking any amount of alcohol is a sin, but the medical community is saying that 2-3 drinks a day is good for the heart. Drink responsibly. So, for those that have repressed getting a tattoo because of family or religious upbringing, just do it. If it's not for you, fine - but don't ruin it for others.

Tattooing in no way marks who's saved and who's not. Religion, when improperly used, is dangerous. Christianity has wasted a lot of valuable time trying to influence people in believing unimportant things are evil instead of spreading the word of god. Christianity has looked down on tattooing far too long.==== A temporary alternative? ==== A) For those who might not be ready for the plunge, but are seriously considering what it would look/feel like to have a tattoo, Julian ([mailto:[email protected]]) recommends a particular type of temporary tattoo that uses very light Japanese rice paper. He says these are of very high quality, and last about two weeks WITH CARE. I have had the phone number confirmed recently so they are still in business. Note: will the only time I'll discuss *temporary* tattoos.

Don Ling's Removable Tattoos & Fantoos, 507/956-2024

P.O.Box 309 Butterfield, MN 56120

or 102 2nd ST. South Butterfield, MN 56120

Temptu now has a web page at which describes their products. The following is from Roy at Temptu:

"The rice paper temporary tattoo you...mention is made in New York by Temptu studios. It is a cosmetic ink printed on an archival cigarette-like tissue paper. Special cosmetic inks are then used to paint in the 'tattoo.' The result is totally realistic, waterproof, and longlasting (yep, up to 2 weeks!)

This process was used in Cape Fear on Robert de Niro, Once Were Warriors, and currently on Sean Penn at the end of Dead Man Walking. Also see Bruce Willis' Head in 12 Monkeys. It was invented by Dr. S. Zuckerman for the film Tattoo (Bruce Dern/Maude Adams in 1981).

Often we are asked to create at temporary tattoo for someone who wants to 'test drive a tattoo,' so they can decide on position, color, before deciding what and where.

Temptu primarily develops semi-permanent body art. Current interests include working on a 'safe' and legal line of tattoo inks, airbrush body art, and Indian Mehandi (henna). I work closely with the New York Body Archive, a strange and wonderful place!"

Roy adds one of comment: "I'm frequently asked about the six-month tattoo you mention in FAQ. East Coast people say it's available in California. But this is bullsh*t. No such animal!"

B) For some, the easiest thing to do is draw on the skin with a non-toxic marker. In fact, many people who already have tattoos do this to figure out placement and design. If you want it to wash off right away, use something temporary. Crayola's washable markers work well. I you wanna see if you can live with a design for a couple of days, try a permanent marker like a Sharpie.

C) MEHENDI: In some countries like India, brides are covered from head to toe with intricate bridal wear. To try to show off as much of what skin they can show, they paint their hands and forearms with something called henna. Henna, when applied correctly, stains the skin and can last several weeks. Mehendi has become popular with the mainstream, with a number of Mehendi tattoo shops cropping up in some cities including Berkeley and Los Angeles.

Part of the process of getting a tattoo is coming to terms with its permanency.

Debunking of urban folklore - Someone asked to confirm a rumor about the possibility of temporary tattoos obtainable by using a tattooing machine very shallowly on the skin, to have the tattoo last only six months or so.

Several professional tattoo artists replied with a very strong no. There is no way to be able to prevent the needles from entering the second layer of skin (the dermis), where tattoo inks normally go. Further, even if the tattoo machine only enters the top layer of skin (the epidermis), you will end up with too much scarring that the tattoo will never really go away.

Considering the time, cost and pain factors, this is not an option - and no professional tattoo artist will want to experiment.

A proprietor posted on RAB about a "new! discovery!" of a temporary tattoo that was removable after a couple of years. All efforts by various reviewers and professionals to confirm the validity of this product have been unsuccessful - this product, whatever it is being touted as, is not reliable.

The decision process - making the big plunge: Where can I find a good tattoo artist, and what should I look for in a tattoo artist?

The bane of the tattoo world is an unprofessional artist called a scratcher. A scratcher is somebody who:

  • Does not have the proper training in either tattoo art or of running a professional operation
  • Does not know and/or care to use responsible sterilization methods
  • Promises to provide tattooing services for an incredibly low fee, for free, or in exchange for drugs
  • Chooses not to apprentice through a legitimate tattoo shop
  • You should stay away from.

Never get work from a scratcher unless you are willing to accept all the hazards listed above.

Of those in a study by Clinton Sanders who regretted their tattoos, more than two-thirds of them regretted their tattoo because of poor quality.

Looking for an artist can be as easy as checking the Yellow Pages or as complex as checking references, magazine photos and reading RAB. There are a number of ways to find good artists, including (but not limited to):

  • Tattoo magazines. While not all tattoo magazines are of the National Geographic quality, they will speak for themselves. Some issues highlight specific artists' works. Use the photos in the magazines to compare with those of the artist you are interested in. These magazines have done a lot to show what is possible. Some things to look for in magazines:
    • Style
    • Placement
    • Ideas
    • Size/proportion
    • Artists whose work you like.
  • Reading RAB and this FAQ. It'll give you a base in which to start. If you live in an area where an artist is not listed in the FAQ, you might want to post a query. If you saw an artist whose work you liked in a magazine, see if they're listed in the FAQ. If not, post a query. Remember, the artist list FAQ is limited because we only take first-hand recommendations from people who read RAB. There are many artists who are excellent who have not worked on RAB participants.

You can approach this one of two ways; You can either go to a shop because someone recommended the artist, or you can go in cold. For obvious reasons, you will have a little more information with you if you already know something about the artist. This may make you feel more at ease when going into a shop for the first time.

Many of the top-notch artists recommended in this FAQ are very busy and work on an appointment-only basis. Visit their shop anyway, you will still learn about them even if it doesn't mean getting work done right away.

Body art enthusiast Dr. Kai Kristensen <[mailto:[email protected]]>, a pathologist and a recently retired lab director of an internationally prestigious medical center in La Jolla (California), says the most important aspects of a good result are to:

  • Choose an experienced, knowledgeable performer who knows about Sterilization and avoidance of infection.
  • Avoid Infection during the healing process.

With both of those bases covered, healing of either should be non-eventful and the desired appearance should be guaranteed.

What kind of design should I get?

What images do you think of when you think of a tattoo? Do you think of anchors? Roses? Skulls? While these traditional images are still available, you will be surprised at the variety you will find today.

There are two basic types of tattoos - Flash and custom. As you can imagine, "custom" means you have a design you like that you take in with you. Flash is the stock designs you see on the walls of the shop.

The main thing to remember is that you're not required to choose from the selection of flash in a shop. You're not limited to just an anchor, a rose or a skull. Remember, however, that these smaller pieces of pre-priced flash are the bread & butter of many shops, since they are proportionately expensive ($75 for 20 minutes' work, for example where an artist might charge $100 an hour for custom work). Also, the number of customers who lay out the big bucks for large, elaborate custom pieces is too small to keep a regular shop in business.

A few of the major styles of tattooing:

BIO-MECHANICAL: A style popularized by illustrator H.R. Giger, who designed the creature from the Alien movies. Bio-mechanical work usually involves an anatomical flesh intertwined with some technical drawings of machines. A close relative of this style involves just the biological look of flesh without the mechanical parts.

BLACK & GREY: Refers to the colors used, this style requires the artist to have advanced shading techniques for subtlety.

Celtic: Beautiful, intricate knot-work of the Celts These are much harder for artists to do, and is best done by someone who specializes in it. Usually done in just black ink.

Oriental: Big, bold pieces of Oriental images (carp, clouds, dragons, etc.) based on the Ukiyo-e woodblock prints of 18th Century Edo-period Japan.

PORTRAIT: Images taken from photos, best done by someone who can render realistic photographic images. Usually done in black and grey ink.

Sailor Jerry: Traditional sailor tattoo style made famous by Jerry Collins in Honolulu.

Tribal: Usually bold simple lines, simple patterns. Almost always done with just black ink.

With a good artist working for you, you can get practically any image you like. Accomplished artists can render portraits, wildlife, psychedelic and biomechanical styles with impressive results. Your main challenge is to find the artist who can best do the design YOU want.

What kind of colors can I get?

Concerned that you'll end up with a greenish tattoo with little bits of red or yellow? Worry no more! Today's inks run the entire gamut - and it would not be ridiculous to take a Pantone color chart with you!

Most tattoo inks are metal salt-based pigments that are not made specifically to be used under the skin, and have not been approved by the FDA for this purpose. The idea is that for most people, these pigments are inert and cause no problems. Some people have been known to have allergic reactions; any reputable artist should be willing to provide you with a small "patch test" of the colors you desire. This is required in the state of Arkansas.

Tattooist Uncle Bud Yates (Pikes Peak Tattooing) says some artists use acrylic-based pigments, which he feels may be more troublesome than the metal-based pigments for some with sensitive skin. Ask your artist first.

How to look around in the shop

Don't let the shop intimidate you when you first walk in. Strange smells, strange sounds. Some shops even try to look intimidating to create a tough-guy feel. Just keep in mind that you're a potential customer. Consider it window shopping.

The first thing you should do is take a minute to look around. Chances are, you'll encounter some flash (stock illustrations) stapled on the walls. These will most likely lean toward the traditional; Skull and crossbones, roses and the like.

Asking to see the portfolio

Do not be impressed by the flash on the wall. These illustrations are usually purchased from other artists and do not represent the work of your artist. Frankly, anyone with some experience can easily trace and fill the outlines of these illustrations. Take a look at a book that contains a collection of

the artist's work. Go to the counter and ask to see one. If they tell you they don't have one, leave. You're visiting the shop to commission a piece of permanent art; for the artist to tell you they don't have samples in a portfolio is unprofessional.

What to look for in their portfolio

When you do look at their portfolio, there are a few things to keep in mind. Do you see any that you recognize from flash walls or books? If so, how

is it rendered in tattoo format? Before anything else, check to see that the lines are clean. Are they well-defined? Straight where they should be; not shaky or blurry? Are the borders all uniform in width? Do the colors seem true? Are they bright? Proportionately correct?

Look at the people in the book. This can be an indicator of the clientele in the shop (besides looking at the ambiance of the shop). Is there a fair mix of women and men in the book? Are they all sporting "biker" tats, or any one particular genre/style?

Skill in the artistry comes in the shading, use of colors and other subtle things that set an artist apart from a simple tattooist.

Do you see anything in the portfolio that is not in the flash? These are the custom pieces that the artists have done, and they should be their crowning glory. How do they look? If there is more than one artist working in the shop, and you see some photos you like, make sure to find out which artist did the work.

What kinds of questions to ask

Some reasonable questions to ask in your conversation that shouldn't take too much time for the artist to answer:

  • What is their favorite style?
  • Is there any one particular subject they like to do?
  • How long has the shop been here?
  • How long have they been at the shop?
  • How long have they been tattooing?
  • Do they get a lot of custom work?
  • Do they use apprentices at the shop?

Don't let the looks of the artist intimidate you. Tattoo artists usually have a lot of tattoos themselves. You need to talk with them and get a feel for what they are like. If you feel comfortable,

you may want to broach the subject of what you're interested in getting done.

Be polite, don't linger and overspend your welcome if you don't plan on getting any work done at all.

Another consideration

If the design you choose contains any text at all, be sure to proofread it and agree on it beforehand. If not, you might end up with misspellings or something lost in translation if it's in a different language.==== What sorts of things to look for in the shop ====

Looking critically at the shop is as important as choosing your artist. Make sure the place is clean. Make sure the artist uses disposable, single-use needles, and uses an autoclave for all other equipment. Don't be afraid to ask them, either.

What does the shop look like? How is the atmosphere? If you are a nonsmoker, will cigarette smoke bother you? Do the work areas offer you any privacy?

Try to go and visit and then come back another day. Try and talk to some people that have experience with the artist. You should feel comfortable with the artist. If you don't, then don't get a tattoo from them.

Make sure the artist is willing to listen to you and respects what you want. The artist may make suggestions, but the final word is always yours.

Finally, make sure you take their business card with you. If the artist you talk to does not have his/her own card, jot down the name on the back, and perhaps some notes to yourself about the shop and the artist.

RESPECT: What to ask from artists?

It has been brought to my attention that some tattooists have an attitude problem when it comes to potential customers. Tattooists (and piercers!) people from all walks of life may be interested in body art.

A potential customer shouldn't feel out-of-place or ashamed for walking in wearing a business suit or an LL Bean dress. It is amazing to think that someone with purple hair and eyebrow rings could actually discriminate against someone, but apparently, it happens.

Just as a customer should expect certain sanitation standards, they should also expect an inviting atmosphere.

Are tattoo shops insured?

Most reputable tattoo shops are insured. The problem is, they're usually insured against premises liability. This means that they have insurance coverage if you fall and hit your head on their floor, but not if you're unhappy with their work. In the past, the only insurer who would cover the latter was Lloyd's of London, and their rates were apparently very high.

This has changed recently, with the availability of a comprehensive insurance package available from one agent based on the West Coast. Many shops do have some form of insurance (this may be a requirement in their rental lease). Just keep in mind that the insurance does not necessarily cover quality.

How much does it cost to get a tattoo?

This is an old debate, so the following is basic. You usually pay for work either by piece or by hour. The smaller pieces in the artist's flash book are "standard stock" material that usually don't take the artist too long to do. For these, you might find prices listed right next to the artwork. The artist may have a minimum charge that vary with each artist.

Large and/or custom pieces will usually be charged by the hour (unless you and the artist decide beforehand on the total price). If you get a "stock" piece (probably about 2" x 2" in size), you will probably not pay more than $100 and sit no longer than an hour in the chair.

If you bring your own design, the artist may charge anywhere from $50 to a few hundred dollars an hour. However, you may want to work with someone who charges $100 or so an hour; after all, you get what you pay for. Also, some artists charge for illustration time prior to beginning tattoo work. If they do, this might increase your price. If they tell you that your piece will be charged by the hour, ask them how many hours they think it'll take.

Price negotiation should be up front and straightforward, a part of your initial discussion before work begins. Some shops take credit cards; most don't. Out-of-towners may be asked to put down a deposit. Be particularly wary of people willing to work "for cheap" or "for free".

Warning: Once the artist quotes you a price, it's final. The best way to get on the artist's bad side is to try to bargain with the price. If you think the price is too high, renegotiate the scope of the artwork, not the price.

If you are very pleased with their work and service, you are strongly encouraged to tip the artist, even if they own the shop. Even shop owners don't pocket 100% of what they make (remember--it's a business!). Be prepared with cash on hand.

I personally recommend a tip for any work which you are pleased with, or any custom work where the artist spent time drawing up your illustration (since drawing time is usually not included in your price). Nothing brightens up a day for the artist, or helps to build a friendly relationship with your artist more than a tip. If you're very happy with the artist and you think you might get more work from them later, tip.

There have been heated discussions on rec.arts.bodyart in the past regarding the appropriateness of tipping a shop owner. If you feel that an owner does not deserve a tip on top of the price they charge you, then do not tip, or bring some sort of offering.

Many tattoo artists have told me that the best tip is good word of mouth. If you are happy with your tattoo, show it off to your friends and tell them where you got it done.==== How should I act when I get in that chair? ==== Once you have settled on a design and a price that you and your artist agree on, the work will either begin right then, or you will be asked to come back for a later appointment if they're already busy.

Once you're in that chair, what can you expect? Most likely, the artist will begin the long process of preparing for your work. This is especially true if the artist is going to do a custom design. Most artists will play around with the design on paper first, although some artists will do freehand. Freehand means the artist takes an ink pen to hand and begins drawing a design on your skin without the use of a stencil (not where the artist begins work with the tattooing machine immediately. The artist, no matter how good, still needs to see how the work will look on you - proportion, placement, etc.).

When you and the artist are happy with the design, the artist might outline the design with a piece of carbon paper, or use an old-fashioned copy machine to get a working copy of it. This would be when the artist would properly size the design. The artist will then clean your skin where the work will be done (probably an alcohol or antiseptic rub), and wipe your skin with an "adhesive," which is usually Speed Stick deodorant. The artist will then put the carbon side of the design directly on your skin. When the paper is lifted, a carbon line drawing of the design should appear on your skin.

The artist will probably let you look in a mirror to make sure you are happy. Once this is agreed upon, the artist will then begin putting the supplies out.

Your artist should be doing things like dispensing various colors of ink into little disposable wells and rigging a new set of needles into the tattoo machine. It is best for you to try and relax. You can ask the artists about some things, like the colors of the ink. Depending on the work you are getting, the artist will need to mix some colors. It will help if you are not there on an empty stomach. Get a bite to eat about an hour or two before you go in for your session. Having hard candy or some juice on hand during the session is also recommended.

The artist will start the machine and dips the needle into the ink to begin. Will it hurt?

It does hurt! Don't forget to breathe. Relax.

The most painful part of the process will pass in a couple of minutes, after which the area will feel abuzz with electricity and warmth. Just try to relax and breathe deeply. Enjoy the experience. Oftentimes, you end up clenching your jaws, grinding your teeth or grasping the chair, but once you pass the first couple of minutes, you'll feel silly for having worried about it so much. If you still feel uncomfortable after a few minutes, it may be because you're sitting in an uncomfortable position. See if you can get into a more comfortable, reclining position, but make sure to ask the artist first before you try to move.

Some people try to distract themselves by trying to talk with the artist.

Most people can sit through over an hour of work, but if you get uncomfortable, just ask your artist if you can take a break. If you feel woozy, you might consider bringing some candy with you to give you a little lift, or some water to drink.

Where on my body should I get a tattoo?

Simply put, anywhere. The ONLY places you cannot technically get permanent tattoos are your hair, teeth and nails.

Head: refers mostly to the area where your hair grows. You'll need to shave the area for the tattoo to be most visible. If you need to hide your tattoo, you can grow your hair out. Areas more commonly inked are the sides of the head above the ears and above the nape of the neck in the back. There are people who have their entire heads inked.

Back of neck: You'll need to keep your hair short or tied up to keep it visible.

Face: Various areas possible. Facial tattoos could fall into the cosmetic or standard categories. Cosmetic would include darkening of eyebrows, eye-lining, lip-lining, etc.

Upper chest: One of the standard areas for tattoos. Allows lots of flat area in which to get a fairly large piece. One of the areas where you can choose to get symmetrically inked on both sides.

Breasts: be cautious about eventual sagging of the skin.

Nipples: Usually the artist leaves the nipples alone. The omission of ink isn't very noticeable.

Rib cage: Can be painful because of all the ribs you work over. However, it offers a fairly large area and can be incorporated into a major back piece, wrapping around toward the front.

Stomach/Abdomen: Some people choose not to get work done on their stomachs for a couple of reasons. Area is difficult to work on because there's no solid backing to hold the skin down. It is a sensitive area that may feel uncomfortable.

Genitals: The idea may sound very painful, but it's not that bad. Consider the stretchiness of the skin and the amount of movement the area experiences. Fine detail is extremely difficult. The penis does not have to be erect during tattooing. The only female genital tattoo I've seen (inner labia, I think) was in Modern Primitives, and it looked rather blurry.

Thighs/hips: A popular area to get larger pieces (often extending from the hip area). The entire area of skin around your thighs is bigger than your back, so you can get a lot of work done.

Calves: Good area to get a standard size (2" x 2"). If you have very hairy legs, it may cut down on the visibility somewhat.

Ankles: You can either get a spot piece on the inner or outer ankle, or get something that goes around in a band.

Feet: Concealable with shoes. Probably don't have as much wear and tear as hands so you might get less blurring and color loss. Artists usually only tattoo the top of your feet. You will have trouble retaining a tattoo on the bottom of your feet.

Armpits: Usually reserved for those who want to get full coverage around the arm and chest area and need the armpits filled. Not recommended for the ticklish.

Upper arms: Consider how much sun it's going to get. Will you be able to put sunblock on it regularly? If not, expect some color loss and blurring. If you want some serious work done and you wanna show it off, you may want to consider getting a half sleeve.

Inner arms: This area is often not easily visible. Be cautious of arm flab.

Forearms: You can have your upper arm "sleeve" extend down for a full sleeve.

Wrists: easily hidden with a jewelry.

Hands (fingers and palms): RAB receives frequent queries about fingers, palms and hands in general. Some artists don't do hands because the ink will have a tendency to blur or fade easily. Consider that you probably move your hands the most out of your entire body.

Shoulder blades: Concealed with standard t-shirts.

Back: Any part of your back can be done. Back pieces that encompasses your entire back are popular. Expect to pay several thousand dollars and many sessions.

Buttocks: beware of potential sagging.


Can I get infectious diseases from tattoo needles?

There has been some concern recently regarding transmittable diseases (particularly Hepatitis-B and AIDS [HIV]) and tattoo shops. As long as the area is strictly sanitized, your chances for infection will are reduced.

Note: If you plan on getting lots of body art (pierces or tattoos), you should seriously consider getting immunized against Hepatitis-B. Hep-B is a much more serious concern than HIV as the virus is much more virulent and easier to catch.==== What to look for in a sanitary shop environment ==== The current popularity of tattooing and body piercing has also brought an increase in potentially hazardous conditions. RAB regulars have begun posting information on unsanitary practices. For this reason, I am posting the following guideline of what to look out for (in this situation, "artist" refers to both tattooists and piercers):

  • Lighting: The area must be well-lit.
  • Counter and floor space should be lightly colored so

dirt shows up easier.

  • The spray bottle the artist uses on your skin should be disinfected

between customers, or some kind of protective film such as Saran Wrap should be used.

  • Disposing needles: All needles must be either discarded after EACH use

(or at least with each new customer), or autoclaved. Many body piercers operate out of small booths and may not have spent money for an autoclave, in which they must dispose of each needle. no exceptions.

  • Needles touching other things: The needles, once open from their

sanitary packages, must not be placed on unsanitized surfaces. The piercer should not set the needle down on the table or have the needle touch the ground. If this happens and they don't get a new needle, insist they do.

  • Gloves: The artist must wash their hands prior to putting on their

gloves, preferably with an antibacterial/antiseptic solution. Once they put their gloves on, they should not touch anything other than your skin, the needle, and the jewelry. They should not be filling out receipts beforehand, or answering the phone unless these have been wiped clean beforehand.

  • Is there a sink separate from the bathroom sink?
  • Does the artist use a disposable razor when shaving skin?
  • The Speed Stick used as an adhesive for the tattoo pattern should not be

directly applied to the skin, but applied first to a tissue which can then be used on the skin.

  • Autoclaves should be inspected regularly.
  • Sterile materials should be stored in sealed containers away from

things that could cause body fluids or ink to splash on them.

  • The palate that holds the ink caps should be covered.
  • After tattooing, the ink caps should be discarded, and the ink not

reused poured back into the bottles. Be particularly wary of outdoor fair booths. While many are run by caring, experienced artists, these booths allow fly-by-night operators to make some fast money and disappear. If you don't know the artist, spend time watching them work on others first. Are they reusing needles? Do they use needles that have dropped on the ground? If you see any unsanitary conditions that are particularly alarming, post them to RAB. If you feel uncomfortable naming names, then withhold the specifics for private email. It is each customer's right to guard against getting a contamination. Worse, If you have had more than one tattoo or piercing within several months, it will be difficult for you to prove which artist was responsible!

Can I get AIDS from tattooing?

IMPORTANT NOTE: This section refers to tattooing specifically, and not to other forms of body art. Piercing and cutting require the breaking of the client's skin to a deeper level than what is achieved with a modern tattoo machine. This section on AIDS & Tattooing has been contributed by Nick Baban, who studied at University of Michigan School of Public Health, Dept. of Epidemiology. He spent the summer researching AIDS and IV drug use in NYC. Obviously there is some concern about AIDS and tattooing because when you get a tattoo, you bleed. AIDS is transmitted by intimate contact with bodily fluids, blood and semen being most common. Intimate contact means that the fluid carrying the AIDS virus (HIV) enters into your system. Injection drug users (IDUs) use hollow medical syringes and needles to inject drugs directly into their bloodstream. It is common practice to withdraw a little blood back into the syringe to delay the onset of the high. When needles are passed from IDU to IDU and reused without sterilization, some of that blood remains in the syringe and is passed on to the next user. If infected blood is passed, the recipient can become infected with HIV, which leads to AIDS. Tattooing is very different from injecting drugs. The needles used for tattoos are not hollow. They do, however, travel back and forth through a hollow tube that acts as an ink reservoir. The tip of the tube is dipped into the ink, which draws a little into the tube. As the needle withdraws into the tube, it gets coated with ink. When it comes forward, it pierces your skin and deposits the ink. You then bleed a little through the needle hole. This happens several hundred times a second. You are only at risk of infection if you come in contact with infected blood. Since it is only your skin that is being pierced during the tattooing process, only your blood is being exposed. This means that the only person at greater risk is the artist, because they are the only one coming in contact with someone else's blood. This is why reputable tattoo artist wears surgical gloves while working. Another source of infection is through the use of infected tools. This is why it is imperative that you make sure your tattoo artist uses sterile equipment. Needles and tubes need to be autoclaved before each and every time they are used. Ink should come from separate cups and not directly from the bottle. The key to HIV transmission is transfer of bodily fluids. Evidence indicates that infection may require a relatively substantial amount of fluid to be passed. HIV is also a very fragile virus that cannot survive long outside the human body, and is very easy to kill via autoclaving. (I have heard of using bleach to sterilize needles. While bleach is an effective HIV killer, I'm not sure of the procedures for cleaning the equipment after bleach cleaning. If your tattooer maintains sterile conditions and procedures, there is almost no risk of infection.==== How to look for sterilization ==== Check out the shop thoroughly. If the needles are not disposed of after each person, then it must be autoclaved. Autoclaving is a process that pressurizes the instruments and kills any virus or bacteria that might transmit viruses or bacteria.

