- Avoid fly-by-night tattoo operations.
Jancee: I didn’t want my mother to get a tattoo at some fly-by-night, unsafe place, of which there are many. I had also seen some very crude designs out there, and I was afraid of what she might end up with. If you’re concerned about safety, consider mall-based tattoo parlors. There’s one called Tattoo Nation. It’s in a mall in New Jersey, and it’s for people who are a bit older and don’t necessarily want to go to, say, Avenue D in New York City.
- Do your homework.
Jancee: I highly recommend spending as many hours as you’re able on researching the right tattoo artist. Or, if you’re fortunate enough to have someone you trust, let her do your due diligence for you. My mother really put herself in my hands. I made calls to tattoo artists throughout the city and found the best one–but he happened to charge thousands of dollars and had a six-month waiting list. My mom didn’t want to be on a waiting list, so I kept looking. I searched the Internet for days and eventually found Chris.
- Interview the tattoo artist beforehand.
Judy: Even though Jancee had scoured the Internet for days to find the best possible tattoo artist, it was still important to meet Chris personally and make sure that he that we were comfortable with him. In fact, Chris himself insisted that we do an interview with him before he would do my tattoo. When I asked why, Chris said, “I just want to be sure that this is really what you want to do, because having it removed is quite a job. I just want to be sure you know what you’re doing.” I thought that was very clever.
My husband and I both went in for the interview. Chris had quite a number of tattoos, but they were all well done, and Chris himself was charming and kind. We loved him, and he did a really great job on my tattoo.
- Review the tattoo artist’s portfolio.
Judy: When interviewing a prospective tattoo artist, have him show you a number of things that he’s done. You really have to know who you’re dealing with, and this will give you a better sense of that, and a better sense of what his work is like.
- Personalize your design.
Judy: A tattoo artist can provide you with a catalog of designs to choose from, but I researched my own. I went on the Internet, found a number of flying raven images I liked, and printed them out. Then Chris and I both picked one together. When I came in for the actual tattoo, Chris had done the drawing, and it was perfect. It was just perfect.
- Be prepared to wait to discover your tattoo’s symbolic meaning.
Judy: I knew a raven was the right tattoo for me, but I admitted to Chris that I didn’t really know why that image called to me. Chris said he thought that, at some point, I would start to find meaning in it. Jancee thinks it was a really good observation and very profound, to think that my tattoo’s meaning may come to me later.
Do you have a tattoo? Share your own tips for getting a tattoo below!