Ask the artist how they clean their needles. If they don't say they autoclave, you are taking your risks. If they say they do, ask to see their machine. Note that in some states, autoclaving is required by law. Other common-sense types of things include throwing out the ink after each customer. Make sure the artists have small wells for each ink color that they dispense from a larger container, and that these are thrown out after work on you is done.

USE OF DISPOSABLE GLOVES: A conscientious, professional tattooist or piercer will often go through many on one client. Gloves should be changed every time they touch unsanitized items with their gloves.

Autoclaving to sterilize

Autoclaving is accepted in the industry as the way to sterilize non-disposable equipment. Autoclave machines look like small metal washing machines--usually with the door in the front.

Equipment that is supposed to be autoclaved should be torn out of their sterile packaging in plain view of the customer.

Can my tattoos get infected?

Not as long as you take care of it. There is a section in the FAQ that covers healing methods in depth. Some people have trouble healing tattoos with colors they are allergic to. If it gets infected and refuses to heal after a few days of using a topical antibiotic, you may want to check with a doctor.

Are there any medical conditions that will preclude me from getting a tattoo?

Hemophilia. There are even cases of people who were HIV positive who got tattoos - if you are HIV positive, however, you will want to inform the artist, since it's the artist that is at more risk than you.

However, it is best to let the artist know if you have any medical condition, such as diabetes or epilepsy, in case of an emergency.

If you have multiple allergies, you can always have the artist do a "patch test" on you with the colors you want prior to returning for a regular tattoo.

What is the Alliance of Professional Tattooists?

This section was contributed by Pat Sinatra <[email protected]>, a professional tattoo artist and vice president of the organization:

The Alliance of Professional Tattooists (APT), Inc. is a professional standards organization that was established in March 1992 and officially incorporated in June '92 as a non-profit organization (contributions, fees and educational materials are tax deductible.

Their activities:

  • Continuing education to artists
  • Offers accurate, up-to-date information about communicable diseases through seminars
  • Is interested in preserving tattooing as an art form
  • Monitors legislative activity to prevent over-regulation
  • Keeping the art of tattooing safe and legal through education, knowledge and awareness

Headquartered in Maryland, its international membership has expanded from the US to Canada, Europe and other countries. They are currently establishing state chapters with state directors.

Should I get a vaccination shot against hepatitis?

Without everyone worried about HIV transmission, it is easy to forget that hepatitis is a much stronger and virulent virus to worry about. Fortunately, you can get protection against both hepatitis A and B. Check with your health insurance to see if it's covered. There are two shots (injected a month apart) for hepatitis A, and three shots (injected over the course of six months) for hepatitis B. You are strongly urged to get protected if you are planning to get tattoos or piercings on a regular basis.

As a warning however, note that a very small percentage of individuals react negatively to Hepatitis B vaccines, and could become ill from the vaccines themselves.

Tattoo conventions

When and where are upcoming conventions?

The best list of upcoming convention I know of is on the web site:


Tattoo conventions: what are they all about?

People go to tattoo conventions for various reasons. Enthusiasts may go to visit with or meet out-of-town artists, get new tattoos, look at other peoples' tattoos or show off their own. Artists may go to purchase flash work from other artists, visit with old friends or to gain more visibility in the field.

If you are interested in finding out what's going on in the tattoo world, conventions are the way to go.==== What types of conventions are available? ==== Conventions range in size and length, from very small shop-sponsored conventions that last a day or two, to international organization sponsored events that last longer.

Conventions are usually held over a weekend, and usually include contests (and exhibit floors, where artists may be selling their merchandise or tattooing. The exhibit floor is usually open to the public on a one-day admission fee.

Most of the larger conventions are well organized. While not in the same caliber as an academic conference, convention organizers usually have arrangements with travel agencies and hotels, to provide a good deal for participants. This allows attendees to obtain a lower rate for both hotel and airfare.

Why would I want to attend?

Have you ever wanted to get a tattoo from a certain artist who lives in another country, or another part of the country? Have you ever wanted to feel a sense of belonging with a group of people who understand your desire for tattoos?

People attend conventions for different reasons. The main thing to remember is that these conventions allow you the unique opportunity to be immersed in the tattooing world, where staring at other people's tattoos, or people staring at yours aren't meant as an insult or an offense.

You might have read and perused through tattoo magazines and thought "No way! These guys are way too radical for me!" Just remember that everybody was born naked with no tattoos or extra holes in their body. We're all the same, and there is no reason to feel intimidated by others who have body modifications. Also, remember that the magazines will often publish the most outlandish subjects. Otherwise, it's boring and not newsworthy!

So sure, you'll see somebody with very outlandish tattoos or with 100 pierces on their body. This is your opportunity to chat with them or otherwise find out what drives them!

Word is, a lot of the convention and hotel staff come into these tattoo conventions with some trepidation, then discover that the attendees are some of the nicest people around!

Is a convention for everybody?

If you love tattoos or are very intrigued by them, and you want to meet others of your ilk, the conventions are good places to go. However, these conventions are not for everybody. Conventions are mostly geared toward adults.

Those who are sensitive to smoke or asthmatic should know that the convention floor often becomes one big ashtray.

What's the atmosphere?

Conventions are always pretty congenial and relaxed during the sessions that are open only to registrants. Welcome receptions usually allow time for a lot of socializing, where friends can catch up on old news and share their new tattoos with others. Quite a few people take their cameras along, snapping shots of tattoos and people. This period is also the time to see the real serious tattoo enthusiasts and artists, since these are the ones who usually register for the entire convention. This means that you are likely to see people with very serious pieces of custom work on their bodies.

The exhibit floor, when it is still closed to the public (usually on Fridays during a four-day convention) are not too crowded. If you want to get some work done from an artist who has rented a booth, Fridays are a good time to get it done. This would be a good opportunity to visit various booths and actually talk to people.

Once the weekend hits and the doors are opened to the public, the atmosphere will change greatly. You will see a lot of "gawkers" and various curiosity-seekers, who may or may not have any tattoos (or if they do, they might be some mediocre flash). The convention floor takes on somewhat of a carnival environment.

Attendance seems to depend largely on where the convention is being held. No tattoo convention is so large as to take up a city's major convention center--most conventions occur in hotel ballrooms. Thus if the hotel is in a rural section of town, or the convention is not appropriately advertised, you will not get a very high local turnout. On the other hand, well-advertised events will be so popular that they will have to limit the number of bodies in the room.

Note that the National Tattoo Association has a policy (which some regard as archaic) that bans facial and visible body piercings (outside of the ears) because it believes that these promote the side-show-freak atmosphere, which is not conductive to the mainstreaming of tattooing.

What kind of contests are there?

Contests are limited to registrants during the larger conventions, while they may be open to everyone at the smaller ones.

Categories seem to differ greatly, however some of the more standard ones you can expect include: best black & gray, most unusual, best tribal, best portrait, best overall.

Judging is done either by popular vote or by a panel of experts. Obviously those by popular vote are often judged by the contestant's looks or personality, and not necessarily just by their tattoo.

Can I actually get a tattoo at a convention?

One of the biggest advantages of attending a convention is that you can book an appointment with a well-known artist who does not live near you.

In addition, some artists try to pay for their trips and booth fees by the appointments they do during the convention--so the more tattoos they do, the more money they make. It is possible that you may be overcharged for a tattoo that is not up to the regular standards of the artist.

How to avoid this pitfall? Phone the artist WELL in advance. Explain your interests and reserve your time for the convention beforehand. The earlier, the better. Give your artist enough time to do some rough sketches as well, that can be drawn up before the convention.

If you have been dying to get a tattoo from someone great and famous, why take the risks that the artist fills up that appointment book before you can get to that booth? Reserve in advance.

Should you decide to "wing it" and hope to find someone you like once you're there, you will have a much better chance of securing a time slot if you visit before the public is admitted (which means you have to register for the convention). Chances are, they will want to get a deposit from you immediately.==== What else can I find at these conventions? ==== Even if you don't plan on getting any tattoos, there is still plenty to do on the exhibit floor. Most booths sell merchandise. Many booths give away stickers, business cards, etc.

In recent years, seminars geared towards artists have been added at larger conventions, with topics such as "Creative Coloring", Care and Tuning your Machine", "Spit-Shading - Watercolor", "Tribal Tattooing", "Preventing Disease Transmission in Tattooing." Unfortunately, these are usually open only to professional artists.

Tattooing and Traveling

Getting a tattoo at a convention poses a number of potential problems, especially if you are used to getting tattooed near your hometown. Of primary importance is the need to decrease your level of stress during your travel.

Artist List

Who is a good/bad tattoo artist near me?

The following is a list of artists who are personally reviewed by RAB readers. This list is now maintained in a database, and this list is generated out of the database.

An interactive interface to the database is available at: [2]

A posting on this FAQ does *not* constitute approval, and is the personal opinion of the reviewer. For liability purposes, it is your responsibility to check out the artist. Because I only accept personal recommendations, this list is limited to those who are known to people who read RAB There are many excellent artists who have not made it on this list yet. Just because an artist is not on this list doesn't mean they're not recommendable. Consider the reviews in this list along the lines of a restaurant or movie review.

If you do not see any artists from your area, I suggest you read the previous section of this FAQ on HOW to check out a shop yourself. Another way to is to ask a person with a nice tattoo which artist did the work. Asking who the artist was that did the work is a compliment both to the person and his/her artist.

RIGHT OF REPLY Anyone mentioned here in the artist review who feels they have been misrepresented or who wish a "right of reply" are invited to send email to me at [mailto:[email protected]]. I can include rebuttals to negative reviews if they are properly concise.

Note to Artists You cannot review yourself or your own shop.


Tattooing of minors is prohibited. Shops are regulated by the state.

Evil Ink Tattoos and Piercings 1430 15th St N, Bessemer, 35020 Ph: 205-428-9213 $100/hr cash Reviewed 06/2004 by Nicki <nicoles822001 [at]>

Non Stop Art 195 West Valley Ave #G, Birmingham, 35209 Ph: 205-945-6762 Cash, All Credit Cards

Exotic Tattoos & Piercings 1408 Pelham Road S., Jacksonville, 36265 Ph: 256-782-3319 [3] $85/hr Cash, Credit Cards, Debit Cards, Checks, etc. Reviewed 09/2002 by Amanda Cole <TattoozRSexy [at]>

L.A. Body Art 221 Dauphin St., Mobile, 36602 Ph: 251-441-0000 Cash, Credit Card Reviewed 03/2004 by Jacob Hill <Jacobhill [at]>experienced in all ranges of design.

Kaoz 330 University Blvd South, Mobile, 36609 Ph: 251-344-5343 $100/hr cash, credit, check Reviewed 01/2006 by Ali Tucker <seamonkey984 [at]> Shop Review: Clean, laidback environment, private tattoo and piercing rooms, near University of South Alabama campus. All sterile guns and new needils.

Artist Review--Lacee: Lacee tattooed my very first tattoo, the entire time she talked to me about her life and mine in order to avoid thinking about the pain of tattoos. Her artwork is no less than amazing and I highly recommend her to anyone who asks about local shops and artists. She has a pleasant demeanor and is very enthusiastic about every tattoo that walks through her door. She looks at every piece as a work of art and does her best to make sure you leave happy. Plus any work she does is guaranteed any touchups and such she does free of charge. Soon she is actually going to be fixing another David Bollt piece I had tattooed by another artist (that didn?t turn out so well) from what I understand she is also apprenticing another young artist at the shop by the name of Melissa. Over all I highly recommend her to anyone looking for a great ink!

Capitol City Tattoo 4127-C Troy Hwy, Montgomery, 36116 Ph: 334 286-9070 Cash, Credit Cards(5.00 charge for credit card) Reviewed 06/2002 by Wanda Geiger <walgeiger [at]> Shop Review: The shop is large with lots of tattoo art on the walls and several books of work on the front counter. I made visits here and to other shops in the area before deciding on CCT. The artists who work here are extremely friendly, helpful, and approachable. Everyone was in a good mood and genuinely happy to be there. You can see into the workrooms from the main area but they are behind glass and there are other rooms that are more private. The shop is clean, bright, and open.

Capitol City Tattoos II 1665 E. Main St., Prattville, 36066 Ph: 334-361-7266 $120/hr Cash, Credit Reviewed 05/2004 by Candace Roberts <shawafb [at]> Shop Review: Capitol City Tattoo II in Prattville, Alabama. Convenient location, great hours, Super Clean, Tons of designs on the walls to choose from if you don't bring something of your own. Friendly staff, VERY helpful, was more than willing to work us in on a Saturday sce we were from out of town! Even stayed after hours to finish my husbands design. Great Prices & Hourly Rates, All around GREAT SHOP, HIGHLY

Artist Review--Steffan: Steffan, What can I say, except this: I will never go to anyone

else for another tattoo!! I will drive from S.C. to Alabama from now on

to have my work done by this talented and extremely professional artist. Completely made me feel at ease, due to the area of my tattoo it was quite painful, he kept checking on me to see how I was doing, to see if I needed a break, Great chairside manners. His tribal art is by far the best I've ever seen. And, the custom tribal piece that he hand sketched onto my husband's upper left arm was by far phenominal. The tattoo I received is my favorite to date;(I have five). My husband's tribal 1/2 sleeve is my favorite on him;(he has 14)!! Quality Work, Completely made to feel at ease, coloring, shading, and fine lines AMAZING!!

Shop Review: Very clean, the privacy is very good and the neighborhood is great as well. I've never had a bad experience at Capitol City II.He is very friendly with the ladies. (KINDA CUTE) Artist Review--Stephan: Stephan did a cover up of a very bad tattoo done about 7 yrs prior. He turned an awful tattoo into the most amazingly beautiful butterfly anyone has ever seen.I get compliments on it all the time. Also, he did the tribal butterfly on my neck and the kanji symbol for dream on my wrist. The first one was the cover up, so I decided to start using him on all of my "projects". My husband had his arm band done by Stephan, and let me tell you, its awesome. He made it look like stone, VERY COOL.

Shop Review: Capital City II's shop is very clean, open and bright. Privacy is available if needed or desired. Easy to get to and in a nice community. Many design choices available, or bring in your own. Very professional. Artist Review--Steffan: Steffan did my first tattoo, on my stomach, in July 2004. Its a wasp (done in purple and green) and three black kanji. I love it! He was very willing to work with my own design and did a great job transfering what I brought in on paper to skin. He's a very laid back fellow and made me feel quite at ease. His concern for the location of my first tattoo was appreciated. He said tattoos on the abdomen can hurt quite a bit, but didn't actually try to talk me out of it. I found it to be merely a slightly annoying sensation at the time. The one he did on my lower back in June of 2005 hurt much more. This one is a phoenix done in reds, yellows and oranges with three black kanji. It is also a fairly large

tattoo and, again, Steffan did an excellent job transfering my own designto skin. The things I like about going to Steffan are his ease of manner, his concern for my comfort, willingness to answer questions and his professionalism. He also works fairly quickly. My last tattoo, though fairly large (7" x7"), detailed and colorful, took less than 2 hours to complete. I walked out the door wanting to get another tattoo. When I decide on a design, which may be to elaborate the one on my back, I will go back to Steffan, no doubt. when I compare my tattoos, done by Steffan, to the ones my husband got in the Navy ... well there is no comparison. Steffan's work is far superior. I see some cover-ups in hubby's future.

A-2-Z Body Arts Studio 1404 S 4th Street, Sylacauga, 35150 Ph: 256-249-4882 $100/hr Reviewed 09/2005 by Shannon McClellan <<shannon [at]>> Shop Review: The shop is clean and smoke-free. Artist Review--Steven Dowdy <<steve [at]>>: Steven has done four tattoos on me and they are unbeliveable... I have been around central Alabama shops. I know a lot of artists and I have had a lot of work by diffrent artists. Steve's flawless work has made him one of the best around, and no matter if its a $50.00 tat or a $300.00 tat you get the same quality.


Permanently Unique Ink 4100 Lake Otis Parkway, Medical Plaza Suite #205, Anchorage, 99508 Ph:

907-575-7622 $150/hr Cash or major credit cards Reviewed 01/2003 by Liza Sims Lawarence <<IZNLPS4U [at]>> Shop Review: Artist Review--Clayton Halfhill <<permanentlyuniqueink [at]>>: Mr. Halfhill performs the most "safest" procedures I've ever seen in the indusrty to date, using only disposable materials and equipment. His personal protective equipment, health & safety is second to none in the world. Everone should perform with this amount of care & consern for their clients as he does! He has been performing his art for decades in tattooing and for the last year he has developed into a great permanent cosmetic tech. He was reconized in "cosmetech magizine" a few months ago.


Tattooing of minors is prohibited. Home tattooing is illegal.

Bright Ideas 1425 North Central Ave, Avondale, 85323 Ph: 623-932-7890 $150/hr Cash, Credit Reviewed 11/2005 by Rose Barrientos <<rbarrientos2 [at]>> Shop Review: The area where the shop is is fine. The shop is clean. The staff is great and friendly. I ENJOY GOING TO THE SHOP.

Artist Review--James: James is a grat artist and captured exactly what I was Looking for. The work is on my left arm. It is 3 orchids w/ 2 dragonflies and leaves. The detail is excellant as well as the vibrant colors. James is still working on it. He takes his time to make sure it is his absolute best. He pays close attention to what his client is asking andd researches what is needed. He draws eveything out himself as well as shows what the color will look like. Each time I go back I am happier and excited to see the outcome. I have a 1/2 sleeve. James is a very polite and focused person. He focuses on his task at hand. James is a true artist. James has been tattooing for 2 yrs. I wolud have never guessed. I just happened to ask him. I was shocked because I thought he has been doing this longer. He is very professional. I am very happy with his work. I would refer him to anyone.

Reviewed 01/2006 by Aleasha B. <<aleasha [at]>> Shop Review: The shop is comfortable, clean and friendly. Artist Review--Ron Bernal: I brought Ron a list of ideas that I wanted to incorporate into the piece. He caught my vision and came up with a beautiful full color, multiple image design. Ron spent a lot of time and attention to detail. Ron is a true artist. I felt completely comfortable with him & everything he did. I would highly recommend visiting Bright Ideas and especially Ron Bernal.

Body Art Tattoo 443 W. Main St., Mesa, 85201 Ph: 480-644-0812 Cash, Visa, M/C, Discover, AmEx Reviewed 11/2001 by Nikki Redeker <<nikkiredeker [at]>> Shop Review: A very large, immaculate shop with several private artist studios and private piercing room. They have the most comfortable waiting room with a variety of flash, portfolios, magazines and a great selection of body jewelry. In addition they have a separate sterilization room with standard autoclave and chemclave. A very comfortable, private and friendly place to get a tattoo and/or piercing.

Artist Review--Marc Lescarbeau <<bodyart [at]>>: He can do anything from the most standard tattoo to a very custom detailed tattoo. An artist who takes his time and never goes beyond his limits or yours. He has an amazing way of taking a sometimes uncomfortable, irritating experience and making it a pleasant one. A very experienced artist who stands behind and guarantees his work.


State Annotated @ 5-27-228 (1993) allows the tattooing of minors with the written consent of the minor's parent, legal guardian or legal custodian.

Knight Times Tattoo N. College, Fayetteville, 72701 Ph: 479-571-4465 [4] $100/hr cash, credit cards Reviewed 11/2005 by Becky Nix <<jade22 [at]>> Shop Review: The shop is exceptional VERY clean and sanitary. They use new everything and just to prove that they break every needle that they use in front of you before you leave. Everyone is laid back and friendly and it is a very mellow and relaxing environment. And the decor is worth the trip, they have made the shop into a castle, with a full suit of armour and swords the works very cool.

Artist Review--Leah Partridge aka Queen Bee: Incredible, I have never seen any tattoos better than her work. Both pieces far surpassed my expectations, and she is a very cool person to hang out with even while being tattooed for lengthy periods. She has since tattooed my husband as well and he was just as impressed. I have had all my work done by her and would never use anyone else. If she stops tattooing I will stop getting tattooed. Even though I have 5 other tats planned.

Red Beard's Famous Living Canvas Tattoos and Body Piercing 413 Park Ave, Hot Springs, 71901 Ph: 501-623-4744 [5] Reviewed 04/2003 by Amanda Christian <<mmmsweet [at]>> Shop Review: The shop is doctor office clean, but very comfortable, it has kind of a home feeling, very professional, good nice people. Great location in downtown Hot Springs. Artist Review--Will Garrabrant: Very patient, professional, and calming.

PsychoDelic Butterfly 13316 I-30, Little Rock, 72209 Ph: 501-455-5252 [6] $100/hr cash, credit cards Reviewed 05/2005 by Erin Diaz <<white_rabbitt01 [at]>> Shop Review: The shop is very spacious and has loads of flash. Chris himself had two books devoted to his work. If there was something in particular that I wanted, he would be sure to find it for me. I was so happy with my tattoos I'm going to get the rest of mine there.

Artist Review--Chris Santa Cruz <<MRTAT2Z [at]>>: He tattooed my married (last) name on my wedding finger and a tree frog crawling up my right foot. He used brand new needles and made me watch after he finished my tattoo as he threw the needle away. There was plenty of privacy in the room if I wanted something personal. Overall it had a very comfortable atmosphere. He has a B.A. degree from UALR in psychology.

Santa Cruz Tattoo Company 7715 Crystal Hill Road, North Little Rock, 72118 Ph: 501-812-6432 [7] $100/hr Visa ,MC, AE,and Discover Reviewed 04/2004 by Kim Hitt <<not shown>> Shop Review: The shop is clean,Tattoo artists wear scrubs.Licensed by AR. health Dept. Artist Review--Mike Santa Cruz <<tat2mike [at]>>: He really cares about the person being tattooed.


California law states professional tattoo artists are not allowed to tattoo minors who are under the age of 18. Otherwise unregulated.

Shannon O'Sullivan Altadena, 91001 Ph: 626-794-3731 [8] cash, or checks from established clients Reviewed 10/2003 by Stan Schwarz <stan [at]> Shop Review: Shannon's shop is also her home, and it's like stepping into a big fantastic art project. The actual tattoo area is in the front, next to a big picture window with a view of the mountains. She works by appointment only, and she's usually booked up at least a month or two in advance. Artist Review--Shannon: Shannon is very pleasant to work with. She is a good artist, and can do lots of different styles. She also has very good technical skills, and she's fast. She can do a piece in half the time of some other artists, and the end result still looks great. You can see the backpiece she did for me at [9]

Electric Dragon 21503 Sherman Way, Canoga Park, 91303 Ph: 818-999-0097 Reviewed 08/2003 by Elizabeth <beth [at]> Shop Review: The studio is immaculately clean. Artist Review--Big Payaso: Payaso is funny and really puts you at ease, needles opened in front of me, autoclave, beautiful custom work, has been in the business 15+ years.

Eternal Art 18438 Sierra Hwy #5, Canyon Country, 91351 Ph: 661-298-0897 Reviewed 04/2002 by Desiree Sargent <violetscream [at]> Shop Review: At first, it seems a bit weird, because its on the corner of a dirty-looking street, and up these steep little stairs, above a pager shop, but inside it is very clean and comfortable. Artist Review--Shaun: Shaun is very helpful and congenial. He has done some very intricate work for me, and it has turned out awesome. (Better than I described or even IMAGINED) He pays special attention to detail, which is why I love him.

Alpha Omega 1121 North Texas Street, Fairfield, 94533 Ph: 707-428-6519 [10] Cash, Credit Card Reviewed 10/2000 by Karine Perttula <teddy [at]> Shop Review: The shop is very clean, the people are friendly. Artist Review--Lin Elliott: Lin's creation of my tattoo felt very much like a collabrative process.

L.A. Tattoo 6547 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, 90028 Ph: 323-463-3919 cash and credit cards Reviewed 09/2003 by Stacy J Lecour <meanjeangirl [at]> Shop Review: In the heart of hollywood, a big space with 4 artists that I saw. Artist Review--Case: His name is Case, his eyes are beautiful, his touch was gentle, his work is awesome.

Skintagious Tattoo Los Angeles Ph: 818-321-7029 [11] $75/hr cash, checks Reviewed 03/2004 by Raven Allread <dramabird [at]> Shop Review: All was clean and in good shape. Artist Review--Frank <plabnoid [at]>: Frank made me feel as if I were an old friend.

Temple Tattoo 384-17th Street, Oakland, 94612 Ph: 510-451-6423 $100/hr Cash only Reviewed 06/2000 by Bob Fickling <rbf [at]> Shop Review: The shop is located in one of the better downtown areas of Oakland. Artist Review--Freddy Corbin: Fred Corbin's nickname is "Mr. Nice Guy" what else can I say? He started tattooing over ten years ago at Erno's in San Francisco and later worked at Ed Hardy's shop. the world and is know worldwide for excellent work. Incognito Tattoo 750 E. Colorado Blvd. Suite #6, Pasadena, 91101 Ph: 626-584-9448 $100/hr Cash, credit cards Reviewed 02/2004 by Orlando Delgado 'fifi91504 [at]' Shop Review: The shop is like walking into an operating room as far as sanitation. The staff and fellow artist were all very friendly and courteous. They had some great music playing (Not too loud) the whole time and the location in Downtown Pasadena is incredibly safe. Artist Review--Jason Schroder 'jason [at]': Jason was the first artist that I approached about doing this custom piece that did not hesitate taking it on. I gave him very little to work with and he had the artwork ready for me the day he promised. The next day I had the appointment for the tattoo and he was ready for me when I arrived. Jason was very friendly and polite and made sure I was comfortable the whole time. Jason owns the shop and is an incredible artist. The compliments I receive from strangers on his piece astounds me. Reviewed 06/2004 by Galen Loram 'galen [at]' Shop Review: Nice and clean, though a bit out of the way. It is on the second floor in a decent part of town (not seedy, not ritzy). Everything was clean, and there was a back room for people who were getting more private tattoos, or a front room for those of us who were indifferent. Artist Review--Mojo: I was very impressed with Mojo (which is what he goes by, I don't know his given name). He's recently married with a kid, and graduated from art school somewhere in Boston. While tattooing he is quiet and very focused on the tattoo, though he is quite friendly when you come in, and is very accomodating on working with you to come up with a design that fits your specifications. I would certainly recommend him. Sacred Saint Tattoo 3763 East Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, 91107 Ph: 626-568-1055 cash you can also purchase time on the web site by credit card Reviewed 06/2004 by Shane Nicholson 'desta13 [at]' Shop Review: Jing can do the tightest portrait work, Jerry does old school, color, black and grey, etc... Tom was a great artist to begin with and delivers the same quality in his tat work. Chester's spirituality as a Buhdist monk Trascends in his art and ink,and Brandon is the owner and the artist that chose to work on me and I am glad i never went back to the shops in my past. Drive down,run down,limp down or crawl down to the saints and check out their work.check out the clothes and stickers as well. Be part of the Saints Racing Team. Artist Review--Brandon Notch: This is the cleanest and most professional shop i have ever been to. Brandon is a top "Notch" artist and a hell of a nice guy.His professionalism is only surpassed by his art.Go to the site []. The color combos he uses are sick, it really makes the work stand far as cleanliness goes, Brandon was giving the blood pathogen classes in the area. Primitive Basic Tattooing and Piercing 112 N. Bradford Ave., Placentia, 92870 Ph: 714-579-7765 $100/hr Cash, credit cards Reviewed 03/2003 by Tim 'tkinley2 [at]' Shop Review: They are very good. they are sanitary, and the shop is clean. They are very friendly, and professional. they only use needles once. They always use a new needle when applying a tattoo. Artist Review--Sherry: Sherry is very good. friendly, and has tattooed for over seven years. she has a light touch, and is very safe. she makes you feel very comfortable. I definietly recommend this shop for a tattoo. Homeward Bound Tattoo 2853 El Camino Real, Redwood City, State: Ph: 650-474-1100 $120/hr cash/credit card Reviewed 08/2003 by Michelle 'michelle_mouse76 [at]' Shop Review: Homeward Bound is a cool shop, with 2 artists, Craig and Todd. The walls are absolutely covered with all different kinds of flash. While the shop is rather small, it is very clean and both Craig and Todd are friendly and helpful. Artist Review--Craig: Craig is a super friendly guy who put out some great work. I have been to him for 3 different pieces and I love them all. He puts a lot into his work and does some beautiful color work. He is also very friendly and puts you at ease, while cracking you up at the same time! Some joke that he is a bit heavy handed, but I have had pretty sensitive places done by him (wrist, chest and feet) and have not had any problems. I would and do recommend him to anyone looking for a bright, colorful tattoo. Liberty Tattoo 4544 Auburn Blvd., Sacramento, 95814 Ph: 916-977-3977 $120/hr cash Reviewed 02/1999 by Pam Mann 'pammy91836 [at]' Shop Review: Artist Review--Bill Liberty: Bill not only does outstanding work, hischairside manner can't be beat. I gave him a computer-generatedpicture which he drew up and improved upon. My friend and I both gotthe same tat. This man is truly an artist - I have many other tatsfrom different artists, but I'll never go to anyone other than Billfor future work. Tattoo Infinity 1601 Fulton, Sacramento, 95815 Ph: 916-215-2169 $120/hr Cash Reviewed 10/2003 by Tom Terry 'tom [at]' Shop Review: Private Studio - consultation and tattoos by appointment only, no walk-ins. Studio is clean, very private and easy to get to. Artist Review--Eric Ross 'ericross76 [at]': Eric?s work is just as good as the Big Dog Legends of San Francisco, very detailed oriented. A nice guy with a different approach and philosophy who produces results that are both priceless & timeless. Bigrandz Tattoo & Body Piercing 3251 Adams Ave, San Diego, 92116 Ph: 619-283-5007 $80/hr cash,mastercard,visa ,dicover,atm Reviewed 03/2004 by bobby lane 'randztattoo [at]' Shop Review: Shop is very clean well organized,very friendly staff,is locatedin old San Diego CA, on historic Adams Ave Artist Review--Randy Faber <bigrand [at]>: Randys a great guy who was brought up in the old school way of tattoing. Been tattooing since 1987. Very friendly and atentive to his clients needs, easy to get along with, vand very talented. 222 Tattoo 222 Eighth Street, San Francisco, 94103 Ph: 415-255-8222 Cash, credit cards Reviewed 11/2000 by Art Richards <sidha91 [at] (include RAB in subj line to escape filters) Shop Review: UPDATE Same as my 1997 review. Might want to list other artists: Scott Sylvia, Jeff Rassier, Jesse Tuesday, Juan Puente Artist Review--Eddy Deutsche: A consumate custom artist. Has customers from all around the world. Very fast, wonderful colorist, easy manner. His backpiece won me Best Oriental Tattoo at 1999 Anaheim Tattoo Tour, the combo of back and arms won me Second Best Overall Male. Tattoo City 700 Lombard St, San Francisco, 94133 Ph: 415-345-9437 [] $150/hr Cash, credit cards Reviewed 11/2000 by Art Richards <sidha91 [at] (include RAB in subj line to escape filter) Shop Review: Tattoo City moved about two blocks down the street about a year ago into bigger quarters at the corner of Lombard and Columbus. Private booths for each artist. Clean, bright, and spacious. Good transportation. Artist Review--Jef Whitehead: Young artist, going up like a rocket. I don't take red ink easily, but his work on me did not fall out and is still as bright as it was 2 years ago. Reviewed 11/2000 by Art Richards <sidha91 [at] (include RAB in subj line to escape filters) Shop Review: SEE MY EARLIER REVIEW ON JEF WHITEHEAD, SAME SHOP. Artist Review--Don Ed Hardy: What can you say about Ed Hardy? The man is a legend. Still doing superb work after 32 years in the business. Very fast, he outlined and did the body color on my deity (about a foot high)in about 2 hours, finished the fine detail work in another appointment of 1 1/2 hours. Charges a premium rate, but worth every penny. Only works two days a week now. Took me about 2 months to get a consultation, another month for first appt. Reviewed 11/2000 by Art Richards <sidha91 [at] (include RAB in subj line to escape filter) Shop Review: SEE PREVIOUS REVIEW ON JEF WHITEHEAD, SAME SHOP. Update: Nalla Smith is no longer there. Current artists include Colin Stevens, Jef Whitehead, Tim Lehi -- and Hardy a couple of days a week Artist Review--Tim Lehi: Gentle, quiet, almost shy, very pleasant young man. A terrific artist, I am always knocked out by his beautiful taped to the walls of his booth. The Fudo has exquisite detail and beautiful coloring. I plan on getting him to fill in the rest of the thigh. Reviewed 10/2003 by Rick Rutledge <rickrsf [at]> Shop Review: The shop is clean, well lit (lots of windows), and inviting. Music varies (artists take turns choosing), and everyone I've interacted with there has been very friendly. Artist Review--Tim Lehi: Tim's work is increasingly well-known, and my piece has been mistaken for the work of Horiyoshi III at conventions; one fellow from Australia asked "Horiyoshi, or Tim Lehi?" Tim is booked months in advance now, and does mostly large pieces. Tim's art in various media ranges from gruesome to sublime. I chose very traditional Japanese, and it was beautifully executed. I'm VERY happy with the work and the experience, and I intend to go back for more. You can see pictures at [] Art Work Rebels 1755 Market St., San Francisco, 94118 Ph: 415-552-4297 [] $150/hr cash Reviewed 11/2002 by Mercury Ellis <Heavymeddlekid [at]> Shop Review: A spacious new shop, very clean with amazing art by people like Ed hardy and a huge awesome dragon mural by the Grime. They have folding screens for privacy and both Jason Kundell and the Grime are "really nice guys." The shop is easily accessible by subway and bus. Upper Market/outer Mission district.. . Artist Review--The Grime <grime [at]>: The Grime is amazingly fast, creative, smart, and funny, is a snappy dresser and has excellent taste in music. Oh yeah, his tattoos slay me. His reputation precedes him of course, but if you don't know then check out his website above. He has worked with Marcus Pacheco and Ed Hardy himself, and has paid his dues. Has self-published a really cool book. Another consummate artist who can take the most trite, played out image and make it fresh, and also is able to take a unique idea and make it work as a tattoo. He has a very light touch and a great eye for color. Did I mention he was fast? Godspeed Tattoo 620 S. Norfolk St, San Mateo, 94401 Ph: 650-558-1922 [] No checks Reviewed 07/2001 by Ozzy <burlfire295 [at]> Shop Review: Godspeed is the nicest shop I have ever seen. It is clean and spacious and is very welcoming. Walls are covered with big paintings and custom art. Booths are private and large. Artist Review--Kevin Marr <owner [at]>: Kevin has been tattooing for about 3 years. Turtle from Gene's Body Art in Long Branch NJ taught him. He said he always liked to draw with a passion and focus on tattoo designs. Spider Murphy's 939 Tamalphis Street, San Rafael, 94901 Ph: 415-460-6979 Cash or credit cards Reviewed 07/2000 by Bob Fickling <rbf [at]> Shop Review: A small, clean shop in a good neighborhood with easy to find metered parking. Artist Review--Theo Mindell: Theo Mindell does great tattoos, enjoys tattooing and has good manners. Another "nice guy". Reviewed 02/2003 by Lynnette Frary <lynnettemfrary [at]> Shop Review: The shop is funky, relaxed, comfy, the sanitation is good to my knowledge, no privacy there is only one chair. The neighborhood is good, difficult to find parking. Artist Review--Theo: Theo is a wonderful person he is a great artist, friendly and charming. However, his new staff can be abrasive and disrespectful to possible clients. I've recently had three people tell me that they were treated poorly upon arriving. Sad to see that happening when Theo was alone, I think things were better. Tattoo Santa Barbara 318 State St, Santa Barbara, 93101 Ph: 805-962-7552 Cash, Visa/MC, AMEX, ATM cards Reviewed 04/1996 by Sean Corfield sean [at] Shop Review: Excellent sterile conditions despite a wonderfully cluttered shop with great guard dog. Plenty of things hanging from the ceiling to keep the eyes occupied while being worked on. Lots of soothing music, celtic, new age whatever. Work area only separated from walk-in area by a counter but still reasonably private. Artist Review--Pat Fish patfish [at] Pat is a fiercely independent, outspoken woman who doesn't suffer fools gladly. Taught initially by Cliff Raven, she has built up over 10 years of experience running her own shop. She takes great pride in her work and is very patient while dealing with placement and customisation of the design. Her knowledge of Celtic art and culture is extensive and she has a real passion for it.

Staircase Tattoo 628 Ocean St, Santa Cruz, 95060 Ph: 831-425-7644 Reviewed 02/2002 by Elena Bridges elenathered [at]

=== Colorado ===

Tattoo X 576 Marquett Dr, Colorado Springs, 80911 Ph: 719-390-0111

Peter Tat-2 3216 E. Colfax, Denver, 80206 Ph: 303-399-4343 Cash, credit cards, NO Checks.

=== Connecticut: ===

Connecticut General Statutes 53-41 (1991) makes it illegal to tattoo minors under the age of 18 without parental consent. Otherwise unregulated.Green Man Tattoo Studio

207 Park Road, West Hartford, 06119 Ph: 860 232-TAT2


Reviewed 03/2005 by Rebecca Lovelace <usagikawai [at]>

Shop Review: The shop is very clean and comfortable, and the staff is friendly. It is in an OK neighborhood. They advertise (and follow up on) using new needles. It is a bit open, but the tattoo area is at least surrounded by a half wall.

Artist Review--Ken Adams: I was very happy with Kenny. He's been tattooing for 9 years. His work was just amazing, and he is a very friendly and interesting person to talk to, so chatting with him helped pass the time during my 2 hour session. He did an excellent job sketching a design based on my description, and worked with me to modify his initial sketch to come up with something I loved. His use of shading was great, too. I would highly recommend him to anyone, but especially for any custom Celtic work. He spends time researching for designs when necessary (we talked about another design he had worked on), and really knows knotwork inside and out.


Prohibits piercing, tattooing, and branding minors without parental consent Laws: [13]

Independent Tattoo

  1. 3 West Fenwick Station, Selbyville, 19975 Ph: 302-436-5581

[14] Reviewed 11/2005 by John Hicks <john.hicks [at]>

I guess at the end of it, all I can really say is that the overall

experience was great, and the evidence it left is awesome. A realistic flame half-sleeve on my right arm. I told him about the idea on Friday afternoon, and on Saturday morning, he showed me some digitally manipulated flames, and had me see which pattern that I liked best. He took six strong lines from it, and free handed the rest. Matthew's color work is beautiful, and the blends are sick. The flames look incredibly realistic, and I am complemented them all the time. I am planning to have another complex piece done by Matthew very shortly...

District of Columbia:

Unregulated. Legislature: [15]

No reviews.


Tattooing must be performed by a licensed physician or dentist, or a shop that is under the vouched supervision of one. Minors must have parental consent. Laws: [16]?



Artistic Addictions

5536 International Drive, Orlando, 32819 Ph: 407-354-3200 Cash, Credit Cards Reviewed 04/2003 by Nicole Gray <Seraph1sin [at]>

Rock-N-Roll Tattoo Inc.

6100-5 W. Colonial Dr., Orlando, 32808 Ph: 407-296-0098

[17] Reviewed 01/2005 by Elaine T. Oliver <wwe_tigerrose2003 [at]>

Aurorafx @ Level 5 Tattoo

4333 South Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, 34231 Ph: 941-929-9060 [18] $125/hr cash, credit cards Reviewed 03/2006 by Terry Sherman <T_2valvetard [at]>Serenity Body Modifications 11502 N. Nebraska Ave. Suite 105, Tampa, 33612 Ph: 813-971-5312 [19] cash, credit cards, no checks Reviewed 08/2000 by Deborah Chance <dchance1 [at]>

Shop Review: The shop is located in a small 'strip' shopping center. Shop is neat and clean, nice music playing.There is a comfortable waiting area.Skip tattoos in a small private room, there is another room for tattooing, also. There is a poster hanging in Skip's room, decribing sanitation procedures.

Artist Review--Skip Sampson <serenityBM [at]>: Skip made me feel at ease, even though it was my first tattoo. He spent 3 1/2 years at McKenzie's Forever Ink as Mgr./artist, and 2 years at Blue Devil Tattoo Gallery in Ybor City. Does custom work, not just flash.

Atomic Tattoos 1512 Fowler Ave. Unit, Tampa, 33612 Ph: 813-910-7777 [20] Cash, credit cards Reviewed 03/2005 by Sara Mitchell <saramwrap [at]>

Shop Review: Atomic Tattoos is part of a chain -- I cannot speak for the other locations, but the North Tampa shop is very nice, clean, and comfortable. Located near the University of South Florida, the clientele comes from the university and local neighborhoods. The shop has an open layout, with multiple artists' stations in one room. Decor is modern and attractive, plenty of flash and art displayed, and everyone I encountered was friendly, helpful, and fun.

Artist Review--David Bruehl <david [at]>: Dave is an amazing artist, on and off the medium of skin. An art school graduate, he paints, draws, and is just a creative person all around. He's quiet but friendly, and he has an amazing ability to take a client's ideas and turn them into the perfect custom piece. I'd say that his "specialty" is custom work, especially larger pieces -- he really has the ability to create unique and remarkable designs. I have an immense amount of respect and trust in Dave -- he worked on my pubic area tattoo for the better part of day and was friendly, clean, and a perfect gentleman. He's still fairly new to the industry, but his portfolio demonstrates that he more than makes up for that in skill, talent, and creativity.


Official Code of Georgia Annotated @ 16-5-71 (1993) states that it is illegal to tattoo a person under the age of 18. Violators are guilty of a misdemeanor. Also, OCGA @ 16-12-5 states that it is illegal to tattoo within one inch of an eye socket. Otherwise unregulated.

Time Bomb Tattoo 1035 Baxter Street, Athens, 30606 Ph: 706-316-2223 [21]

Shop Review: Nice size shop, very comfortable and VERY CLEAN. If you're getting the kind of work that requires privacy, or if you don't want other people to be around when you get tattooed, this is ever a problem. The location is easy to find, and is near a drugstore if you need to pick up any after-care supplies when you're done.

Artist Review--Chris Parry: Chris is extremely friendly and is an excellent artist. I will go back to him for the rest of my tattoo work as long as I live in this town. His ability to take a verbal description or a rough sketch and turn it into a finished work is excellent. One of the most patient, nicest tattoo artists I've met.

Sacred Heart Tattoo 483 Moreland Avenue, Atlanta, 30307 Ph: 404-222-8385 [22] cash, credit cards Reviewed 11/1999 by Kim Wilson <gt4938d [at]>

Shop Review: The shop was very nice and clean. The atmosphere was friendly, and there were large quantities of flash. They also provided resource books like a dictionary of Chinese symbols. They had private rooms and a more public area. The shop is located in Little Five Points, a district known for interesting shops.

Artist Review--Colette: I was very impressed with Colette. She spent a lot of time to help me choose the colors I wanted, sketching out several schemes to help me choose. It was my first tattoo, and she was very good at making me feel comfortable and at ease. She did a great job with coloring and shading the tattoo; it turned out even better than I had hoped. I was very pleased with the whole experience.

Psycho Tattoo 6214 Roswell Road NE, Atlanta, 30328 Ph: 404-255-8282 [23] Cash, credit cards Reviewed 09/2005 by Noel Richey <belloforte713 [at]>

Shop Review: I was overall extremely impressed with the shop- I have been in doctors' and dentists' offices that were less sanitary, neat, and pleasant.

Artist Review--Adam: Adam was amazing. This was my first tattoo, a 21st birthday gift to myself, and I was very nervous. Despite the shop being fairly busy, he took time to explain the whole process to me, looked up the correct kanji in a Japanese/English dictionary (rather than relying on someone else's book, which I don't trust), then blew it up to size on the copy machine. He explained the positive/negative points of the two places I was considering placing it, and discounted me a bit for it being my birthday. Overall, he made me feel very comfortable with the decision.

He had a great chairside manner (I was extremely nervous, and he had me soothed almost before I knew it), and his station (as well as the rest of the shop) was neat as a pin. Everyone in the shop chatted pleasantly for a few minutes, and wanted to see when he was finished. Once we actually began, he was a complete perfectionist, redrawing the line down my spine twice to make sure it was perfect, placing the stencil several times to get it just right, etc. He had a good bit of GORGEOUS custom work in his station, and talked to me about it while working on me. He was very careful and gentle, and overall made my first tat a very pleasant experience. It looks great, is healing well, and he offered to touch it up as needed later. I will definitely return there.

Ink Rush Tattoo 101 Newnan Road, Carrollton, 30117 Ph: 770-834-5854 Cash and Credit Cards Reviewed 06/2004 by Tracy Lewis <vonlyomega [at]>

Shop Review: The shop more than meets standards in terms of sterilization and the staff within the shop are very kind and helpful. The atmosphere is inviting.within is not intimidating and I think that clients will find that personality from the artist himself with make for a wonderful experience. Artist Review--Marti Martin: I have 30 tattoos and all but one have been done by Marti that range from small pieces to large pieces on the left rib cage. I would rate Marti, on a scale of 1-10, a 10 on the work that is

produced, the kindness and time that is taken with each client and the

overall concern for the client after receiving the work. He is very in tune with the needs that the client has when entertaining the though of getting tattoos and puts his heart and soul into his work. Aart Attack Tat 2 1411 Hogansville Rd, LaGrange, 30241 Ph: 706-845-9911 cash, credit cards Reviewed 01/2005 by Claire and RamRod Smith <sassybean100 [at]> Shop Review: The shop is clean and everyone is friendly. Jessie has been gone but is coming back - I already have like 3 more tattoos I want her to do for me. Artist Review--Jessie: Jessie is the BEST!! She took my artwork and turned it into the best tattoo I have ever had. Jessie makes you feel like your tattoo is the most important one she has ever done.

Ivory Tower Tattoo & Body Piercing Emporium 406 Fair Road Suite #9, Statesboro Ph: 912-764-5048 Reviewed 08/1999 by April Greene <aldgreene [at]> Shop Review: The shop is located conviently near the center of town in a small shopping center. They are open 7 days a week from 12am to 12pm. Its better to get an appoitment, he is quite busy. Inside the shop is spotless. Everyone who works there is eager to help and they put you at ease, kinda make you feel at home. All of the equipment is sanitized and Gentleman Ross wears gloves the entire time. He has a private room for tattooing and a separate room for piercing. You could not ask for a cleaner shop or nicer people. Artist Review--Ross Craven: Gentleman Ross has been tattooing for about 3 years. I was the second person he did a portrait on and my husband was the first! I literally have had people stop me on the street to see this tattoo up close(its on my thigh)! He has a tendency to be quiet when he works-concentration ya know! But he is a very knowledgable person who knows his trade and can explain anything you ask him...I asked a lot of questions! He answered them all and put me at complete ease. My first experience will not be my last, thanks to Ross!


Tattooing of minors is prohibited Legislature: [24]

Tattoos by Jack Dillingham Blvd, Honolulu Ph: 808-216-4797 Reviewed 01/2005 by Michelle Snyder <mishi2001shea [at]> Shop Review: The shop is very sanitary, a very welcoming environment. The feel of the shop can be compared to meeting up with old friends. Very much the Aloha Spirit. Artist Review--Jack Omoto <theinkpit [at]>: Jack is very professional and has been drawing most of his life. He started tattooing professionally approx 8 years. I personally have not seen anything this artist could not draw just from a brief description he is totally amazing. I Spent the day at the shop over New Years and watched this artist work. I watched him design customers tattoos just by them telling him what their vision was. The tattoo was designed while the customer waited. The designs were awesome and every single customer left the shop totally satisfied with the work and price.


Tattooing laws: Nonexistent and unregulated. Sandpoint Tattoo & Body Piercing 206 N. First, Sandpoint, 83864 Ph: 208-265-5212 $30/hr cash Reviewed 08/1999 by tracy canon < [at]> Shop Review: the shop has several methods of sterilization, the total environment and feel of the shop is relaxing,privacy screens are available. The artist is a true professional. Quality of work is his primary concern, his rates reasonable the attitude is one of openess and honesty. VERY REFRESHING! Artist Review--kevin: Kevin has over 20 years experience, first learning his trade in Sydney Australia. He has had several shops in his career, southern California and now in the panhandle of north Idaho. He has clients come over from Canada, Washington state, Montana, Oregon,Utah and even Germany. As stated above his mannerism is calm and quiet, honest and open. True professional and asset to the business. He has the lightest touch which is very nice on tender areas. The quality of work is fantastic, like looking at a picture not just a nice tat.


Illinois Compiled Statutes Criminal Code of 1961 720 ILCS 5/ Professional tattoo artists are not allowed to tattoo minors under the age of *21*. Violations are considered a Class C misdemeanor. Otherwise unregulated. Legislature: [25] Laws: [ b17.htm]

The Mark of Cain Tattoos 207 West Green St., Champaign, 61820 Ph: 217-355-3876 [26] $100/hr Cash, check, credit cards Reviewed 01/2003 by Mark Gilkison <mdgilkison [at]> Shop Review: Shop is decorated in the Victorian/horror theme, with every attention paid to safe, sanitary work environment. The shop is licensed through the Champaign County Board of Health. Artist Review--Nick Wiggins <mammon [at]>: Nick's work is unparallelled, as you would see by visiting his site, or his shop, or by viewing one of the many articles he's had in international publications(such as Tattoo Revue 41&49, SkinArt 62, Tattoo 114, and the latest issue of Tabu tattoo..issue #21). I offer this challenge; if you can find someone better, after looking at his work, go to them. For me, I know there's no limit to this man's capabilities.

Nick's Tattoos 1020 Derby St., Pekin, 61554 Ph: 309-346-8287 [27] $100/hr cash, credit, check Reviewed 12/2002 by G. J. Oakley <ermd1996 [at]> Shop Review: This shop is "SUPER" clean. The environment is kept in a professional manner pursuant to OSHA. Privacy is available due to 5 individual rooms. The area of town the studio is located is easy to find and comfortable. Artist Review--Nick <nicktattoo [at]>: Nick has done my work, he has tattooed over 10 years and I found him to be extremely knowledgeable in areas of infection control and very aware of sanitation. I myself being a physician am very concerned about safety and Nick's Tattoos has surpassed all my expectations. Clean lines and bright colors no problems at all.==== Indiana: ==== Tattooing of minors is prohibited.

Skeleton Crew Tattoo 907 Washington St., Columbus, 47201 Ph: 812-378-9277 Reviewed 00/0000 by Misty (nettafaye [at] Shop Review: Very sanitary, good location,comfortable enviroment. Artist Review--David Neugenstump: Dave is polite and easy going. His work is out of this world. I would recommend him to anyone. #1 in southern Indiana to me.

The Dragon Slayer 2801 N. Wheeling Ave., Muncie, 47303 Ph: 765-289-8153 $125/hr Cash, credit cards, checks Reviewed 08/2005 by Jim Cornelle (www.iuforu103 [at] Shop Review: Shop was very clean, relaxing and each artist has their own private booth. Artist Review--Toby Phipps: He is very thorough and methodical in his tattoo method. A real perfectionist, he makes sure you're happy with his work. Very clean artist in every aspect!

New Breed - the future of tattooing and body piercing 328 Northwestern Avenue, West Lafayette, 47906 Ph: 765-743-6307 cash, credit cards Reviewed 06/2002 by Lyndsey Hahn (livingdeadgrrl [at] Shop Review: Artist Review--Monte (monte [at] Monte is absolutely the best tattoo artist around. At New Breed, every precaution is taken for sterilization and cleanliness. The finished art is completely phenomenal on every customer.


No reviews.


No reviews.



Altered Image 101 Campbellsville St., Columbia, 42728 Ph: 270-384-6675 Cash, credit card Reviewed 05/2003 by Beth Murray (opeth89 [at] Shop Review: The artist (and owner) is VERY particular about sanitation, sterilization, and regulations. It is a very small shop with only one artist, and the atmosphere is great. Flash covers the small wall space, as does some older pics of his work. His various certificates and awards hang in the rooms where he works. Artist Review--Kendall Pierson: Oh, I don't know where to start. Although I haven't "shopped around," I don't think I'd ever find a better artist. Kendall, or "Just Plain Bud" has traveled the world and has been in the business for...


Louisiana Revised Statutes 14:93.2 (1992) states that tattooing minors under 18 is legal only with the consent of a parent. Violators are fined $100 to $500. Otherwise unregulated. Tattoo Shop, 9380 Old Hammond Hwy, Baton Rouge, LA. (225) 924-3468


Bar Harbor Tattoo 40 Rodick Place, Bar Harbor, 04609 Ph: 207-288-9722 Reviewed 05/2003 by Rich Cassey Jr. (richard.cassey [at] Shop Review: This is with out a doubt the cleanest most sanitary...


Tattooing laws: unregulated.

Great Southern 9403 Baltimore Avenue, College Park, 20743 Ph: 301-474-8820 Reviewed 05/2000 by Markeeda Guest (mskeeda [at] Shop Review: Nice neighborhood, the rooms were private, but small...

Personal Art Studio 13404 McMullen Hwy, Cumberland, 21502 Ph: 301 729-8282 cash, credit card, debit card Reviewed 05/2002 by Jennifer Mulledy (junipertulipifera [at] Shop Review: My after-the-fact research...they gave me a second sucker even after I laughed at the idea in the first

place. Artist Review--Mary: Friendly, professional, customer-oriented, an overall pleasant experience (minus the pain). I would definitely recommend her, particularly to the introverted woman, I believe I was much more comfortable with a female artist.

Dragon Moon Tattoo 208 North Crain Highway, Glen Burnie, 21061 Ph: 410-768-6471 [28] $150/hr cash, credit cards Reviewed 08/2003 by Arthur Adams <arthur [at]> Shop Review: Sanitation is excellent. They use an autoclave, and have actually helped write state and Federal tattoo shop guidelines. The neighborhood is nice. Nothing impressive, but far from seedy. Privacy is very good, with private "booths" for each artist, well-separated from the waiting area. Artist Review--Mick Michieli-Beasley <info [at]>: "Ms Mick" as they call her, is wonderful. She has considering background in tattooing, and you can get details at the shop's web site. She is incredibly friendly and patient, and made the entire process a pleasure. I can't recommend her highly enough.

Criminal Ink Tattoos 5480 S. Maryland Blvd., Lothian, 20711 Ph: 301-751-7773 cash, credit cards Reviewed 04/2004 by Candid Matthews <lilma1x [at]> Shop Review: Very clean and organized. Everything about the shop is very professional. Plenty of privacy if needed. Easy access location. Artist Review--David Shider: Incredibly friendly and patient and made the entire process a pleasure. Soft spoken and he did a great job.

About You Tattoo P.O. Box 278, Shady Side, 20764 Ph: 410 867 1500 [29] cash only Reviewed 03/2001 by Jerry Towns <rdkngjc [at]> Shop Review: very clean and organized. It's a private studio where she focus's on YOU ...Shuvl beatings are sometimes free depending on her mood Artist Review--Rebecca " Ruby " Rasbury <rebarazz [at]>: she specializes in making it perfect for you

Ink Junkeez 10545 Theodore Green Blvd., White Plains, 20695 Ph: 301-932-0277 $75/hr cash, credit Reviewed 04/2004 by Sarah Knight <sarie_02 [at]> Shop Review: The shop was very clean and the art work was displayed openly for everyone to browse. The moment you walked in someone was there to answer any questions you had. The rooms were very private and away from the waiting area. Artist Review--Bill: Bill was great. He talked to you and made you feel very comfortable during the whole process. He even talked about his family. He did everything by the book and made sure you witnessed the sanitation process.


Dark Star Tattooing & Piercing 53 Forge Rd., Westport, 02790 Ph: 508-636-3555 [30] $100/hr Cash or all major credit cards Reviewed 09/2005 by Michael "Smitty" Smith <unity122967 [at]> Shop Review: The shop is very clean, newly opened & isn't cluttered with things to distract you from the reason your there. All artists at the shop are licensed & are fully certified in CPR, blood borne pathogens, & dermatology. Each artist has his or her booth for privacy. The artists are helpful & friendly in trying to make your decision the right one & your experience a good one. The shop is located off a major route so finding it isn't difficult & it's in a friendly area so you won't be nervous getting there. Artist Review--Troy Wilson: Troy Wilson did work on me which I am very pleased with. I first went into the shop because of a flier I received in the mail. I felt at home almost as soon as I walked in, there wss no pressure to get something or a rush to show off their work. I browsed the portfolios & was impressed right away. Troy had the style I was looking for & explained an idea I had. I later looked on line fo r his name & found that he had some impressive flash for sale. He told me to give him a few days to work on it & he'd be in contact. Sure enough he did & it was excactly what I had in mind. I soon had 3 other tattoos by him which I'm very proud of (unlike some of my past ink!) My girlfriend has also had a tattoo reworked by the other artist at the shop, Steve Patnaude. It was started at another shop, but she wasn't happy with them or the way it was turning out. After hearing Steve's ideas on fixing it & seeing his work it was a no brainer! Anyone who visits the shop & meets these artists & sees their work will most likely be getting some work done soon. There is a body piercer who is also a registered nurse available at the shop if a tattoo isn't in your future.


Tattooing of minors is prohibited Doctor John's Body Art Studio 33160 Groesbeck Hwy., Fraser, 48026 Ph: 586-415-5903 [31] Cash Reviewed 06/2002 by Beth Gothro <mzbetherz [at]> Shop Review: Everything about the shop is very professional, very clean. Plenty of privacy if needed. Easy access location. Artist Review--Doctor John <doctorjohn [at]>: Doctor John has decades of experience and is a wonderful artist.

He's easy to talk to, doesn't talk you into anything you don't want, KNOWS

his stuff. I was very impressed. I intend on returning for one or more additional tattoos, and recommend him to anyone who wants quality work done.Body Armor Tattoo
3101 S. Westnedge Ave, Kalamazoo, 49008 Ph: 269-552-9100
Cash, Credit Cards
Reviewed 06/2003 by Corey Elmore <kudkillioughta [at]> Shop Review: Body Armor was very sanitary. Earl sprayed down the entire area with an antibacterial disinfectant and everything was autoclaved. Laid back environment, open booths that are well-lit. Privacy can be requested for intimate tattoos or shy people. Decent neighborhood. Artist Review--Earl Cronkright: Earl did a great job. He had no problem drawing up what i requested, and was fast and fairly gentle with the tattoo. Made sure that I was okay several times during the tattoo, since he knew that it was my first time. Very experienced. $100 for a large arm piece. Willing to touch up despite my over-cleaning.

Tribal Image
55 W Nerpessing St, Lapeer, 48446 Ph: (810) 667-3292
[href=" |]
Cash, Credit Card
Reviewed 12/2004 by Alan Spence <A_SPECNEUSMC [at]> Shop Review: Clean,good,alot Artist Review--Jeremiah: He was very professional. good manners. Has tattooed for the past 3 years.


Must be 18 or have parental consent. Laws: [32] No reviews.


Main Steam Tattoo


Tattoo artists must be licensed by the state. 

Legislature: [33]
Laws: [34] Skin City Tattoo
14400 Hwy. Z Suite 13, St. Robert, 65584 Ph: 573-336-4376
Reviewed 04/2001 by Sara Mitchell <saram [at]>
Shop Review: Note: The people from Fay's have all moved to Skin City: Fay's Tattoo Shop is a very traditional tattoo shop. It is exactly what one would expect to find near a large military base. The walls are covered floor to ceiling with flash, and the counter features a display of tattoo-related materials. Each artist has their own enclosed room. The shop is clean and I have no doubt that the artists are very safe and sanitary. The shop is located on a major road, and is very accessible. I found Fay's Tattoos to be a comfortable, professional, fun environment to be tattooed in. Artist Review--Cat Spencer <catbones [at]>: Cat Spencer is an incredible tattoo artist and an incredible guy. I felt completely at home working with Cat on design, and just talking with him. He does very good work, on and off the skin. He is experienced, award-winning, talented, and an all-around great person. He handles color and black and grey very well, with an outstanding use of white ink. I have seen his mastery of many different styles and types of tattoos. He has enthusiasm for the art of tattooing. He was well worth flying out to see! Reviewed 04/2001 by Angie Kuhns <destrss [at]> Shop Review: Each artist at the shop has their own room. The shop is very clean and there is a very large assortment of flash to browse through. Artist Review--Cat Spencer <scarecrow [at]>: Cat Spencer is a great tattooist with a strong grasp of the fundamentals of artistic design. He is also a very easy going nice guy, which makes getting work from him a real pleasure. He is a "Master Tatooist" and a credit to the profession. Reviewed 04/2001 by Russ Burdick <grub [at]> Shop Review: fays is a quiet little shop filled with nice people. it looks like a typical tattoo shop in that the walls are covered with flash. they have a tv and dvd player in the cozy lobby and there were movies playing through the day. everyone in the shop was very friendly and nice. the shop was clean and they were happy to show off their cleaning room, autoclave room, etc. great shop!Artist Review--Cat Spencer [scarecrow [at]]: artist review: cat rocks! his artwork is great, he's super friendly and fun to talk with. great chair side manner. if i remember our conversation right, he apprenticed in kansas city for a couple years in the early 90s and has been tattooing for about 10 years now. i've seen his work on myself as well as several other people and it's all great. i drove 1800 miles (round trip) to get tattooed by cat. i cant recommend him strongly enough. cat rocks! there is further info/pics on my webpage at [35] if anyone wants more info.


State Code 45-5-623 Prohibits tattooing of minors without parental consent Legislature: [36] No reviews.


Unregulated. Liquid Courage 2636 S. 84th St., Omaha, 68124 Ph: 402-926-4968 cash Reviewed 10/2002 by BobbiLeigh [blueb99 [at]] Shop Review: Liquid courage is THE cleanliest shop i have ever seen. They are an all custom shop and they have very resonable prices. They also do free touch ups for life. Every person in the shop I have met is very friendly and professional. Artist Review--David: David is a custom artist. He is the most sanitary tattoo artist I have ever seen. I told him what i wanted and he drew it up better than I could ever imagine. His prices are extremely reasonable. His manner is wonderful it was my first tattoo and I was very nervous at first and he had no problem giving me a small break and he is very easy to be comfortable around. He is somewhat of a perfectionist I will just go in with friends and he will look at my tattoo and say it needs a little touch up or he has a new idea for highlighting.


Legislature: [37] Distinct Ink 1501-1 Fairview Drive, Carson City, 89701 Ph: 775-883-6878 [38] cash Reviewed 11/2004 by Wally Brown [mr.crowley [at]] Shop Review: Clean, Autoclave, new needles, strict hand wahsing technique. Clear set of "shop rules".....AWESOME work by ALL the artists! Above all, a friendly and clean envirionment. Artist Review--Zack [tattoo [at]]: Zack and the whole team at Distinct Ink are the ultimate professionals. The atmosphere is comfortable, the artists are talented, and the shop is spotless!

New Hampshire:

Tattooing of minors is illegal (considered "endangering the welfare of a child"). Otherwise unregulated. Scorpion Tattooing 129 Rockingham road Rt28 Hillside Plaza, Derry, 03038 Ph: 603-434-4798 [39] $100/hr cash and credit cards Reviewed 02/1998 by Maria Van Amburgh [maria43436 [at]] Shop Review: Very clean shop. I felt like i was in a doctor's office..everything was pure white. No smoking in the shop. No food. Had plenty of flash and showed custom work from portfolio. Total privacy on getting tattooed. Complete sterile conditions. Located in mini mall. Plenty of parking, handicapped accessible. ... Reviewed 04/2001 by Mike Jesionowski [Mikejes [at]] Shop Review: He is very talented with his detailed work. Artist Review--Mark Hesse [scorpiontatu [at]]: Very clean and outstanding place. I would highly recommend him to anyone who is thinking of tattooing.Jim's Tattoo Studio 256 Lafayette Road, Seabrook, 03874 Ph: 603-474-8754 [40] cash, credit cards Reviewed 03/2006 by Kristin Paquette <moonlitrealm [at]> Shop Review: The shop is that of a typical tattoo studio. The walls are covered in flash work when you walk in. Each artist has their own room. They won't try to talk you into something you don't want. If you want something custom there are several great artists available there. Call ahead to see who's available. They use pre-sterilized tools, one-use only. Artist Review--Bubba Jones: Bubba made me feel totally at ease (it was my first tattoo.) He's a great guy and he does an amazing job. He made sure that I was as comfortable as possible. His portfolio is incredible and I was very impressed with the amount of detail that he put into my tattoo. Reviewed 03/2006 by Kristin Paquette <moonlitrealm [at]> Shop Review: Artist Review--Pat and Korey: Last February my cousin and I went in with a couple of butterfly images that we were wanting to base a tattoo on. Korey came up with a beautiful custom butterfly for us in the end. We were really picky. Well, I mean we'll have it forever so we should be right? He was great he listened to what we wanted and came up with the perfect image. We got the same tat in the same spot but Korey did the actual work on Nikki and Pat did mine. Those two were wonderful. They have great chairside manners. I even got to watch a movie while I had mine done. When I was finished I went in and sat with Nikki while Korey colored hers in. He matched the shading and every little detail to the one Pat did on me so they're identical. We were both really happy with the work we had done. Sadly as mine healed I lost a few spots of color but it wasn't anything major and it was fixed for free.

New Jersey:

Legislature: [41] Laws: [42]? clientID=67469&Depth=2&TD=WRAP&advquery=tattoo&depth=4&expand headings=on&headingswithhits=on&hitsperheading=on&infobase=statutes.nfo& rank=%20%20&record={963B} &softpage=Doc_Frame_PG42&wordsaroundhits=2&x=53&y=13&zz= Jersey Devil Tattoo Black Horse Pike, Blackwood, 08012 Ph: 856-228-0049 Reviewed 03/2005 by Chris Interlante <TheKing4345 [at]> Shop Review: The shop was very easy to get too and was very clean and organized. Artist Review--Tracey: Tracey was great! She did a terrific job on both of my tattoos, and was very informative. She constantly made me feel comfortable and made great suggestions for coloring and placement. I am looking forward to going back to see her for my next tattoo this summer. She is the only artist I will use in the future. Tattoo Garage 169 Bloomfield Ave., Bloomfield, 07003 Ph: 973-680-9990 [43] $100/hr cash Reviewed 01/2006 by Tom Sharpe <dropdeadcustoms [at]> Shop Review: It is on the 2nd floor. They have a lot of stuff on the wall to choose from ,or in my case get something custom. The cleanest and friendliest shop I have ever been in. He made my wife and I feel at home. I had been there a couple of times to get sized up, to see first draft drawings, and then to get tattooed. He always has a smile and makes people laugh and feel at ease and right at home. I was used to the typical tattoo shop attitude. Not there. I believe he has been professional tattooing for over 8 years. The shop is clean, clean, clean. I suggest you go and see him. Artist Review--Chris: I was referred to Chris by one of my friends. His shop is spotless. That was one of the things besides talent that I demanded in an artist. I found all I was looking for. He custom drew a dragon for me, which also covered a small tattoo. AMAZING!!! Nobody else will ever tattoo or pierce me or my wife, but Chris. First Place Tattoos 195 Main Street, 2nd Floor, Hackettstown, 07840 Ph: 908-852-8989 cash, credit cards (that's all I'm sure of) Reviewed 10/2000 by Rachel D. Thiemann <axlnova [at]> Shop Review: really nice shop, clean, showed me how all items are sanitized and opened all needles in front of me, private 2nd floor shop several rooms to look at work on the walls and another separate room for the work to be tattooed. Artist Review--Michael Holub: I first went to this artist when he was in Newton, NJ at another shop and tracked him down so he could do another tattoo. I found him to be great. He designed both my tattoos right in front of me. He was honest about my color choice not being very good and offered another option, but said he would do whichever I wanted. Of course, I went with his recommendation and never regretted it. He was very calming and relaxing when I was having difficulty with the pain while doing the tattoo on my ankle. I went to several other shops before deciding to have my tattoos done with Michael Holub and found his prices were very reasonable ($120 for ankle and $100 for arm). I can't wait to go back and have him design another one for me! I honestly don't know much more background or if he has any degrees, but he is a talented artist regardless.Reviewed 08/2001 by Scott Caufield <superfly355 [at]> Shop Review: Super clean, user friendly, lots of designs to pick through hanging on the walls. He opened all material right in front of me and explained the entire process, during the application and for the weeks after. A+ establishment. Artist Review--Mike Holub: Mike hand drew the design, as he did for many of my friends. I left the design totally up to him, seeing his past work many times. He has a degree in Art from Trenton State University and I have seen much of his artistry beyond the tattoos. For someone I would have never expected to be in this field, he has sure found his niche. You will not be disappointed. Go there if you want something original, don't waste your time picking a # off the wall and running the chance of coming across someone with the same exact piece on their body. Reviewed 03/2003 by Tom Bloomer <turtlenestdekc [at]> Shop Review: Mike's shop is clean, well organized and friendly. Mike's shop is easy to locate, has ample parking and is in a safe neighborhood. Artist Review--Mike Holub: Mike Holub is a no nonsense, easy going, articulate man who can tattoo almost anything on anyone. His tattoo of mountain lion and jaguar heads on my arms are totally outstanding. He is an artist anyone can trust, especially those getting tattooed for the first time.

Tattoos By AJ Schiller Ave, Hamilton, 08610 Ph: 609-931-0182 [44] Reviewed 05/2005 by Amy <wickeywoman [at]> Shop Review: The shop was extremely clean, and AJ's personality made me feel so comfortable. We chatted like we have known each other for years. I will definitely be back for an AJ original! Artist Review--AJ Eubanks <ajtattoo [at]>: He fixed a horrible tattoo I have been unfortunately wearing for the last 10 yrs. AJ has been tattooing for 10 yrs now and his work is unbelievable. His chairside manner made me feel comfortable, and excited to come back.

Hoboken Body Art 107 10th Street, Hoboken Ph: 201-963-4070 [45] $100/hr cash & credit cards Reviewed 02/2003 by Jaime <bebe6909 [at]> Shop Review: Very clean. Artist Review--Herbert, Robbie, Frank: Very professional - comfortable atmosphere.

New Mexico:

Unregulated. Legislature: [46]

Addictive Ink Tattoos and Body Modifications 6904 Central Ave SE, Albuquerque, 87108 Ph: 505-268-5006 [47] Cash and Credit Cards Reviewed 09/2002 by Melissa Fletcher <angelztats [at]> Shop Review: Addictive Ink Tattoos upholds the highest degree of sterilization.They surpass even the requirements of most dentist and doctors offices. They were named"NICEST TATTOO STUDIO" in 2002 by

the National Tattoo Association and named one of the Best Tattoo Studio's in the southwest by Avalanche magazine. They are a clean personal shop that offer private rooms when required.And they always add their personal professionalism to the total experience that Addictive Ink is known for. Artist Review--David Martinez <addictink [at]>: David Martinez is an International award winning Tattoo Artist who has won awards for everything. Color, Portraits, Black and Grey, realistic etc. He has been Tattooing for almost 10 years and has owned Addictive Ink for 7 1/2 of those years. He works well with people and is known for being able to perceive what people want in their tattoos.He is a custom tattoo artist ,so he is also known for his ability to draw whatever you want. he's "THE" tattoo artist around these parts.

New York:

Tattooing of minors is prohibited. Tattooing became legal in New York City in 1999.Masterpieces Tattoos

627 Madison Street, Brooklyn, 11205 Ph: none

Cash, credit cards, checks

Reviewed 03/2005 by Valerie A. Winborne walkinglotus [at]

Shop Review: The masterpieces shop is a clean pleasant environment. You enter and feel relaxed, while you get your tatoo done there are snacks and drinks available for purchse and fabulous music playing. The conversation is lively and the company is worth keeping.

Artist Review--DG Wilson: DG is the best. I had Tatoos done other places and DG had to co rrect and update them. He is fast and a master at design. He also has the rare ability to know how to do people of color understanding what colors work best on darker skin tones nad how to tatoo those who might keloid like myself. His technique is one developed by himself and used by many others whotrained with him. He is the original. The Master, the best!!!

True Tattoo

1603 Rt9, Clifton Park, 12065 Ph: 518-371-8310

$125/hr MC/ Visa/ Cash

Reviewed 11/2005 by Jimmy Becher najimmyb [at]

Shop Review: The shop is spotless. Of course all tubes and needles are autoclaved and the stations are surface sterilized between each appointment. A wide assortment of flash is available to look thru. This shop just opened sept 1.2005. Its owners are Mike Manny and "Boz." True Tattoo is also in Saratoga Springs,NY.

Artist Review--Dave "The Bald Eagle" Tatum iamtattood [at] Dave is an older guy (45ish}. He has done or redone 90% of my work. (2 sleeves; 2 shoulder blades} Poitrait; Vikings(3); Ship; Ladies(3), etc.etc. Been in the art field all of his life. Was a professinal billboard artist/sign painter/pinstriper for well over 20 yrs. Did his first tattoo in 1992 with Dave 'Zapp' Zappia.

City Lights

17m, Goshen, 10924 Ph: (845) 294-6484

Cash, Credit cards, Checks

Reviewed 03/2004 by RoseMarie Geehern igomooalot [at]

Shop Review: Very friendly good environment makes you wanna come back

Artist Review--Tony Ozga: Very clean,always wheres gloves, all needles are sterilized

Tattoos By Dan

9 N7, Hudson, 12534 Ph: 518-822-1894

Reviewed 08/2000 by Noah Dinnar lodoss731 [at]

Shop Review: Shop is small, and not professional looking. No standard tattooing/piercing chair.

Artist Review--Dan: Horrible job, looks nothing like the work I brought him to copy. Lines are too thick, and are blurry. Shading is terrible, hardly any blending at all. Face on tattoo looks nothing like picture, eyes, nose and mouth are distorted looking. In general a horrible job. Will take over $250 worth of work to be fixed by another artist.

Reviewed 11/2002 by Stan Schwarz stan [at]

Shop Review: Not really a new review, but I received word that this shop is now under new ownership, so the other review isn't really applicable any more. If anyone has been there recently, please submit a new review. They also have a web page at [48]

Artist Review--:

Ink Inc.

327 Wall St., Kingston, 12401 Ph: 845-331-1993

cash, major credit cards

Reviewed 12/2001 by dawn minnieone26 [at]

Shop Review: great enviroment, very clean and sterile shop. sterilization is the best they can have. very curtious people. and the art work is the best that ive seen around.

Artist Review--Brian (Smitty): brian told me that he has 15 years experiance and his work proves it. very respectful guy. knows how to do great tattoos and he also body pierces. hes a well rounded person. when you go to see him youll keep going back..

Love Hate Tattoo

217 1/2 Alexander St, Rochester, 14619 Ph: 585-262-6440

$125/hr cash/credit cards

Reviewed 07/2001 by Stephen Brown ganesha [at]

Shop Review: Shop was clean, amazingly friendly, and not at all "bikerish." parking is a bitch...such is city life. Jet and i worked quickly and efficiently through art decisions and placement, i brought in what i wanted done, we did some changes, cleaned up the artwork and got to work quickly.

Artist Review--Jet onigod13 [at] Jet was really very calming to work with, and i was very glad that he had a good background in Hindu artwork. He was very relaxing to work with, and gave me all the time i needed for several 5 minute breaks in our almost three hour session.

Lucky Lotus Tattoo

633 Monroe Ave., Rochester, 14607 Ph: 585-271-5880


cash only

Reviewed 12/2003 by Dawn souls_door [at]

Shop Review: Very clean...the first one I've seen explain the needle packagesbefore opening. The walls are filled with there own artwork and local

artists... it's very cool. Knowing that there are REAL artists in the shop made all the difference!!! Artist Review--Steve Shales <lotus_tattoo [at]>: After viewing all his awards, most of them being international from NIX conventions, I knew he was the one! Steve was more than helping in setting up the design. I knew he was a costume only shop and brought him a drawing that I did of what I wanted. After reviewing his work I allowed him to do what ever he wanted to the drawing to make it perfect and he did! The process of drawing and configuration only took a few days before I was able to begin. I couldn't belive how gentle he was. Even when he was working underneath my arm it didn't bother me (I belive we spent 4 hours there with maybe one break). The colors and line work are beautiful. I've never seen anything so vibrant in the tattoo industry before. I most definetly put him up there or beyond the best like Guy Atchison and Aaron Cain (if you don't know look it up!) I am very picky when it comes to permant bodyart and steve understood my want for perfection and fullfilled that till the end.!...I WON!!!

NeedleWurks 26 Congress Street Plaza, Saratoga Springs, 12866 Ph: 518-583-4044 $50/hr depends on artist.. mainly cash Reviewed 11/2003 by Becky <pandora794 [at]> Shop Review: New location... place to spotless.. really sanitary. Several autoclaves, new needles... I wouldn't go anywhere else. Artist Review--Jake: Guy was awesome.. fixed a huge mess on my lower back done by another local artist. Really reasonable price for it.. looks absolutely gorgeous.. healing up really well. Reviewed 03/2004 by Jarrod <threndoyband [at]> Shop Review: Shop was crystal clean. The owner was just hanging around and being friendly with everyone. Even had video games for when you're waiting. Artist Review--Jake: This was my first tattoo and Jake couldn't have been any more accomodating. I was nervous and getting a custom and well

he just took care of me. Great guy, explained the whole procedure while inking me up.

Marky Marks Tattoo 262 Main st., Saugerties, 12477 Ph: 845-246-0100 [50] $100/hr Cash, credit cards Reviewed 10/2002 by James Robberts <redneck55 [at]> Shop Review: Cleanest shop i have ever seen. Every question anwsered, no attitude, sterilizer in sight, all new ink and needles. Licensed Nurse is his wife and piercer. They gave me aftercare and detailed instructions. Wouldnt go anywhere else! Artist Review--Mark: Professional, well worth the money. From Long Island. Quality work, I couldn't believe the detail in my tattoo. Looks better than the pic I brought him. He covered a nightmare on my arm with a realy unique design drawn right on me.

North Carolina:

Kevin's Tattoo Zoo 598 E.Chatham Street, Suite 139, Chatham Professional Park, Cary, 27511 Ph:

919-469-0770 [51] Reviewed 04/2003 by Paul R <srash [at]> Shop Review: The shop was very clean. Kevin cleaned the entire room prior to me entering after his previous client. Also, all the equipment was sterilized and covered as much as possible during the tattoo. Artist Review--Kevin Mashburn: Kevin is a very talented artist. I was very impressed given the fact that I came to him with a very bad tattoo. Kevin has a degree in art so he easily freehanded all of the repair needed and it looked great. I would definitely recommend him to anyone. You can also see his work in some of the tattoo magazines around.

Division 7 Williams St, Goldsboro, 27853 Ph: 919-583-8399 cash & credit Reviewed 12/2002 by Celina Serratos <blue_eyes2269us [at]> Shop Review: It is a very clean enviroment. you can ensure that your work will be done in a neat, clean, and safe manner. Both tattoos I received by Nicky I fell asleep because he's just awesome.... Artist Review--Nicky Parrish: Nicky is a highly artistic tattoo artist who is very absolutely amazing. all I can say is his work speaks for itself. He's so very talented and someone when you sit down to begin start your artistic story you can trust because you know you have sit down with the very best.

Carolina Tattoo 1029 W. Lee Street, Greensboro, 27403 Ph: 336-271-2030 Reviewed 01/2001 by Bethany Handy <girl_handy [at]> Shop Review: The shop was very nice and clean. The staff was helpfull and friendly. The layout of the shop was also a plus. My experience was a pleasant one at Carolina Tattoo Artist Review--Wayne Kendrick: Wayne is VERY skilled! He is easy to speak with and answered all of my questions. The area was clean, and the tools were sterile. I did my research before coming to Wayne Kendrick, and I am PLEASED by his art.

Gary's Skin Grafix 3398 South Memorial Dr. suite.E, Greenville, 27834 Ph: 252-756-0600 [52] Cash, check, charge Reviewed 10/2005 by Tony Dobbs <lmd_n_tad [at]> Shop Review: The best in the business. Pleasant employees, ant the shop is cleaner than some doctor offices that I have been to. Gary has done well with keeping his shops a respectful clean place.I know that Caroline has already won several awards for her work. Artist Review--Caroline Hedgepeth <caroline [at]>: Caroline has done three tattoos on me. Upper left chest a portrait of my mother and father, my upper right arm a picture of a deer which includes as armband and my upper left leg a portrait of my little girl. She was very polite and caring! It was like she was working for me. She took very good care of me and was always asking if I was ok, if I needed a break etc..... She takes her time and has a great deal of pride in her work. If she is happy with the tattoo then I guarantee that you will be happier. She will make sure that it is perfect, and she will not settle for anything less. Skin Art Studios 331 Western Blvd #B, Jacksonville, 28546 Ph: 910-577-1366 Reviewed 09/2003 by Nate Kokensparger <n8sbuggn311 [at]> Shop Review: Very clean shop with a great atmosphere. Sample tattoos were displayed with easy access. Couches, pool table, and arcade games made any wait seem short. The shop has shades and curtains if complete privacy is needed. Artist Review--Michael Knox: Mike does excellent work. He's very quick, but it doesn't affect his work at all. His attention to detail astounds me, never wanting to leave a tattoo unfinished. But more than welcome to make as many appointments as needed to comply with the customer. He also gives advice on size, location, colors, and care instructions.

Blue Flame Tattoo & Body Piercing 3015 Hillsborough St., Raleigh, 27606 Ph: 919-755-3355 $60/hr cash Reviewed 07/2002 by Val R. <layneraven [at]> Shop Review: Blue Flame is the best parlor I've been in (and I've been in several). It's very clean, the staff is helpful, and the atmosphere is very cool. Each artist has his own room, so there is lots of privacy. The vibe in there is really good. If I don't like the vibe I get when I go to a parlor, I won't have any ink done there. I've had two done now at Blue Flame, and I will keep going back. It's great. Artist Review--Ray Alexander: Ray is GREAT. He is very professional, and I get lots of compliments on the tats he's done for me. His prices are very reasonable (especially for Raleigh NC). He is a terrific artist and I will definitely keep going back to him. He's been doing this for about seven years, and he worked in a couple of cities before moving here. He has a fun sense of humor and he's a good conversationalist when you're in the chair. What I really like, though, is how he works with his clients to get their chosen designs just right.

North Dakota

Unregulated. Legislature: [53] No reviews.


Body Art By Gene & Co. 148 W Columbus Ave, Bellefontaine, 43311 Ph: 937-599-2711 cash,credit,checks,etc. Reviewed 02/2002 by Summer <BlondSassyAngel9 [at] Yahoo.Com> Shop Review: The Shop Was VERY Clean And GREAT Sanitation. The Neighborhood Is Very Nice And Clean Also. Artist Review--Gene: It Was Very Awesome! He's A Great Person And Keeps Your Mind Off Of The Pain That You Might Have. I Dont Know All Of That Other Stuff.

The Dragon's Cachet 106 W Chiliicothe Ave, Bellefontaine, 43311 Ph: 937 599 2258 $75/hr cash Reviewed 01/2003 by Andrew Kights <swiftwind69 [at]> Shop Review: Enviroment was sterile. They made sure to break the needle in front of me and made me feel like I belonged there. Artist Review--Mike and Fran <darkillistrations [at]>: Considerate people. Fun and was able to answer my questions without thinking about it.

D and J's Vibrant Colors Tattoo and Body Piercing N. Main St., Marion, 43302 Ph: 740-223-1300 cash, checks, credit cards Reviewed 04/2005 by Sean Cifone <seancifone [at]> Shop Review: Great envirorment some places feel like an office this place is like a living room just comfortable. and very sterilized dont crack anything open til your in the room and they do it in front of you. 10 out of 10 Artist Review--Jay and Jason: I got a dual barbed wire on left wrist done by Jay and a celtic symbol on inside of right forearm by Jason. They are very Professional with the sterilazation they make you feel extremely comfortable. just talking like friends and they do a great job on work very good with custom tatts and cover ups.


Tattooing is only allowed by licensed medical practitioners as part of treatment. Legislature: [54] No reviews.


Tattoo artists must be licensed by the state. Tattooing of minors is prohibited. Laws: [55] Spiritual Tree Tattoos 525 E 13th St, Eugene, 97401 Ph: 541-465-1252 [56] $120/hr Reviewed 04/2005 by Samantha Saltzman <angelface_43 [at]> Shop Review: Artist Review--Anji Marth <resonanteye [at]>: I don't know much about Anji's background or anything of the sort. What I do know is that she has an amazing ability to create things with very little insight as to what the client wants. She has an extremely unique style to her art that can not be replicated; not to mention the fact that her color work is phenomenal. And she is just an all around awesome tattoo artist. I always have tons of fun getting worked on by her...which is why I keep going back for more haha.

Vertigo 17645 SE Stark St., Gresham, 97233 Ph: 503-262-8643 $100/hr Cash Reviewed 05/2003 by Kristie <Kholland74 [at]> Shop Review: The shop is extremely sanitary-I've been to a few that are pretty questionable (won't say names). The environment suffices-albeit some red neck clientele, but if you walk in thinking "diversity" you'll be fine. Nathan and his counterpart piercer seem far removed from the red neck persona, thus, with that in mind, the vibe balances out. Privacy is great (been to other shops where you feel like your getting a pedicure gone bad (i.e. all clients hangin' in one small room- lest you breathe in horrible regurgitated O2). The shop is on the outskirts of Portland/Gresham and is hospital sanitary-albeit the decor reeks of rocky horror flicks or a Mario Bava Horror B film from the sixties or perhaps a Sam Hain cover! I tend to like those things:) You should at least check it out. Nathan did the one on my lower back as well as my tummy. Other artists have seen the work and have said unequivocally "ughhhhh nniiicccceee". Artist Review--Nathan: I liked the guy instantly b/c, and this will sound cheesy to some, he was x-military and fairly down to earth (i.e. when asked why he was so far out from downtown Portland he said "I had to get away from those assholes." Fair enough.. The guy can't be too bad-he has a cute picture of his dog on the wall and when asked why he wasn't entirely tattooed he said "b/c you never know in the tattoo business what could happen, what if I had to get another job down the road" thus he's realistic. I don't believe the guy has been to college as I talked about graduate school and he didn't interject with informative info for my doctoral thesis so I only assume he went to trade school (I mean that in a fictious sense). Is a degree really relative to the field is my point?Tiger Lilly Tattoo and Design Works 4620 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland, 97213 Ph: 503-288-1555 $100/hr cash Reviewed 06/2003 by Kristie <Kholland74 [at]> Shop Review: I would have liked more privacy. When I am in pain I don't like everyone and their mom to know. The guy next to me-poor thing- had to listen to me cuss and scream as the drill went deeper and deeper into my neck (could here it echoing in my head-ughhhhhh it sucked!!!!!)Tiger Lilly is in the Hollywood District. It was clean, but I know of other studios that just seem cleaner and not

as cluttered plus offer a bit more privacy. 

Artist Review--Cameron: Cameron was professional and even put up with my vulgarity throughout the process due to the pain that I was experincing (i.e. " he said It's 120, but 250 with all the cussing and screaming) which brings me to a valid point- did he really need to go as deep as he did with my tattoo. I then replied " well you guys are cussing and they all said "we work here." Anyhow, the crap was painful!!! He was a good sport and stopped when I felt faint. He offered candy to get my endorphins pumping which helped with the pain factor. He has been in the Portland area for a year (moved here from Southern California). He had tats all over his neck and arms and told me I was nuts for getting two tattoos in the same week (i.e. he said he waits at least one week between tattoos-actually pretty wise). His artist cronies were all pretty nice and helpful- they also do awesome work!! My friends have all gone there and the end product is nice-albeit by other artists ( i.e. Cheyenne and Amy)..

21st Century Tattoo 1520 SE 7th Ave., Portland, 97214 Ph: 503-238-9915 $150/hr Cash, credit cards Reviewed 06/2003 by Kristie <Kholland74 [at]> Shop Review: I felt like I was in a sweat shop-literally. There wasn't an air conditioner and there were fly's flying around. He was pretty sanitary and the shop looked clean. Lots of privacy (little rooms). It's not my type of shop. I much prefer Vertigo towards Gresham (just my opinion). Artist Review--Lyon King: Lyon had tattoo's all over his entire body (like a suit) and he also had huge earings on that like hung down to his shoulders.. Pretty wild.. He did a great job, but I had to wait an hour for him (appt. was at 6 and he wasn't ready till 7) ;( He was professional, and the pain was minimal if any (nothing compared to the neck). He's been doing this for years!!!!!! He is friendly, but kind of intimidating (hardcore biker looking).. He did a decent job.. I'm afraid to say anything to derogatory, thus, I am slightly sensored here (i.e. his hand wasn't that steady).However, his shop has won awards for being the best in Portland (has awards all over walls).

Lady Luck Tattoo 826 SE Belmont Ave., Portland, 97214 Ph: 503-236-2833 [57] $150/hr Cash, Check Card Reviewed 10/2003 by Brian Forbes <bsf32 [at]> Shop Review: Very clean, easy to get to...the staff was very friendly and helpful. the shop is pretty large and as stated, very clean. Each artist has his/her own shop area elevated off the floor slightly for a homey feel.

Highly recommended, A+++++.

Artist Review--Matt Shaver: Great guy, takes a ton of pride in his work as is evident from his portfolio and walk through of his process.

few works of art on his arms, killer stuff. His area was immaculate, autoclave, everything sealed in plastic, and all needles fresh from sterilized packages.

Atlas Tattoo Studio 2935 NE Broadway, Portland,, 97232 Ph: 503 281 7499 [58] $120/hr cash only Reviewed 12/2000 by Chantel Broad <pinkpaperdoll [at]> Shop Review: corner of 30th and broadway in northeast. right across from giant fred meyer, safe and clean neighborhood, loads of parking at freddy's, and it's free! the shop is clean, well organized and very comfortable. there are curtains all around and screens for those private moments and a candy jar to keep everyone from having low blood sugar! all implements are autoclaved, new needles for every customer, and work areas are wrapped in plastic and then cleaned after each person. it's very clean and safe! Artist Review--Jennifer Billig, Dan Gilsdorf <atlasta2 [at]>:

jen has tattooed all over.  she eventually moved to colorado and met dan. 

they both worked at bolder ink with jerry ware. they moved to portland three years ago and opened atlas. here, they met lewis, who had previously worked at atomic tattoo. Prior to that, lewis worked in alaska and arizona. Jerry has since moved up to seattle, but jen, dan, and lew all work at atlas still. all have bachelors of fine arts, and have been tattooing for approximately eight or nine years. they are all exceedingly friendly as well, with excellent chairside manner. they are most concerned with making customers feel comfortable, not intimidated.


18 Pennsylvania C. S. @ 6311 makes it illegal to tattoo minors under 18 without parental consent. Violations are considered a third degree misdemeanor. Otherwise unregulated. Legislature: [59]
The Body Shop
Main Street, Denver, 17517 Ph: 717-335-2125
$75/hr Cash and Check
Reviewed 08/2005 by Samantha Z <deathdelivers [at]>
Shop Review: The shop is located close to the Turkey Hill, on the same
side. It recently opened and provides tattoos and piercings. Tina pierces,
Lester tattoos. There is smoking in the shop.
Artist Review--Lester Dull: Lester tattooed a butterfly and the word
"Dreams" on my left ankle. He also tattooed a skull with a pink ribbon on
its head on my right ankle. Lester doesn't talk a lot but his work is
great. He uses autoclaves and one-time-use needles. He will ask you if
you're ok and make you feel comfortable. His area is separated by a
divider. He has been tattooing for over 15 years. There are other tattoo
artists but Lester is the main guy and, in my opinion, the best. He does
work for Skip in Lancaster, if you know who that is. Lester has some custom
work he's done up on the walls such as a nice pic of Pinhead from
Hellraiser. There's flash to look at, magazines, and binders full of work.
Check it out.

Tat House
East Stroudsburg Ph: 570-421-1826
Reviewed 07/2004 by Christina Tims <chrissy1125 [at]>
Shop Review: Very clean and sanitary, a professional environment, I felt
very comfortable.
Artist Review--Wendy: Wendy, is a very friendly person, that makes me feel
very comfortable and calm... She talks you through it, and my first and
second experiences were very pleasant. She also backs up her work, I

able to go back and have my ankle redone.
Olde City Tattoo
44 South 2nd Street, Philadelphia, 19106 Ph: 215-627-6271
Cash, credit cards
Reviewed 07/2002 by Stacey Robinson <staceyrobinson [at]>
Shop Review: The shop is sanitary, I believe that it is owned and
by a collective of artists who wanted to work in a place they would like to
go to.
Everything you mentioned on this site about sanitation, needles, ink use,
was followed/observed. Neighborhood is a fairly popular (mostly
downtown area. They do have at least one separate room for privacy.
is amazing. I am always intimidated when I go into a shop and everyone
there (
artist or customers) has at least one sleeve done, but these people are
very nice,
friendly, open, non-judgemental. I always leave feeling that I want to
back for more. Probably why every person with a substantial amount of
work that I asked 'where?', mentioned this place - and suggested
that ANY of the artists would do.
Artist Review--Drew: Drew told me that the shop opened 3 years ago and
he is one of the original owner/operators. Before that
he worked at another place in the city (not sure for how long). The most
amazing thing about Drew is his
ability to make me feel comfortable. He is very gentle too. So
basically, he
gets the information out of you that is required to do a good job. (Got me
open up.) He designed my idea without an extra charge (granted, it probably
wasn't that complicated - heart w/wings and lettering, BUT, still, it was
my way AND
probably about 7 versions - yikes!) He talks nervous people through the

I actually went there with someone else the first time and even then I

noticed, he treated us differently. He adjusted to my friend needing more
handling than
myself. He was a different person with each of us. That's pretty good.
Highly recommended.

== Rhode Island: ==
Prohibits piercing and tattooing minors without parental consent
Bulldog Tattoo
Pawtucket, 02860 Ph: 401-729-5089
Reviewed 11/2004 by Jaime <santaw55 [at]>
Shop Review: Friendly clean environment!!!
Artist Review--Glenn Dummer: He's a great artist and got an even better
Bambu Tattoo Art Studio Inc.
71 Richmond St., Providence, 02906 Ph: 401-274-5055
Reviewed 11/2003 by Tom Harrison <tomh [at]>
Shop Review: This Shop is nothing like anyone has ever seen before; it's
huge, open, exceptionally clean, very friendly, big private rooms, center
of Providence, you can even get a massage while you wait.
Artist Review--Joel Mejias: I believe Joel has about 8 plus years of
experience, very friendly, funny, makes you feel comfortable - His Talent
is through the ROOF you can't believe it until you actually see it done,
== South Carolina: ==
Tattooing is banned except for cosmetic procedures performed by
a physician.
No reviews.
== South Dakota: ==
Chapter 9-34-17
Allows municipalities to regulate tattooing and body piercing
Chapter 26-10-19
Prohibits tattooing minors without parental consent
Legislature: [61]
No reviews.
== Tennessee: ==
Prohibits tattooing of minors
Vampires Immortal Art Tattoo & Body Piercing
740 Highway 64 East, Adamsville, 38310 Ph: 731-632-9449
$75/hr cash
Reviewed 11/2005 by Melody Lewis <fierydragon52 [at]>
Shop Review: This is the cleanest shop I've ever been in. The health
department scores are posted and they are all 100's
Artist Review--Debbie DeVary <Immortalarttattoo [at]>: Debbie
is a very talented artist. 25 years tattooing, she is very gentle, caring,
Clean,entertaining and at times too funny. She takes pride in her art and is
a very talented lady. The shop is health inspected and well worth a visit.
Lone Wolf Tattoo
1602 21st Ave.S., Nashville, 37212 Ph: 615-321-3111
$100/hr cash&credit
Reviewed 12/2000 by Rosamond Murphy <rosamondmurphy [at]>
Shop Review: Located in a busy university area,in Hillsboro Village. Very
clean,without feeling sterile. The owner Ben Dixon has a private room for
tattooing,the other artists have 1/2 walls.Very friendly staff and general
atmosphere.lots of flash available.
Artist Review--Brandon Hanna: excellent chairside manner,very calming.well
maintained,sterile equipment.imaginative and conscientious artist was kind
enough to gently steer me away from flash for my first tattoo,that I would
have regreted by now.shows complete respect for you,your body,and your
artwork/ideas.very versatile as far as style go,but his celtic knotwork and
tribal work is inspiring.
Reviewed 02/2001 by Jennifer Levins <xuwitch [at]>
Shop Review: I was extremely impressed by the cleanliness of the shop - it
amazed me! All the people who worked there were very cool, yet
professional at the same time. Customers have the choice of a semi-open
area or a private room. I highly recommend it!
Artist Review--Brandon Hanna: Brandon was excellent! He was more than
willing to spend time with my friend (who also got a tat) and I to make
sure our designs were perfect. He made us feel very calm and at ease.
I've recommended him to several people, and will continue to do so! In
fact, I'm returning to him in a few days for more work.
Mid Evil Ink 735 South 1st, Pulaski, 38478 Ph: 931-424-8765 $85/hr Cash, Debit, Visa, Mastercard Reviewed 03/2006 by Brenda Kaye Newton [brendaknewton [at]] Shop Review: I am very impressed with the artist and his shop. His work is outstanding and speaks for itself. You could not ask for a cleaner environment to be in and the professionalism used by anyone at his shop is absolutely wonderful. They are very helpful and cares about each individual client.

Artist Review--Judd Clausel [midevilinktat2s [at]]: He apprenticed under Tiger from Columbia, TN. When he is working on a client they are his main priority. If he is not happy with the way he thinks the tat should look he will go to whatever length it takes to make himself and the customer satisfied. I will never let anyone else do a tattoo on me but this artist. His work is wonderful and he has a very clean and sanitary shop. You never have to worry about anything going wrong with his work.

Zenful Art 218 N. Lowry St, Smyrna, 37167 Ph: 615-223-1003 Reviewed 02/2004 by Ben Hiers [benhiers [at]] Shop Review: Clean shop and very friendly staff more than willing to answer any questions.

Artist Review--Chip Rutts: Great artist, works well with customers to get the piece to look just like customer wants. Very clean, very friendly and makes you feel very calm. Awesome artist can draw anything and do it very well and very clean lines when tattooing.


State licensing and inspection of tattoo shops. Tattooing of minors prohibited with a few exceptions. Legislature: [64] Laws: [65]

Music Box Body Art Studio Amarillo Ph: 806-372-8287 Reviewed 02/2004 by Misty Tuttle [MistyTuttle [at]] Shop Review: The shop was a friendly and comfortable place to be I was very satisfied with my artist. Artist Review: My artist was fairly new he had just finished body art school not long before I received his work. He was very professional about his work. His work area was neat and clean and he was good company for the two hours that he worked on me.

Obscurities/Trilogy Tattoo 4000-A Cedar Springs Rd., Dallas, 75219 Ph: 214 559-3706 [66] Reviewed 04/2000 by Chuck Eaves [ceaves [at]] Shop Review: Very professional. First tattoo, but I think it looks great. Mark was very friendly and helpful. Artist Review--Mark Thompson: In a word, Flawless. No jewelry was sold that wasn't autoclaved. The staff was helpful and informative. I've been in Doctor's offices that weren't this clean. If you are anywhere near Dallas, Give them a look.

Reviewed 01/2003 by Earl Barnett [jlg31athome [at]] Shop Review: The shop is very clean and the staff is friendly and helpful. It is a very laid back atmosphere. Each artist has his own room with the ability to close it off to make it private. Artist Review--Mark Thompson: Mark Thompson did a cover-up piece for me placing a dragon over an outline of texas that covered my shoulder. He designed the dragon himself. I could not be more pleased. The work is awesome and the colors work well together. Mark knows his stuff. He works with you, not just on you.

Hold Fast 2919 Greenville Ave, Dallas, 75226 Ph: 214-824-6320 [67] Cash & Credit Cards Reviewed 12/2004 by Tiffany Gardner [tdizzler [at]] Shop Review: The Shop has an awesome atmosphere, remarkably clean, it's practically the most clean and best shop i've found. Artist Review--Jeff, Jorge, and Caleb: Jeff has done 3 stars on my shoulder, star on my foot, and a daisy on my wrist; Jorge has done a collections of flowers and pin strips on my back; Caleb is working on a koi fish on my leg. All three of these artists have a unique style. They will do whatever you want, but at the same time give advice. They also will draw you up anything you want, and customize the design to your liking!

All Points Tattoo & Body Piercing 3716 Altameasa Blvd, Fort Worth, 76133 Ph: 817-423-3143 Reviewed 09/2005 by Crystal Shelly [Crystal.Shelly [at]] Shop Review: The shop itself was extremely clean and professional as well as the artist. Everything was properly sanitized and kept in a proper location. Privacy for my piercings on my nipples was excellent. The shop itself is a bit hard to locate but definitely worth the search. Artist Review--Drago: The artist always was professional honest and courteous. I have had two tattoos on my shoulders on on my lower back he has also pierced my upper ear cartilage and nipples. Also the area in which he worked was always clean and private if needed. Drago did my first tattoo and will be my artist from now on. He did wonderful work and I will recommend him to anyone.

Miss Fortune 1633 Westheimer, Houston, 77006 Ph: 713-523-1404 Cash, Credit cards Reviewed 06/2001 by Kat Sample [smiling_spider [at]] Shop Review: Very clean shop, with nice music, no smoking/drinking inside. Friendly environment and artists. Fun neighborhood. Artist Review--Mike O.: This tiger is my third tattoo, but it is the best-looking one. I know Mike from doing a tattoo on my mother-in-law. She was very nervous, but relaxed when he started working on the design she drew herself--a very complicated Celtic heart. It was her first and the only tattoo, but looked like she didn't have any more fear right after he began. Then, couple of months later, I was getting mine done; so, I went to Mike. Even though the shop was about to close, Mike stayed and did a wonderful job! I love my tiger; it's so clear, sharp, and good-looking that I am still very excited about it! I would recommend Mike to anyone who would want his tattoo to look as great as mine!

DandyLand 1821B Bandera Rd, San Antonio, 78218 Ph: 210-432-5747 [68] Cash, checks, credit cards Reviewed 02/2001 by James McCullough III [morpheus_traum [at]] Shop Review: The shop was very well maintained. Clean, comfortable, exceeded all state laws/regulations. All piercing and tattoo areas had could be closed off for privacy. All the staff is exceptionally helpful, and they are just fun people to be around. Artist Review--Miles: I know only a bit about Mile's background, that he apprenticed in a shop in Corpus Christi, Texas, before moving to San Antonio. As to the quality of his work, I could not be happier. Due to the nature of the tattoo I wanted, he was only able to make a silhouette of the circle in the center. Otherwise, he had to refer to the picture that I brought in, of the eclipse I wanted. He freehanded all but that center circle, and mixed the colors to damn near perfectly match what I brought in. His manner was very open and courteous. He answered all of the questions I asked him, whether it be about the tattoo or just making conversation. He also allowed a friend of mine to film him working for a documentary said friend was making for a film class. It was evident in talking to him that he enjoyed what he did and based on my first experience, he is quite good. I have referred several of my friends to him, all of which are just as happy as I am with their work, and I have gone back for two more tattoos with him myself.Tat-2 Body Works 117 S. Graham Ave., Stephenville, 76401 Ph: 254-968-0089 [69] $125/hr Cash, credit, debit and checks Reviewed 01/2005 by Tina Valentich <huntinbuddy [at]> Shop Review: The shop is a pimp, huge, 2,500 sq. ft. of ultimate dream shop!

It is immaculate, but warm and inviting. It is very sterile and clean and eclectic at the same time. The artists stations are orderly and very professional. It shines like a beacon right on the town square with neon galore! The best shop I've ever seen or been in! A number 1 experience! Extremely helpful and friendly staff. Erath County finally has true professionals!

Artist Review--Lyle "Lucky" and Freddy Payne <nbodyink [at]>:

Lyle "Lucky" has done a fantastic gothic, wood-carving-looking piece for me on my lower back as well as butterflies and wolves. I plan on getting my left arm sleeved this summer! Lyle "Lucky" and Freddy Payne are both fantastic artists. Lyle has been tattooing for 15 years and has been a graphic artist since 1981. Freddy has been tattooing 6 years. The proof is in the pudding.Real professionals, not like some other area scratchers' shop we went into! World-class art here!

Numb Skulls Tattoo 1017 E. Moore Ave, Terrell, 75160 Ph: 972-551-0013 Visa, Mastercard, cash Reviewed 09/2003 by Alice Taylor <dragula420_69 [at]> Shop Review: The shop is beautiful! They have thousands of beautiful designs

to choose from. Everything seemed so clean and neat. I was very impressed. There are a couple of other tattoo studios in the area, and to be quite honest, they're pretty scummy compaired to Numb Skulls Tattoo. Another thing that really impressed me was their attitude. They wern't rude and patronizing like a few that I talked to before deciding to go here. I had a wonderful time and am already planing a second tattoo. Thank you, Possum and Storm!

Artist Review--Possum: When you walk through the door, the first thing that hits you is the wonderful, clean smell. Numb Skulls Tattoo is a small husband/wife operation. The shop, itself, is on the east side of Terrell, on Hwy 80. Possum, the artist and his wife Storm were extremely friendly. They seemed really concerned about what I wanted, and were more than happy to help design this lovely dragon, which twists through some fluffy clouds, on my back. Their prices are very reasonable. Possum was very diligent when it came to keeping everythig clean and sanitary. He changed his gloves several times and was very proud to talk about his sterilization procedures. He was very informative. He told me about how to properly care for my new tattoo and invited me to come back after a couple of months to see if any of the colors needed a touch-up. When I returned for my belly piercing, Possum and Storm remembered me and were, again, very friendly and helpful. The piercing went off without any hitches. Possum was very professional. He knows what he's doing and displays a lot of confidence. That was very comforting to me. He says he's been doing tattoos for 15 years and piercings for five.I will recommend Possum to all of my tattooed friends.


State Code 76-10-2201 Prohibits piercing and tattooing minors without parental consent

Happy Valley Tattoo 37 South Main Street, Pleasant Grove, 84062 Ph: 801-796-3863 [70] $150/hr Cash, Visa, Mastercard, Shop Gift Certificate Reviewed 01/2006 by Cameron Nielsen <theonekid [at]> Shop Review: The shop is very clean and well kept. There are books of art/portfolios readily available to be looked through and reviewed. Artist Review--Kita: Kita was awesome to work with. She was very good about placement and having you look to make sure it was exact. All her years of experience really show in her phenomenal work.


Requires parental consent to tattoo minors. Legislature: [71] Laws: [72]? f=templates&fn=document-frame.htm&q=tattoo&x=Advanced&2.0#LPHit1

No reviews.


Code of Virginia 18.2-371.3 Prohibits tattooing minors without parental consent. Legislature: [73] Laws: [74] Crazy Daizy Tattoo 952 W. Main St., Abingdon, 24210 Ph: 276-623-2345 [75] Cash Reviewed 06/2005 by Esther Moffet <twoballcaine [at]> Shop Review: Matthew was extremely professional and used brand new, sterile equipment on me. He seemed very knowledgible of his trade as well. Not to mention, he did beautiful tattoo work. Artist Review--Matthew <tattooricci [at]>: Crazy Daizy is a small, but sanitary studio. There is no smoking, alcohol, or drugs allowed on the premises. They use state of the art sterilization practices.

Abstract Art Plaza 17, Gloucester Ph: 804-642-0028 [76] Cash, credit cards Reviewed 09/2000 by Rebecca S. Barninger <barninger-becky [at]> Shop Review: Abstract Art tattoo shop is the cleanest shop I have ever visited. It is also large , open and kind of airy. Gives you room to look and really think about the piece you are thinking of getting. The staff are all helpful and willing to answer all your questions no matter how lame they might sound. They are friendly so they make you feel comfortable. They give you special attention and make you feel like your tattoo is the most important one they have ever done. Artist Review--James Jarvis: James has done 8 tattoos on me. He is clean, friendly and full of life. The work he has done has been mostly custom work. He has never disappointed me with the out come. The tattoos are vibrant and seem to carry a life of their own. I now live in another state but I love his work so much I travel 5 hours to have his work done on me. In my humble opinion there is no better artist then James Jarvis. James is also trained in blood pathagens and makes sure everything is clean and sterlized. He has been an artist for Abstract for about 6 years.

Accent Tattoo 2072 Route 17, Gloucester, 23061 Ph: 804-642-7473 Reviewed 05/2002 by Alex Mankowich <princessxela [at]> Shop Review: Shop was neat and clean. There were places to sit and the flashes were right there to see. It was close to a 7-Eleven for cold drinks and ciggies. People were nice. Much better feeling than the other places I stopped in. Artist Review--Lauren: Lauren was fabulous! I felt very comfortable with her from the first day I walked into the shop. This was my first ever tattoo, and I was nervous and needed many breaks. She was patient with me and remained professional and polite through my experience. She let me bring friends to hold my hand. She gave me a cold drink and brought in a fan for me. I would recommend Lauren to other female friends considering a tattoo. One of my non-tattooed friends who came with me now wants a tattoo after sitting through mine with me. I think that's a great statement for Lauren-I certainly could not have said that after the first tine I saw one of my friends get a tattoo! Oh yes-I love my new sun tattoo too! I am showing it to everyone. Even my 64 year old, hyper-conservative mom has admitted it is pretty. (And she should know-she gets the honors of putting on my tattoo goo every few hours).

I AM Tattoos 3020 W. Mercury Blvd, Hampton, 23666 Ph: 757-827-1919 [77] Reviewed 10/2003 by Christine Larson <Takayla [at]> Shop Review: Everything was clean, hygenic and well handled. Artist Review--David "I AM" Heydn <contact [at]>: David was fabulous. Completely worked with me, he is a magnificent artist and has a wonderful chairside manner. He completely reworked a tattoo that I had done by someone else that was really bad. I would go back to him again!!


Revised Code of Washington 26.28.085 Prohibits tattooing minors 82.04.050 Concerning retail sales and tattooing Legislature: [78]

Electric Crayons Tattooing Co. 1170 sw Bay St, Port Orchard, 98366 Ph: 360-895-8751 $100/hr Cash Credit Debit Reviewed 12/2002 by Dustin Markson <RIZSMT [at]> Shop Review: This shop is state of the art, with separate wet lab super clean environment and professionalism put before ego. Ray and Skrappy also of Storybook ink have done a wonderful job in designing and tattooing myself and my friends. There is no substitute for exellence and cleanliness. Artist Review--Fat Ray <FatRaysticker [at]>: Ray is so funny. He kept my sister from crying one time and he wasn't even tattooing on her. The bedside manner of the entire shop is excellent The diversity of the five artists is unmatched in Kitsap county.

Vyvyn's Tattoo 1516 Western Avenue, Seattle, 98101 Ph: 206-622-1535 [79] cash Reviewed 09/2000 by Jenny Peck <offwiththeirheads [at]> Shop Review: A private shop on the west side of the Pike Place Market. There is no flash on the walls, only custom tattoo art by Vyvyn (on display). The decor is varied with a lovely and fun theme. It always smells good. The cleanliness is impeccable, and offers complete privacy for both consultation and tattoo session. Artist Review--Vyvyn Lazonga <vyvyn [at]>: Vyvyn is an amazing person. She not only helped me to fully-realize the design I had been meditating on, but practically psychically pulled certain elements of the design from my being to create the perfect piece of art for me. She is fun, friendly, cooperative, open-minded, and extremely sensitive to client needs. She is a pioneering female tattoo artist, and has broad experience in many different tattoo styles and environments (having more than 25 years of experience and far more qualifications than I could possibly list here) that have given her knowledge and foundation, and has allowed her to evolve into the *extremely* talented and unique artist that she is today. I can't recommend her highly enough. She is everything I was searching for in a tattoo artist, and more. Reviewed 10/2003 by Paul Hoffman <phoffman [at]> Artist Review--Vyvyn Lazonga: She was great, the shop was great, and the tattoo is still wonderful after five years. This is definitely art, not craft; she did the full design based on a few concepts I gave her. Her shading on the flowers and action in the water were particularly nice, and I get oohs and ahhs from folks who see it.

Constant Creations 704 N. Monroe, Spokane, 99205 Ph: 509-327-4254 $100/hr Reviewed 03/2003 by Cassandra <african_violin [at]> Shop Review: The shop was very clean, with a nice sized waiting room. All staff were friendly and receptive to my needs. When I went back with a problem, I was given great tips on how to fix the problem. Artist Review--Clae: Clae was very gentle, this was my first tattoo, he started off lightly and blurred into heavy lines later, when i became more comfy. there was no shortage of conversation and the whole thing was lighthearted. he's a very skilled tattooist and a very nice guy.

R Rated Tattoo 220 E Wellesley Ave, Spokane, 99207 Ph: 509-489-1631 [80] Reviewed 08/2005 by Lee Ann Wilson <lele_36 [at]> Shop Review: Shop was clean, well organized, with sanitation measures used consistently. Location was right off the main road, across from a major mall, very easy to find. Except for a lack of seating for more than 3 people waiting, the entire environment was friendly and comfortable. Artist Review--Skully: Skully was a great guy. After you got past his gruff exterior, he was very humorous, and proud of his skills without being overly egotistical. He was businesslike without being rude, and made sure that the customer he was working on was comfortable. He discussed the flash I chose for my tattoo with me, making sure of exactly what I was trying to accomplish before I committed to anything. And his technique is very gentle and thorough, without being slow. Except for the typical after pain you get from tattoos, I've not suffered half as much as I usually do after getting ink. I would recommend Skully, and his partner Ed who did another tattoo for me and my husband that day, to anyone.Flaming Dragon Tattoo Co 9724 79th St SW, Tacoma, 98498 Ph: 253-627-7203 $100/hr Cash Reviewed 03/2002 by Mark Klue <markklue [at]> Shop Review: The shop is clean, bright and comfortable. There are two chairs. If you want flash, they have flash. Bring in your own design or concept and they will make a tattoo of it. They also have a piercer on staff. The actual location of the shop is in the Asian district on S 38th, in Tacoma. Artist Review--Scott Schafer: Scott has the patience to do good tribal work, like mine. But his skill shines with his large Asian work. He won four awards at Reno. A friend has a coy fish that goes from her shoulder to her thigh. Beautiful work to match the samurai half sleeves Scott did for her before.

House of Tattoo 2701 6th Avenue, Tacoma, 98406 Ph: 253-274-8282 $100/hr Reviewed 05/2005 by Kathleen Mitchell <kmitchel [at]> Shop Review: I had a appointment for a consultation with the owner, Katie. I was kept waiting for over an hour, and then she hurried me through. I gave her a picture of what I wanted and set an appointment. On the day of the appointment, someone called from the shop asking if I could move to the next day. I wasn't able to do this, so Katie said she couldn't do the tattoo because she hadn't done the drawing yet. I told her I would be up to get my deposit back. When I came in to get my deposit she had someone else give it to me. I felt that I just wasn't treated very well as a customer. Artist Review--:

West Virginia:

Code of West Virginia Article 33 Prohibits tattooing minors without parental consent; regulates tattooing No reviews.


State Statutes
252.23 Regulates tattooing and body piercing.  Tattoo artists are licensed
by the state, and shops are inspected by the health department.
Legislature: []
Laws:  []?

clientID=141919&advquery=tattoo&headingswithhits=on&infobase=stats.nfo& record={11660}&recordswithhits=on&zz=

Skin Prints 309 E. Grand Ave., Eau Claire, 54703 Ph: 715-831-8780 [81] $100/hr No checks Reviewed 11/2003 by Kelly Baker <kbbaker00 [at]> Shop Review: This shop is spotless and has never ever had a health violation. I saw a health review on the wall that had been done a few months prior to our visit and it specifically said that the sanitition of the shop was great. Private rooms, great atmosphere, inside of the shop looks like a castle which is very cool. Bathroom was spotless and I am a neat freak so that says a lot coming from me! Artist Review--Jenn Paulson: For my 2 sisters and I, this was our first tattoo and it was my mom's second, her first also was done by Jenn. We picked designs out of a book which Jenn then customized. They are identical and beautiful. We couldn't be more pleased with the work and also the entire experience. Jenn is very professional, caring, and talented.

Steves Tattoo 1148 Williamson St., Madison, 53719 Ph: 608-251-6111 Reviewed 01/2001 by Monte Klink <monteave [at]> Shop Review: very satisfactory, really nice people working there. Clean, area was good, great environment to be in Artist Review--Gary Gaulke: Awesome, he's a great person, does very good quality work, hope to get inked by him again

Skin Candy Tattoo 31131 Washington Ave., Racine, 53403 Ph: 262-632-0549 [82] Reviewed 03/2003 by Jessica Wollmuth <nerske [at]> Shop Review: This shop was very clean. They use hospital sterilizied instruments. And new instruments are used on every client. The environment of the shop was very lade back and relaxing. I felt very at home when I went into this shop. The shop is located right downtown in a fairly good neighborhood. Artist Review--Dave Nack: This artist is one of the nicest guys I have met.

I visited many shops before choosing Skin Candy.  I found Dave to be very
friendly and able to work with me on what I wanted for my tattoo.  His
pricing was very reasonable too.  Seeing as this was my first tattoo, Dave
walked me through every step of the tattoo process, and always took time to
ask me how I was doing.

==== Wyoming: ====

State Statutes Title 14 Prohibits tattooing of minors

No reviews.

New Zealand:

Living Canvas Tattoo Studio 77c Briggs Rd, Christchurch, New Zealand Ph: 64-3-3858969 Reviewed 06/1998 by Amy Simmons <simmonsa [at]> Shop Review: Appeared very sanitary. Autoclave used (+ new needles/ink). No smoking/eating/drinking in the separate room used for tattooing. Complete privacy - ALWAYS, no matter where on your body you are getting the tattoo. Appointments not always necessary, except for genital tattoos where appointments must be made. Does not offer piercings. Artist Review--Korrina: Owns the shop and has won quite a few awards. Very friendly, helpful and approachable - answered all my questions in a friendly & professional manner, and was great at helping me to relax before having the tattoo done. I provided the drawing of the design I wanted, and she did it almost exactly as I had drawn it. I was very satisfied with the result. Offers a free follow-up appointment to make sure the tattoo is healing properly.


Bad Bones Tattoos Rua do Norte, 73, Lisbon, Portugal Ph: +351.1.346 08 88 Reviewed 11/1998 by Miguel Rego <mrego [at]> Shop Review: A very nice and friendly shop. Two private rooms and one lobby/reception. It's in an old neighborhood that used to be a kind of "redlight" and now has tons of bars, restaurants, art shops, smart shops and alternative spots. It's 100% safe and clean. Health authorities check the place & the people who work there regularly on the shop request. Artist Review--Jo?o Paulo Fontinha: Used to do illustrations for advertising. He has been tattoing for 7 or 8 years now. He is one of the best-known portuguese tattoo artists. Very good on drawing, and different styles. I enjoy particularly his tribal, bio-mechanical and cartoon stuff.


Irezumi Tattoo Studio 25 Dowanhill Street, Glasgow G11 5QR, Scotland Ph: 0141 342 4008 Cash Reviewed 10/1999 by Leslye Weir <lezlian1 [at]> Shop Review: The shop is in an easy to find and very diverse location, with good parking. Hygiene is of high importance with all stringent procedures carried out in front of you, with equipment being autoclaved. Shop has separate non-smoking waiting area and is light and modern inside, with plenty examples of flash and Steven's own artwork on display along with many photographs. Artist Review--Steven Wrigley: Steven is a friendly and easy going guy (watch out for the wry sense of humour!), more than happy to discuss ideas and suggestions. A very conscientious worker, nay perfectionist, willing to draw designs from your ideas for your approval. Has a great eye for placement and use of colour. An unassuming character with pride in his work and your satisfaction. Son of the late Terry Wrigley of Terry's Tattoos (also Glasgow)

Care of new tattoos

What should I expect with a new tattoo?

A new tattoo is an injury to your skin; it's like a scrape. Typically, when the artist finishes, they will cover the new tattoo with some sort of bandage, probably non-stick bandages. Some will use clear plastic sheet, like saran wrap. The bandage is largely to protect the tattoo and your clothes, since new tattoos ooze. Also note that tattoos will ooze ink along with the other fluids, and it is not unusual to find an imprint of your new tattoo on the inside of the bandage with you take it off.

General advice from a medical doctor

The contributor for this question is Dr. Kai Kristensen <[email protected]>, a pathologist recently retired lab director (after almost 30 years) of an internationally reknown medical center in La Jolla, California. While his professional expertise is not specifically in bodyart, Kai is a bodyart enthusiast: After the session, the best treatment is simply that which one would give a bad sunburn. For the first few hours (or overnight) leave on the protective dressing supplied. After removing that dressing, clean gently with soap and water and apply a thin film of antibiotic ointment (Bacitracin or any of the triple antibiotic ointments available over the counter). That can be repeated during the day for comfort and sticky clothing. The process is repeated the second and third days. After that, keeping the area clean on a daily basis and (if you wish) lightly lubricated with some vaseline to minimize crusting also helps minimize the itch. Plastic surgeons keep wounds clean and moist for least scar formation. Do not go swimming for the first day or two after tattooing.

Common misconceptions with no basis in reality:

1. "Vaseline fades a tattoo". The ink is underneath the epidermis

 and the outer layer of dermis. There's no way that vaseline can get 
 down through the epidermis to draw out any of the ink.

2. "Swimming fades a tattoo". For the same reason above,

 chlorine does not get to the ink. Common sense 
 precautions include not swimming in a public pool with a wound.==== What are some bad things for my new tattoo? ====


Well, unfortunately it is. The newer inks are better at resisting fading but whatever you do, if you spend lots of time in bright sunlight your tattoos will fade (over a lifetime, not over a week). Try and keep them out of bright sunlight and use sunblock.

Did you know that your tan is your skin's way of dealing with the damage caused by the sun? It's like the formation of a scab when you have a cut. You will pay for your years of sun exposure when you are in your 40s and 50s. Leathery, wrinkled, dry skin with freckles and liver spots. Melanoma. Skin cancer. Regular visits to the dermatologist. Be cautious!

Tanning booths are not good for you! They are not regulated by the FDA, and the staff that work at these salons have been known to give out patently false information. Many salon operators will suggest dosages far exceeding industry recommendations, and the FDA would actually prefer that these booths be banned altogether. Do not believe the salon operators who tell you there is NO damage caused by their UV rays. There are indications that tanning booths emit rays that cause the type of damage that only shows up years later, when it is difficult to fault any one operator. Their industry motto is "tan safe." There is no such thing as a SAFE tan, folks. Sorry.

The following is information about suncare and sunblock, as well as some specific brand recommendations by RAB readers:

  • Use products that do not clog your pores. If your sunblock
makes you break out or feel itchy, this may be the cause.
  • Avoid sunblock containing PABA, apparently found to be carcinogenic.
  • "SPF" stands for Sun Protection Factor. If you can normally stay out
for ten minutes without getting sunburnt, then an SPF 2 should protect
you for 20 minutes, SPF 6 for 60 minutes, etc. HOWEVER, this
does not mean an SPF 30 will let you stay out for five hours with
just one coat. Keep your exposure limited to the minimum amounts,
and always use an extra strong sunblock with at least SPF 30 for your
  • "Waterproof" and "sweatproof" sunblocks protect you while in water.

However, reflections from the water add to your exposure. Make

sure you use a high SPF number, and always re-apply your sunblock when
coming out of the water.
  • Sunblock is not just for the beach! Make it a habit to carry one with
you during the sunnier months so you can protect your tattoo always!
The Watermelon Stick from the Body Shop is nice and portable, but in a
pinch, a tube of lip balm (Blistik, etc.) will work, as long as it has
an SPF. Dab a bit on your tattoo whenever you will be outside.

Products recommended by some RABbits:

  • Banana Boat for Kids - SPF 50.
  • Banana Boat's SPF 50, for Extra Sesitive Skin
  • "Deep Cover" Super Sunblock
  • Body Shop's Watermelon Stick
  • Bullfrog Moisturizing Formula - Body Lotion (not the Gel Formula).
  • Neutrogena's Senisitive Skin SPF 17
  • Schering-Plough's "Shade Sunblock" in various SPFs.

How do I care for my new tattoo?

The artist that did your tattoo will have something very definite to say about the care of your new tattoo, and it is probably a good idea to listen. Many shops will have an information sheet listing care instructions.

The information provided in this section may or may not be the same method your artist offers. Regardless, there are three things to remember about caring for your new tattoo:

  • Moiturizing
  • Don't overmoisturize
  • Don't pick scabs

As long as you follow these three rules, your tattoo should be fine.

However, as people get more tattoos, they begin trying out slightly different methods.

How do you know which method is best for you? It depends on the type of skin you have, and how sensitive it is.

Baby powder: sprinkle a liberal amount on the hotel bed sheets to prevent my skin from sticking to the sheet. Baby bath: A fruity-smelling liquid soap, it's very mild and has minimal lathering. pour a bit on my hand, rub into a light lather and wash the tattoo. It rinses off very easily with non-pressurized water, minimizing the risk of losing scabs. Baby lotion: The Johnson's brand feels non-greasy. Diaper rash ointment: Zinc oxide-based, thick, non-greasy ointment on certain "contact spots" that may rub against clothes (i.e. bra strap, waistband).Other people will recommend different ointments and lotions. Some people swear by Tea Tree Oil (toner) from the Body Shop for its healing qualities. Others like A&D Ointment (marketed for diaper rash, I find it somewhat greasy), and the cheapest is probably regular Vaseline Intensive Care. If you live in a dry area and you're prone to use a lot of lotion anyway, the last one, in a large pump bottle, may be your best bargain.

This section lists treatments to give you an idea of the breadth of suggestions offered. Special thanks to Lance Bailey <[emailprotected]> for this section.



Ancient Art puts a vaseline on the new tattoo and bandages up the whole thing, they give you these instructions:

Tattoo Care Instructions:

  1. Remove bandaid in 18 hrs.
  2. Wash tattoo immediately with soap and water
  3. When skin feels like normal wet skin, pat dry.
  4. Put nothing on the tattoo for 3 days.
  5. From the 4th day, apply smallest amount of lotion possible once

a day to keep it from drying out completely; gently work it in (a drop for a 1"x4" piece).

  1. Do not get the tattoo wet.
  2. Do not permit sun on tattoo.
  3. Scabbing may or may not occur. This is normal. Do not pick scab.

On using Vaseline: Neosporin is Vaseline-based, & doesn't hurt. On using Neosporin: Not really neccessary, but it doesn't hurt. Strong warning: Never let the shower directly hit the tattoo.

This procedure is how I healed the four I got at Ancient Art and they seem to be the slowest to heal. After 2.5 weeks, they still have scabs. sigh.

Lance Bailey says: I used to go to great lengths to keep my tattoos moist while healing. But now, looking at the ink I healed then, and other art which is not much older but healed without all the moisture, I see that the ones where I kept it real moist to prevent any scabs are a lot fainter--grey where the others are still black. I quite literally drew a lot of the ink out of the piece. Yes, it is important to keep the tattoo from drying out, but a scab is part of the normal healing process, and trying to fool mother nature is risking trouble. Your mileage will of course vary.


1. Bandage(*) should stay on for at least two hours.
2. Remove bandage, rinse gently with cold water and blot dry.
3. Apply Bacitracin ointment 4 time a day and blot out excess.
4. Keep tattoo fresh and open to the air. Do not bandage.
5. For the first week, avoid swimming or long soaking.
6. For the first month, avoid too much exposure to the sun.
7. Do not pick or scratch scabs.
8. Itching is relieved by slapping or alcohol.
9. Keep tattoo covered with loose clothing.
  • Bandaging Summary
1. After tattooing clean whole area w/ green soap & white paper towel.
2. Spray it with alcohol and hold a paper towel on it.
3. apply film of Bacitracin ointment.
4. Cover with bandage or Handi-Wrap and securely tape it on.

I have yet to try this method, but have seen a few tattoos which have been bandaged with handi-wrap and they turned out just fine. (Huck writes that the handi-wrap stops people from peeling off the bandage in the first few hours to show friends.)


This method is recommended by Suzanne at Creative Tattoo (Ann Arbor, Michigan)

1. Remove bandage after 4 - 5 hours.
2. Wash gently with soap or water.
3. Do '''not''' scrub or soak until completely healed (usually a week). Showering 
is OK.
4. Necessary to re-bandage.
5. Keep tattoo out of sun or tanning booths while healing. Once healed, 
'''always''' use sunscreen on colors.
6. We recommend Noxzema Medicated Skin Lotion twice a day to aid healing 
& comfort. Do '''not''' use Vaseline, oils, anything greasy or anything with 
cortisone. Oils block your skin from contact with air, inhibiting healing.
7. Tattoo "peels" in 4-7 days. Do not pick or scratch!


1. Remove the bandage and shower that night.
2. Wash gently with soap or water.
3. Apply  petroleum-jelly-based ointment before bed and again the next 
4. Apply lotion the second night and then twice a day for a week.



Tattoos can definitely be affected by stretch marks. Whether you will or won't get stretch marks is apparently determined genetically, so placement is a consideration if you are planning on getting pregnant.


For most people, the amount of muscle gain is nowhere near as quick or as dramatic as what you would see with the stretching of skin on a pregnant person. For this reason, you don't really have to worry about your tattoo changing shape when you start lifting weights.


If you are planning on getting pregnant, you should be very cautious about the placement of any tattoo near the abdominal area. Not only will the tattoo stretch during pregnancy, but there is no guarantee that the tattoo will go back to its original shape after the birth.

Be particularly wary of getting any tattoo where the shape is important, such as with symmetrical tribal pieces, or Celtic knots. Even geometric patterns such as a circle could end up looking like an oval (or worse, an irregular blob). A more "giving" image, like clouds, might suit you better.


There are several methods listed below. However, you either still end up with a tattoo (albeit a better looking one), a scar or a skinnier wallet. In other words, it is much easier to get a tattoo in the first place than to get rid of one. If you are considering getting a new tattoo, think carefully before you do, or you may end up re-reading this section.

IMPORTANT: Most health insurance companies do not cover tattoo removal in their coverage. The removal of a small tattoo (2-inch square) could end up costing you over $1,000--and there are "hidden costs" to the concept of tattoo removal. The bottom line is, tattoo removal is very expensive.


There are different ways to get cover-up work, depending on the situation. A name can be tastefully camouflaged with a small design. If it's the entire thing you want covered, it could be covered with another design. It is easier to cover a lighter color with a darker color, although oftentimes the original work is done in a dark color.

This means not just a good tattooist, but a really good artist; what they'll have to do is find a way to work the existing tattoo into a new design that will cover and disguise what's there.


With the advances in technology, technique and the availability of new, brighter colors in the past few years, faded or blurred tattoos can look brighter and sharper than when they were new.

Some touch-up work makes the tattoo significantly better looking than it ever was, actually improving on the original tattoo.


The tissue expansion method is where a balloon is inserted and inflated under the skin to slowly stretch the flesh. The tattoo is then cut out and the newly stretched skin covers its place. This is a popular method for removing smaller tattoos and leaves only a straight-line surgical scar.


Sal abrasion involves rubbing the image with salt and "sanding" it out.


The staged excision method actually cuts the image out, a small portion at a time.

Both the sal abrasion and staged excision methods result in more scarring.==== MEDICAL LASERS ==== There are a number of new laser methods for tattoo removal, although they tend to be costly and are usually not covered by medical insurance. Of the three forms of medical lasers currently available (the CO2 laser, the Q-stitched ruby laser and the Tatulazr), the new Tatulazr has been deemed one of the most effective ways to remove blue-black tattoos.

According to Dr. Richard Fitzpatrick of Dermatology Associates of San Diego County (who is the clinical investigator for the Tatulazr), the Tatulazr delivers pulses of energy that are selectively absorbed by the pigment granules of the tattoo. He says that the Tatulazr's wavelength causes less absorption of the laser light by the normal skin, resulting in less risk of scarring. The longer wavelength allows more energy to reach the target tattoo pigment, resulting in greater removal success. In addition, the wavelength allows for deeper penetration into the skin, which means fewer treatments may be required for complete tattoo removal.

For the name of a physician in your area who uses the Tatulazr, call the Candela Laser Corp. at 1-800-733-8550 Ext. 444 (or write to them at 530 Boston Post Rd., Wayland, MA 01778).


The following, brought to my attention by Mike ([email protected]), is a copy of an FDA alert dated September 1992 against the method of chemical tattoo removal being marketed by Tatex, Inc. based in Pickering, Ontario (Canada) and marketed in the US out of Las Vegas, Nevada. I have no reason to doubt Mike's intentions in forwarding this alert to me. From what Mike tells me, it's possible that Tatex is a weak acid or peroxide formula that eats away at your skin. He says he believes the FDA alert is due to their not having completed necessary tests. The following is the alert in its entirety.

I recently received an email from the makers of Tatex, asking me to remove this section. I checked, and the FDA alert is still in effect, having been updated as recently as October, 1999, so this section still stands.

FDA IA#66-11, REVISED 9/21/92 TYPE OF ALERT: Automatic Detention PRODUCT: Tattoo Removers PRODUCT CODE: 66V--99 PROBLEM: New Drug without a New Drug Application (NDA) (DRND) PAC FOR COLLECTION: 56008H COUNTRY: All MANUFACTURER/SHIPPER: All CHARGE: "The article is subject to refusal of admission pursuant to Section 801(a)(3) in that it appears to be a new drug within the meaning of Section 201(p) without an approved new drug application [Unapproved New Drug, Section 505(a)]." RECOMMENDING OFFICE: CDER/OTC Compliance Branch, HFD-312 REASON FOR ALERT: Three complaints of injury have implicated this drug as the source of acute inflammation, cellulitis and secondary infection of the skin. All of the complaints indicated that the tattoo remover was received through the mail from the Atlanta Co., Pickering, Ontario, Canada. The product was received in small plastic vials labeled in part, "Tatex Tattoo Remover*** 2 1/2 cc accompanied by labeling entitled, "Instructions for use of the Tatex Tattoo Remover." Although there has been no recent detention activity of the Tatex brand tattoo remover, the alert remains in effect because of the possibility of entry which may be attempted for similar products from other foreign manufacturers. INSTRUCTIONS: Detain products which claim to be tattoo removers. Notify CDER/OTC Labeling Branch at 301-295-8063 when detentions of these products are made. KEYWORDS: Tattoo remover, New Drug, Tatex Tattoo Remover, skin, infection PREPARED BY  : Linda A. Wisniowski, DIOP, 301-443-6553


In a news conference held in April 1994, San Jose Mayor Susan Hammer announced a new program that would help young people to remove unwanted tattoos. $15,000 from the San Jose BEST anti-gang grant program will pay for the tattoo removal from about 100 people. Hammer said she will seek additional funding.

"I want to send a message to every young person troubled by the presence of a tattoo," Hammer said. "This program is about you and about your dream." The service is being provided by plastic surgeon Josh Korman, who is donating his time.

Another program to remove juveniles' tattoos is funded by the California Youth Authority. People under 25 can have tattoos removed in exchange for performing 30 hours of community service. In Southern California, this program is administered by the Hollywood Sunset Free Clinic. Information about this can be found at: [83]



Fluorescent ink is not the same as glow-in-the-dark ink. Fluorescent inks glow under ultraviolet light. Phosphorescents glow after being exposed to light, and glow-in-the-dark things that glow without any outside stimulus are almost unknown.

There are no glow-in-the dark inks, and there are no phosphorescent inks.

For a brief time around 1991, some tattoo artists experimented with fluorescent inks that glow under UV light. At the time, it was thought that these could be used to make tattoos that would only be visible under UV light. As it turned out, these inks did not perform as expected. They were not invisible under normal light, and in some cases turned brown. At the same time, many people reported skin irritation problems.

There is a collection of information about these inks at: [84]==== WHAT COLORS ARE AVAILABLE? ==== There are a lot more colors available now than just "Popeye Green" and red. Just about every color imaginable can be obtained for your design. If your artist does not have a pre-mixed color, they will mix the colors on the spot for you. It is not an exaggeration to say that you could specify your design by Pantone color, especially since many artists have fine arts degrees and are familiar with the various Pantone shades.


While there are some metallic inks available, these are very rare and a general answer to this question is a simple "no." If you have a design that needs to look metallic, a good artist can use other colors to make it look metallic without actually using gold or silver ink. Artists shy away from metallic colors because of their toxic properties under the skin.


Most artists use white ink to highlight certain parts of your tattoo design. However, white ink is a special color that requires your artist to work closely with you. The effect of white ink differs greatly among clients, and its visibility and retention on the skin has much to do with the natural coloration of your skin.

White ink seems to work best on very light-skinned people. Unfortunately, this means people with dark skin would not able to get a white ink tattoo on their skin to have a "photo negative effect" that looks like a negative of a dark colored tattoo on light skin. This is because the ink sits under your skin, and the layer of skin over the ink is tinted with your natural skin color. So if you have very dark skin, the white will be overwhelmed with your natural melanin.

Those who have very light skin however, may use white ink exclusively to get tattoo designs that are very difficult to discern at first glance. This might be an interesting option for ankle or wrist tattoos, or other areas where a regular non-white tattoo would show up too easily and possibly cause problems for the wearer.


Japanese irezumi tattoos are often associated with laborers (primarily fire fighters and carpenters) and yakuza members, who stereotypically also lack the tips of one or two digits on their hands (to signify a failed order and to show loyalty; see the movie, Black Rain. An excellent book to see examples of traditional Japanese bodysuits is The Japanese Tattoo by Sandi Fellman (New York : Abbeville Press, 1986. 112 p.).

For those interested in getting work of this magnitude done however, the general answer is "you can't get one." This is not only because of the time or costs involved - there is a sense of the spiritual and of propriety with the artists, who do not advertise their services in the Yellow Pages.

Your best bet as a "gaijin" (foreigner) is to find a Western artist who specializes in oriental artwork. As trends go, the young Japanese are now interested in tattoos of Elvis and Chevies. The grass is greener on the other side, I guess.

If you can manage to attend the larger tattoo conventions, some of the Japanese artists now travel the U.S. convention circuit regularly.


One word of warning about getting Japanese or Chinese characters--make sure that the artist who does this understands the importance of the shape and form of the letters. Unlike the roman alphabet, the essence of the Oriental characters is in the proper execution of form. The artist will have to know where the "brush strokes" of the calligraphy start and end (since stroke order also counts), as well as how angular some corners should be, etc. The worst thing would be to sport a Japanese kanji character that looks like some zygotes. How to tell if the characters are formed properly? It would help if you know how to read kanji or if you have Asian friends, otherwise, go with a reputable artist who is known for it.


Paraphrased from the Globe and Mail (Toronto's National Newspaper): "A 4,000 year old man has been found in Italy near the Austrian border. Carbon dating will take a few months, but artifacts found near him strongly suggest that he is over 4,000 years old...He is also tattooed...a small cross is behind one knee and above his kidneys there are a series of lines, about 15 cm long." [Apparently, this account it not quite correct, as later datings placed the Ice Man's age at closer to 5,300 years.]

Egyptians tattooed each other, but that was only 3,000 years ago. How much further back does this custom go?

From "Tattoo You" by Steve Wind (Off Duty Hawaii Magazine, October '92): "The first Western references to tattoos didn't come until 1771, when Captain Cook brought the word to Europe after seeing the artform in Tahiti. Tattoos were associated with the lower class and criminal elements in Britain and America until the early 1900s when, drawn by a sense of freedom, decadence and sexual liberation, upper classes began wearing them as well."

The word "tattoo" apparently comes from the Tahitian word "tatau," which was onomonopoetic for the sound their tattooing instrument made. The word was brought back by Captain Cook.


The following information is provided by Uncle Bud <[email protected]>:

Tattoo needles do not dull with age, but instead become sharper by the repetitive honing motion they experience in the tattoo machine. This happens because the metal of the sanitary tube rubs against the needles, and the softer metal (the needles) will wear. The problem with these sharpened needles is that they sharpen into flat razor-like edges, and begin cutting the skin instead of piercing small holes.

Since a tattoo is created by the conical shape of the needle transferring pigment into the skin with the aid of a wetting agent, the needle's shape is as important as its sharpness. Pigment does not transfer into the skin as efficiently when the shape is altered, and can also lead to scarring.

Another problem with needles is the occurrence of burs or barbs when the needles hit the side or bottom of the pigment caps. While it is possible to use the same set of needles for more than eight hours (on the same client, of course), correct needle configuration, setup, and alignment of the needle and machine are very critical.


The standard question they always ask at blood banks is whether you've had a piercing or tattoo within the last 12 months. A lot of discussion has been made over RAB about some centers allowing for exceptions, but it looks like the general consensus is that you have to wait 12 months


Josephine Valencia <[email protected]>, on allergies to certain inks:

The red reaction affects approximately 1 in every 100,000 to 300,000 people. It is characterized by itching and sometimes swelling depending on how severe the case. This usually happens 3 to 5 years after the tattoo, although cases have been reported as early as a few months and as late as 20 years.Remedies usually involve OTC lotion or in more severe cases, medication prescribed by a dermotoligist. No one seems to know what causes it and is associated usually only with the color red.

About 20 years ago most red pigments contained mercury and the red reaction was much more common. It was widely believed that mercury was the cause. Mercury is no longer used in tattoo inks. Red reaction incidences decreased dramatically but were not eliminated.

Most tattoo artists use a petroleum jelly based ointment as a lubricant on the surface of the skin and tattoo through that layer. In some persons, driving any of that into the skin sets up a foreign body reaction with lumps and itching. If that is the case, persuade your artist to tattoo "dry" without the ointment. It is perfectly satisfactory and no harder on the tattoo artist or client.


Magnetic Resonance Imaging utilizes nuclear magnetic resonance to produce detailed images of the interior of the human body. A fairly detailed discussion of the physics of how this works can be found at [85]

The relevant issue for tattoo enthusiasts is that MRI utilizes a strong magnetic field and radio frequency radiation which can interact with some tattoo inks containing metal salts. Several people have reported some mild discomfort during MRI. This took the form of heat in the tattooed areas. The treatment for this was to apply cold compresses to the areas to absorb the heat. Apparently, this does not affect the quality of the images recorded by the MRI.


If you are going to a job interview or some other event that requires you to conceal your tattoos (and clothing is not an option), there are two cosmetic products recommended:

  1. Joe Blasco's line of theatrical cosmetics
  2. Dermablend cover-up make-up


The general consensus is that there is only "one way" to do it, and that is to apprentice, period. There is far more to be learned about the art and business of tattooing than what can be obtained simply from a book.

Unfortunately, many people consider "proper training" to mean "good at drawing" and "used a tattoo machine." If you are a good illustrator, it simply means you might have a better chance at finding an artist willing to be your mentor.

As far as I know, there are no reputable schools that offer instruction in tattooing. There have been a few shops that offered programs, but they were generally scams of one sort or another. So once again, you are back to having to serve as an apprentice if you want to learn tattooing.

The hardest part of becoming an apprentice is in finding an artist who will take you seriously and let you work in the shop. Having a portfolio of illustrations will certainly help. You will also end up knocking on a lot of doors. Not every artist will want to have an apprentice, since that means extra work for them. To prove your commitment, you may be asked to put time in without any monetary compensation at all for a while. And for many months, all you will do might be answering the phone and mopping the floor. But remember that that is all part of your training. Expect to devote at least two to three years to this form of training.


While the bulk of this FAQ looks at tattoos and tattooing very positively, I need to address the fact that tattooing can be used in harmful, negative ways. If you have ever been forced to get a tattoo you did not want, or had someone else take your idea or identity, this section will be of particular interest to you. Particular thanks to Michelle DeLio <[email protected]> for assistance in this section.


someone violated you in a personal way by using a tattoo as a weapon. This could be done in two ways. One could be that you were forced to receive a tattoo you did not want. The movie Tattoo carries this theme to the extreme, with an obsessed tattoo artist kidnapping a professional model (Maude Adams) and tattooing her while she is unconscious. The movie was boycotted by some women's groups when it was first released.

While genital penetration may not be involved, involuntary tattooing is an unpleasant experience for the recipient, and is very symbolic of the use of a penetrating weapon to mark an indelible stain on the victim's body.

The second could happen when someone chooses to tattoo your name on their body without your full permission and cooperation. Some may think, "What's the problem? You should be flattered," However, those who have had this happen to them have noted a profound sense of loss, that part of their identity or soul was stolen from them. In one particular case, a man surprised his girlfriend with a tattoo of her name on him, and with it began the start of a stalking relationship that terrified her for years in an obsessive/possessive situation involving domestic abuse.

If you want the name of your loved one tattooed on your body or your loved one wants one of your name, voluntary permission must be given by both parties as a prerequisite. If there is the slightest hesitation, don't do it.


There are some lonely people in this world who enjoy inflicting pain on their bodies (NOT to say all those who enjoy it are lonely!), or have wish fulfillment dreams that they try to make come true with tattoos. Michelle Delio tells the following story:

"Back when he was first starting out, Shotsie Gorman says a girl came into shop--kind of shy and awkward--wanted a name tattooed around her nipple. Shotsie tried to back off, feeling weird about this, but the shop owner insisted.

"So Shotsie does the tattoo. He's almost finished when he says, 'Well you and X must have a really special relationship for you to be getting this kind of tattoo, right?' The girl replies, 'He doesn't even know I exist.' Shotsie said this made him physically ill. That was the start of his personal ban on doing names/slogans, because he says there's too much weirdness connected with it."GETTING TATTOOED IN A BDSM SCENE OR RELATIONSHIP

There are a couple of concerns with tattooing in the BDSM context. First, there are many sanitation concerns with regard to tattooing, and just as with piercing (either play piercing or "real" piercing) during a scene, it is imperative that all sterilization procedures are correctly followed. And because of the permanency of tattoos, things such as designs, locations, and placement should be fully agreed upon prior to the start of a scene. While this may take some of the spontaneity out of things, it is a very important step that should not be omitted. Recipients of the tattooing in a scene should be fully aware during the procedure, and be able to use a safe word if the scene is not comfortable for them.

Second (and within the frame of the "dark side" theme of this section) there are some tops who extend the relationship with their bottoms beyond scenes, and in some instances, bottoms may feel that they have no choice but to be tattooed (or pierced, branded, etc.) by order of their tops.

While persons may enlarge their relationship boundaries beyond the actual scenes, it is important to make sure that such permanent things as tattoos are still fully agreed upon. Just as safe words exist, a bottom should still feel comfortable when it comes to a decision to receive a tattoo as part of the relationship.

The bottom should always have the final say in such matters, if only for the fact that the relationship may not always last, and because body modification affects people very deeply.


There are people who have "Property of ______" tattooed on their buttocks to show that they are "owned" by their partner. This has been traditional with bikers.

Treating people as property is both degrading and insulting. It is also a sad fact that some people feel that they are not worth as much without this stamp of approval. Do people in these situations have the capacity to know what "true consent" is?

Michelle DeLio tells the tale of one such woman, who broke up with one man and married another: "As a sort of wedding present to her, they dragged the girl to the local tattooist and they inked 'CANCELED' on her butt in big black block letters, like a meat stamp (over her old 'Property of' tattoo)."


The popularity of primitive designs has led to people searching anthropology books for cultural images for their tattoos. It is a very bad idea to use sacred images of a culture to which you do not belong. Using clan symbols, shields and other such images merely for visual effect is nothing short of robbing the soul of a culture. On the other hand, tattoos inspired by native iconography is both exciting and respectful. Otherwise, make sure you can lay claim to the image by checking your geneaology.

Remember that some cultures have an extensive tattoo history. Beyond the images themselves, some tattoos, like the Maori moko, are considered sacred and limited only to those who are allowed to wear them.Perhaps a compromise or middle ground is best in this situation. If you are interested in a tattoo from another culture, it is suggested you:

  • First check to see if the image is sacred, and whether "foreigners" are allowed to wear the image. After all, if you desire to wear the image because you respect it or the culture, the last thing you want to do is offend the very people you look up to.
  • If the image requires some sort of blessing from a person from that culture, do some research as to how this could be done.
  • Even if the image is not sacred, you should check with a person native to that culture to make sure the image looks correct.
  • Above all, be respectful. Do research. If you find an image you like, try to learn a little bit about the culture and the image. Make sure you are not offending anyone with the tattoo idea you have.


The laws regarding tattooing differ as greatly as there are states in the U.S. While a handful serve as model states for regulations, most are completely unregulated, with the exception of some laws on the minimum allowable age. There is no federal legislation regarding tattooing. To complicate things however, many states leave these regulations up to the cities, counties and municipalities. In addition, changes or amendments to existing laws crop up regularly. Laws regarding tattooing are listed at the beginning of each state's section in Part 5 of this FAQ, which is the artists list. You can view the database at [86]. Regulations help promote professionalism, and discourage "scratchers." This is important when considering disease transmission (HIV and Hepatitis B in particular). If you think this is a frivolous issue, consider that some states have banned tattooing entirely. If state legislators try to introduce regulations on tattooing, make sure they follow in the lines of the states with the best laws, which cover points such as:

  • Artist requirements: Training, knowledge of sanitation, washing hands and use of barrier gloves for every new client
  • Facility requirements: Clean work area, availability of running water
  • Equipment requirements: Autoclave, disposable needles, covered waste containers
  • Procedural requirements: Customers to be sober, signed consent forms

The following are the actual requirements for the state of Hawaii. The others with regulations follow in a similar vein:


  • Building clean, in good repair, adequate lighting
  • Adequate ventilation required
  • Tattoo establishments not to be used for any non tattoo related activities
  • Toilets must be provided
  • Work area must be separate from the rest of the business
  • Artists should always wash their hands before every session
  • Separate sink must be available for artists to wash their hands
  • Artists must dry their hands with single use paper towels or some mechanical air dryer
  • Artists with communicable diseases may not tattoo
  • Food, drink and smoking not allowed in the work area
  • Smoking prohibited
  • May not tattoo in exchange for sex
  • Immersion in a germicidal solution as an alternative to autoclaving allowed
  • Use of defective, dull, or rusty equipment is banned
  • Disposable single-use ink containers must be used, and with any unused ink must be discarded after every customer
  • All dyes must be approved
  • Minimum number of needles and tubes must be kept on hand
  • Only sterilized or disposable razors allowed
  • Covered waste containers required
  • Special storage cabinets for tattooing materials required
  • Tattooing materials may not be stored in restroom
  • Facial tattoos only done by licensed physicians
  • Injection of chemicals into skin by tattoo artists to remove tattoos is illegal
  • Customers must be sober
  • Signed consent forms required
  • Parental consent forms required for minors
  • Artists must keep records on every customer for at least 2 years
  • Oral care instructions required
  • Acetate stencils must be sanitized



Lexis/Nexis online (fee-based) database revealed thousands of RECENT citations on body art.==== PRINT REFERENCES ==== MAGAZINES AND JOURNAL ARTICLES

Publications Ltd (who produce Body Art magazine, and supply jewelery) moved (ages ago) to: PO Box 32, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk NR29 5RD

"Career-oriented Women with Tattoos" by Armstrong, Myrna L. _Image--the journal of nursing scholarship_. Wint '91 v 23 n 4 p 215

"Memorial Decoration: Women, Tattooing, and the Meanings of Body Alteration" by Sanders, Clinton. _Michigan quarterly review_. Wint 1991 v 30 n 1 p 146 Summary: Sanders is one of a very few academicians writing about body modifications. This article is the only one I've encountered that deals specifically with the psychology of women tattoo enthusiasts, whose reasons for getting inked differ from those of their male counterparts.

"Trends: Tattoos go mainstream." _Newsweek_. Jan 07 91 v 117 n 1 p 60 Summary: A short article focusing on a couple of tattoo enthusiasts who do not fit the stereotype, including a French man working on his full back piece. Good introduction to the change in

"Nonmainstream body modification: genital piercing, burning, and cutting" by Myers, James. _Journal of contemporary ethnography_. Oct 01 1992 v 21 n 3 p 267. Summary: One of the few papers that is both academic and informational. Begins with a definition of "body modification" and discusses various non-tattooing bodmods. Key players including Fakir, Jim Ward & Raellyn are mentioned. Gauntlet illustration of genital pierces available. Some sense of "outsider peeking in;" author specifies the fact that he is a heterosexual male anthropologist (he is an anthro prof at Cal State Chico).


Some books may no longer be in print--check your library for a copy, or request an InterLibrary Loan. Not all tattoo magazines are reviewed here (a serials cataloger's nightmare--new titles cropping up all the time, issues ceasing publication for no reason, etc.)

Carson, Richard D. Never Get a Tattoo. Rogers, Novle, illustrator. (Illus.). 144p. 1990. Paper. $8.95. (Template:ISBN, PL). HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

DeMichele, William. The Illustrated Woman: Photographs by William DeMichele. Pref. by Gorman, Shotsie. (Illus.). 128p. 1992. $65.00. (Template:ISBN); Paper. $34.95. (Template:ISBN). Proteus Press, Inc. Special Edition $150. Protective slipcase for hard cover book: $15.00. Review: This 11"x13" book is a unique photo collection of tattooed women. In the International tattoo community this book is already a collector's item, it's a valuable addition to anyone who buys fine photographic books

Fellman, Sandi. The Japanese Tattoo. (Illus.). 120p. 04/1988. Paper. $24.95. (Template:ISBN). Abbeville Press, Inc.

Gell, Alfred. Wrapping in Images: Tattooing in Polynesia. (Oxford Studies in the Anthropology of Cultural Forms). (Illus.). 364p. 1993. $95.00. (Template:ISBN, 14144). Oxford University Press, Inc.

Handy, Willowdean C. Tattooing in the Marquesas. (BMB). 1974. Repr. of 1922 ed. $15.00. (Template:ISBN). Kraus Reprint.

Hardy, Donald E. Art from the Heart. (Tattootime Ser.: No. 5). 1993. Paper. $20.00. (Template:ISBN). Hardy Marks Publications. To order: P.O. Box 90520, Honolulu HI 96835, phone: 808-737-7033 or email Francesca Passalacqua <[email protected]>.Hardy, Donald E. Dragon Tattoo Design. (Illus.). 96p. 1988. $50.00. ISBN 0-945367-01-5. Hardy Marks Publications.

Hardy, Donald E. Eye Tattooed America. 116p. 06/1993. Paper. $20.00. ISBN 0-945367-12-0. Hardy Marks Publications.

Hardy, Donald E., editor. Life & Death Tattoos. rev. ed. (Tattootime Ser.). (Illus.). 96p. 1989. Paperback text edition. $15.00. ISBN 0-945367-05-8. Hardy Marks Publications.

Hardy, Donald E., editor. Music & Sea Tattoos. rev. ed. (Tattootime Ser.). (Illus.). 96p. (Orig.). 1988. Paperback text edition. $15.00. ISBN 0-945367-04-X. Hardy Marks Publications.

Hardy, Donald E., editor. New Tribalism. rev. ed. (Tattootime Ser.). (Illus.). 64p. (Orig.). 1988. Paperback text edition. $10.00. ISBN 0-945367-02-3. Hardy Marks Publications.

Hardy, Donald E. Sailor Jerry Collins: American Tattoo Master. 1994. Paper. $30.00. ISBN 0-945367-11-2. Hardy Marks Publications.

Hardy, Donald E. The Tattoo Coloring Book, Vol. 1. (Illus.). 36p. (Orig.). 1990. Paperback text edition. $14.95. ISBN 0-685-44854-1. T C B Imprints, Unlimited.

Hardy, Donald E. Tattoo Flash. (Illus.). 74p. (Orig.). 1990. Paperback text edition. $80.00. ISBN 0-945367-06-6. Hardy Marks Publications.

Hardy, Donald E., editor. Tattoo Magic. rev. ed. (Tattootime Ser.). (Illus.). 64p. (Orig.). 1988. Paperback text edition. $10.00. ISBN 0-945367-03-1. Hardy Marks Publications.

Krakow, Amy. The Total Tattoo Book. (Orig.). 1994. Paper. ISBN 0-446-67001-4. Warner Books, Inc.

Mascia-Lees, Frances E. & Sharpe, Patricia., editors. Tattoo, Torture, Mutilation & Adornment: The Denaturalization of the Body in Culture & Text. (SUNY Series, The Body in Culture, History, & Religion). 172p. 1992. $44.50. ISBN 0-7914-1065-X; Paper. $14.95. (ISBN 0-7914-1066

-8). State University of New York Press. Warning: This book has a very negative attitude towards body modification, and has very little to do with tattooing. Note from the FAQ maintainer (Stan Schwarz): "This book is the only book I have ever thrown in the trash."

Maginnes, Al. Outside a Tattoo Booth. Zarucchi, Roy, editor. Page, Carolyn, editor. Page, Carolyn, illustrator. (Chapbook Ser.). (Illus.). 28p. (Orig.). 1991. Paper. $5.00. ISBN 1-879205-16-5. Nightshade Press.

Morse, Albert L. The Tattooists. Walsh, John A., editor. (Illus.). 1977. $79.95. ISBN 0-918320-01-1. Morse, Albert L.

Richie, Donald. The Japanese Tattoo. Buruma, Ian, photographer. (Illus.). 120p. 1990. $22.50. ISBN 0-8348-0228-7. Weatherhill, Inc.

Rosen, Jerry. Tattoo Interview. 1992. $14.95. ISBN 0-86719-387-5. Last Gasp Eco-Funnies, Inc.

Sanders, Clinton R. Customizing the Body: The Art & Culture of Tattooing. (Illus.). 224p. 1989. $29.95. ISBN 0-87722-575-3. Temple University Press. Review: One of the only academically recognized books without an agenda against tattooing.

Schwartz, Paul. The Tattoo Buyer's Guide: A Complete & Candid Guide to Getting a Great Tattoo. (Illus.). 57p. (Orig.). 1993. Paper. $6.95. ISBN 0-9635778-0-8. Alter Ego Press.

Spaulding, Huck. Tattooing A to Z: A Guide to Successful Tattooing. Naydan, Ted, illustrator. (Illus.). 141p. 1988. $45.00. ISBN 0-929719-00-X. Spaulding & Rogers Manufacturing, Inc.

Stine, Megan. Tattoo Mania: The Newest Craze in Wearable Art. Juv (gr. 1-3) 1993. Paper. $5.99. ISBN 0-553-48144-4. Bantam Books, Inc.

Thompson, Earl. Tattoo. 704p. 1991. Paper. $6.95. ISBN 0-88184-727-5. Carroll & Graf Publishers.

Wroblewski, Chris. Skin Shows: The Art of Tattoo. (Illus.). 118p. 1991. Paper. $19.95. ISBN 0-86369-272-9, W H Allen UK). Carol Publishing Group.

Wroblewski, Chris. Skin Shows II: The Art of Tattoo. (Illus.). 130p. Paper. $19.95. ISBN 0-86369-517-5, W H Allen UK). Carol Publishing Group.

Wroblewski, Chris. Tattooed Women. (Illus.). 128p. 1992. Paper. $19.95. ISBN 0-86369-524-8, W H Allen UK). Carol Publishing Group.

Marks of civilization : artistic transformations of the human body. Arnold Rubin, editor. 279p. 1988. Museum of Cultural History, University of California, Los Angeles. Bibliography: p. 265-276.Modern Primitives. V. Vale and Andrea Juno, editors. (Illus.) [216]p. 1989. Paper. Index. #12 in the Re/Search series. Orders: SASE to Re/Search Publications, 20 Romolo #B, San Francisco, CA 94133. Review: If you are interested in bodyart as a whole beyond tattoos, this is the one book that you should have in your reference collection. The book is a collection of interviews and write-ups about a very wide spectrum, including the opener on Fakir Musafar (he is THE bodyart god, IMHO), sword swallowing, Polynesian tattoos, pierces, cuttings, etc. The section on body piercing complements Ardvark's FAQ, and has illustrations on exactly WHERE those darned genital pierces are supposed to go. Important note: This book is not for the faint-at-heart. Some of the information and text contained are very graphic--an assumption can be made that those wanting to read the book are already USED to small tattoos and nipple pierces. There is a graphic photo of a bifurcated penis, for example. You have been duly warned.

Richter, Stefan. Tattoo. (Illus.). 158p. 1985. Quartet.

Richie, Donald. The Japanese tattoo. Ian Buruma, photos. (Illus.). 115p. 1980. Weatherhill.

Robley, Horatio Gordon. Moko; or, Maori tattooing. (Illus.). 216p. 1987. Southern Reprints.

Stewart, Samuel. Bad Boys and Tough Tattoos: A Social History of the Tattoo with Gangs, Sailors, and Street-Corner Punks. (1950-1965). Review by Lance Bailey ([[mailto:[email protected]|[email protected]]]): Instead of a well-written mature examination of tattoos and society, we instead find Steward's full of misconceptions, incorrect facts and a dedication to link tattoos and gay sex. Presented as a formal study, Stewart claims that "it is perhaps the only volume on tattooing not dependent on tattoo photographs to boost sales." He however commits one of the writer's worst crimes by talking down to the reader. The book is sprinkled liberally with street slang instead of the language of a serious study. Worse, however is the gross inaccuracies in the book. Two examples: 1: Through out the book Steward presents himself, or rather his pseudonym Phil Sparrow, as the best tattooist in Chicago whilst he practised there. His comments on tattoos become amusing in this light and on "Famous tattoos" he comments: "The second of the legendary tattoos is a 'pack of hounds chasing a fox down across a person's back,' with the fox disapearing in the a convenient burrow...At any rate, although thousands of persons have said they have seen such a tattoo, it is hardly reasonable that I should never have seen one in 18 years and over a hundred persons." Well, Mr Sparrow should pick up a copy of "Art, sex, and symbol: the mystery of tattooing (1986)" which has several pictures of tattoos on that very theme. 2: In his section on tattooing the drunk, he says he did not mind working on someone who'd had a few drinks for courage, but the truly intoxicated should not be tattooed because "a drunk cannot sit still...he is very likely to get sick suddenly... [and] the choice of design selected was regretted as soon as they became sober. Steward seems to be completely ignorant of the fact that alcohol is an anti-coagulant and a single beer can make someone bleed like a stuck pig.


BY PAT FISH ([[mailto:[email protected]|[email protected]]).

CELTIC ART : THE METHODS OF CONSTRUCTION, by George Bain New York, Dover Publications [1973] 159 p. illus. 31 cm. Reprint of the 1951 ed. published by W. MacLellan, Glasgow. ISBN: 0486229238 Review: Lavishly illustrated with line drawings and photographs. This is the grand original that has inspired the Celtic revival and is an excellent start for understanding the creation of knotworks and braids. Not an easy method to master, but the best single resource book available.

CELTIC KNOTWORK, by Ian Mackintosh Bain Constable 1986, 115 p., 8"x10", paper. ISBN 0-09-469810-4 If his father's work confuses you (above), take heart and try this. He teaches a method for creating knotworks in a grid that is surely close to the method used in the past. Currently available as: Celtic knotwork / Iain Bain. New York : Sterling Pub. Co., 1992. 115 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 25 cm. ISBN: 0806986387 : $14.95

CELTIC KEY PATTERNS, by Ian Bain ISBN 0-09-471820-2, Constable 1993, 88 pages, 8"x10", paperbound The definitive text for learning how to create and reproduce the interlocking key geometric patterns. May be available as: Celtic key patterns / Iain Bain. New York:Sterling Pub. Co., c1994. xi, 88 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 25 cm. ISBN: 0806907401: $14.95

THE LINDISFARNE GOSPEL, introduction by Janet Backhouse ISBN 0-7148-2461-5, Department of Manuscripts, British Library illuminated pages reproduced in color, paperbound The second most influential of the ancient manuscripts from the 9th century .Beautiful inspiration, not possible to trace patterns because they are so tiny, but colors are vivid.

'THE BOOK OF KELLS : SELECTED PLATES IN FULL COLOR'Blanche Cirker, editor New York : Dover Publications, c1982. 32 p. : col. ill. ; 31 cm. ISBN: 0486243451 (pbk.) Review: An inspirational source, provides a reality check on the scale and intricacy of the original 9th century masterpiece. Much too miniscule in scale to be of use for tracing out patterns, but awe inspiring to study. Of particular use for coloring ideas.

CELTIC DESIGNS AND MOTIFS, by Courtney Davis New York : Dover, 1991. 44 p. : chiefly ill. ; 28 cm. ISBN: 0486267180 (pbk.) : $3.95 Excellent flash source.Many knotwork and zoomorphic designs.

CELTIC STAINED GLASS COLORING BOOK, by Courtney Davis New York : Dover, 1993. 16 p. : chiefly ill. ; 28 cm. ISBN 048627456X (pbk.) Possible flash source. They lend themselves well to reproduction on a large scale, heavy black linework very well composed.

CELTIC IRON-ON TRANSFER PATTERNS, by Courtney Davis New York : Dover . 48 p. : 65 transfer patterns, 28 cm. ISBN 0486260593 (pbk.) Excellent flash source. Armbands, knotworks, zoomorphics, all ready to go as stencils on tissue paper.

THE ART OF CELTIA, by Courtney Davis London : Blandford, 1993. 128 p. :ill. (some col.) ; 29 cm. ISBN: 0713723092 Evocative use of traditional Celtic artforms in superb artwork. Discussions of symbolism and the historic signifigance of the designs. Very inspiring.

CELTIC MANDALAS, by Courtney Davis, with text by Helena Paterson London : Blandford, 1994, 96 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 29 cm. ISBN 0713723890 (pbk.) Beautiful use of Celtic motifs in symbolic art, discussions of Celtic mythology and zodiac signs.

CELTIC BORDERS AND DECORATION, by Courtney Davis, text by

Helena Paterson. London : Blandford ; New York, NY : Distributed in the United States by Sterling Pub. Co., 1992. 95 p. : ill. ; 28 cm. ISBN: 0713723300 Wonderful guide to bands, braids, and designs suitable for expansion into armbands, anklets etc.

CELTIC ART SOURCE BOOK, by Courtney Davis London ; New York : Blandford : Distributed in the United States by Sterling Publishing Co, 1988. [128] p. : chiefly ill. (some col.) ; 26 cm. ISBN: 0713719826 The ONLY negative thing I can say about this inspirational work is that it will raise the expectations of tattoo clients too high for what can reasonably be accomplished in the skin format. Any of these designs could translate, but many only at backpiece scale. For the use of color examples alone it stands out as a must-have in any Celtic art library.

THE BOOK OF CONQUESTS, by Jim Fitzpatrick Dutton : 1978. ISBN 0525475117 (pbk.) Beautiful use of Celtic design motifs in service of storytelling, bringing the tales of the Old Ones alive. Possibly also available: NUADA OF THE SILVER ARM.


Lloyd & Jennifer Laing London : Thames and Hudson, c1992. 216 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 21 cm. ISBN: 0500202567 More of a text for historical grounding.

159 CELTIC DESIGNS, by Amy Lusebrink New York : Dover, 1988. 48 p. : chiefly ill. ; 28 cm. ISBN 0486276880 (pbk.) Excellent flash source. Unfortunately rather poorly drawn, most would have to be re-drawn for precision before being used as a tattoo stencil.

CELTIC DESIGN : A BEGINNER'S MANUAL, by Aidan Meehan Thames & Hudson , 258 illustrations. ISBN 0500276293 (pbk.) If you want to begin to draw your own braids, this is the text.

CELTIC DESIGN: KNOTWORK: THE SECRET METHOD OF THE SCRIBES, by Aidan Meehan New York : Thames and Hudson, 1991. 159 p. : ill. ; 21 cm. ISBN: 0500276307 : $14.95 Even more esoterica. For those who would be druids.

CELTIC DESIGN: ANIMAL PATTERNS, by Aidan Meehan New York : Thames and Hudson, 1992. 160 p. : ill. ; 21 cm. ISBN: 0500276625 : $14.95 Known as zoomorphics, a guide to the twisty beasties.

CELTIC DESIGN : SPIRAL PATTERNS, by Aidan Meehan New York : Thames and Hudson, 1993. 160 p. : ill. ; 21 cm. ISBN: 0500277052 (pbk.) The spiral forms a vital part of Celtic design, and this book explains the symbolism and methods for incorporation.

CELTIC DESIGN : ILLUMINATED LETTERS, by Aidan Meehan New York : Thames and Hudson, 1992. 160 p. : ill. ; 21 cm. ISBN: 0500276854 : $14.95 Insights into the creation of manuscript iluminations. Many stand alone for lovely initials or monograms.

CELTIC DESIGN : MAZE PATTERNS, by Aidan Meehan New York : Thames and Hudson, 1994, c1993. 160 p. : ill. ; 21 cm. ISBN: 0500277478 (pbk.) Guide to the geometric patterns also known as key patterns.

A HANDBOOK OF CELTIC ORNAMENT, by John G Merne Mercier, 1992. 103 p., 11 cm., ISBN 0853424039, (pbk). Presents a systemized method of construction for most forms of Celtic decoration. Examines the various motifs and expands on them, guiding the reader to develop their own variations. Highly recommended resource.

CELTIC STICKERS AND SEALS, by Mallory Pearce New York : Dover, 1995. 16 p. : chiefly ill. ISBN 0486284190 (pbk.) 90 full-color pressure sensitive seals and designs. Mostly letters of alphabets, useful for monograms and such.

DECORATIVE CELTIC ALPHABETS, by Mallory Pearce New York : Dover, 1992. ISBN 0486270416 (pbk.) A pleasant alternative for lettering styles.

CELTIC BORDERS ON LAYOUT GRIDS, by Mallory Pearce New York : Dover 1990. 64 p. : chiefly ill. (77 illustrations, one-sided for clipart use) ; 28 cm. ISBN 0486265188 (pbk.) Mostly useful for print advertising, letterhead, etc., but also a good source for clear simple braids.

CELTIC MOTIFS : STICKERS, by Mallory Pearce New York : Dover, 1995. 4 p. : chiefly ill. (4 black-and-white pressure sensitive stickers) ;8 cm. ISBN 0486284085 (pbk.) A possible source for a few animal patterns.AN INTRODUCTION TO IRISH HIGH CROSSES, by Hilary Richardson

& John Scarry Mercier, 1990, 152 p. ; 28 cm., ISBN 0853429413 Very thorough photographic record of Irish high crosses with many examples of stone carving and guides to interpretation of the symbolism.


Seaborne Shire, 1989. ISBN 0747800030 Good quality photographs of many major surviving high crosses, examples of Celtic designs in stonecarving.

KNOTS: USEFUL AND ORNAMENTAL, by George Russell Shaw Bonanza Books, Unabridged replication of the original 1933 edition, ISBN 0517460009 (pbk.) Encyclopedic reference for knots, the base for Celtic knotwork braids and illuminations.

CELTIC DESIGN COLORING BOOK, by Ed Sibbett, Jr. New York : Dover, 1979. 48 p. : chiefly ill. ; 28 cm. ISBN 0486237966 (pbk.) Simplistic but nice. Not much that would be useful as flash.

CELTIC CHARTED DESIGNS, by Co Spinhoven New York : Dover, 1987. 64 p. : chiefly ill. ; 28 cm. ISBN 0486254119, (pbk.) Over 300 designs in charted grids for use on needlepoint, embroidery, knitting. Probably not useful as flash.

CELTIC STENCIL DESIGNS, by Co Spinhoven New York : Dover 1990. 64 p. : chiefly ill. (130 designs) ; 28 cm. ISBN 0486264270, (pbk.) Excellent design source for patterns so perfectly reproducible as bold blackwork they qualify as Celtic Tribal.

CELTIC CUT AND USE STENCILS, by Co Spinhoven New York : Dover, 1992. 64 p. : chiefly ill. (61 ill.) ; 28 cm. ISBN 0486272389 (pbk.) Less useful than CELTIC STENCIL DESIGNS but has a few nice patterns. All bold blackwork.

AUTHENTIC CELTIC IRON-ON TRANSFERS, by Co Spinhoven New York : Dover, 1994. 16 p. : chiefly ill. ISBN 0486283097 (pbk.) A treasure of designs! For the $1 price you get elegant, clearly drawn, immediately useful flash. Gets the BEST BUY award.

TWELVE CELTIC BOOKMARKS, by Co Spinhoven New York : Dover, 1994. 6 p. : chiefly ill. ISBN 0486279448 (pbk.) Every bookmark an armband design. Will require re-drawing from colored versions.

THE BOOK OF KELLS, by described by Sir Edward Sullivan Studio Editions Ltd, Facsimile reprint of 1920 edition, ISBN 1851700358 A guide to knowing what you are seeing in the intricate pages of the Book of Kells.


Wilson New York : Dover. 128 p. ISBN 0486253406 (pbk.) Unabridged republication of the original 1983 British Museum Edition, 407 illustrations. Overview survey, not particularly useful as an art reference.


Alliance of Professional Tattooists

APT, Inc. P.O. Box 1735 Glen Burnie, MD 21060. 410/768-1963 5 levels of membership: 1. Patron: $20.00 Open to anyone who supports goals of A.P.T. 2. Supporting: $50.00 A collector of tattoos or a member in an academic

research field. 3. Associate/Non-Artist: $125.00 Closely allied with the tattoo community

(publishers, photographers, suppliers or managers, office staff of tattoo studios.

[Attending Preventing Disease Transmission in Tattooing(PDTT) course

recommended.] 4. Associate/Artist: $125.00 Currently apprenticing with a professional tattooist

or self taught with a professional sponsor. [Attending PDTT course required.] 5. Professional: $150.00 Full time occupation as a tattooist with three (3) years

minimum experience in an established location. Must provide trade and business

references. Self-supporting APT does not initiate legislation, nor does it accept fees or grants from government agencies.

Empire State Tattoo Club of America (ESTCA)

PO Box 1374, Mt. Vernon, NY, NY, 10550. 914/664-9894, Fax 668-5200. Founded: 1974, membership: 1000 International organization of tattoo artists and individuals with tattoos. Works to increase public awareness of tattoo art. Sponsors competitions and bestows awards. List of tattoo artists. Affiliated with Professional Tattoo Artists Guild.

National Tattoo Association (NTA)

485 Business Park Ln., Allentown, PA 18109, 215/433-7261 Fax 433-7294 Officer: Florence Makofske, Sec.-Treas. Founded: 1974, membership: 1000, budget: $46,000 AKA: National Tattoo Club of the World (changed 1984) Tattoo artists and enthusiasts. Promotes tattooing as a viable contemporary art form; seeks to upgrade standards and practices of tattooing. Offers advice on selecting a tattoo artist and studio. Holds seminars for tattoo artists to improve skills and learn better hygienic practices. Sponsors competitions and bestows awards; maintains charitable program for children; operates museum and biographical archives. Lists of members and tattoo studios. Publications: National Tattoo Association--Newsletter, bimonthly. Price included in membership dues. Circulation: 1000. Conventions: Annual (with exhibits).

Professional Tattoo Artists Guild (PTAG)

27 Mt. Vernon Ave., PO Box 1374, Mt. Vernon, NY 10550. 914/668-2300

Fax 668-5200. Officer: Joe Kaplan, Pres. Membership: 2000 Professional tattoo artists.

Tattoo Club of America (TCA)

c/o Spider Webb's Studio, Captains Cove Seaport, 1 Bastwick Ave., Bridgeport, CT 06605. PH: (203) 335-3992 Officer: Joe O'Sullivan, Sec. Founded: 1970, membership: 45,000, budget: $25,000 Tattoo artists and individuals worldwide who have been tattooed. Seeks to promote the art of tattooing and make it more acceptable to the public. Bestows annual Mr. and Miss Tattoo awards; sponsors speakers' bureau; maintains hall of fame. Maintains library and museum of antique tattoo designs and memorabilia. Publications: Newsletter, quarterly. Conventions: Annual conference and symposium (with exhibits) - always March, New York City.