Talking Tattoos: Make it Permanent

As someone who is not super great with commitment, it’s funny how easily I have fallen into a habit of adding permanent things to my body.

Let’s talk the one thing your parents warned you against, the thing your grandparents will shame you for, the one thing you really should not get matching with your ‘BFF’- TATTOOS!

Tattoos, tats for short, have always been an area of discussion, debate, and interest for many years. Many cultures experiment with different forms of tattoos, such as the Maori people of New Zealand, who use facial/body tattoos as an expression of their culture. Tattooing is more than a work of art, it’s cultural and often impactful and meaningful. So why is there still a huge stereotype about tattoos and people who have them? I honestly could not tell you. Beauty standards are constantly changing, what’s in and ‘trendy’ one week is out the next, but tattoos remain consistent with the times. The types of tattoos (needle sizes, colored vs not) change with trends, but the actual act of tattooing and having tattoos remains a constant.

Getting your first tattoo is often associated with becoming legal. It’s the first rebellious act you can make as a young adult (that won’t leave you with anything more than an awkward Christmas dinner after your grandparents first spot the flower bouquet on your arm). Tattoos are fun, and a small act of becoming a “bad-ass”. But there is still so much more thought, prep and care that needs to be put into it.


Your first tattoo

For many, their first tat will often hold significance to them personally. The attachment to a permanent art piece on your body, shouldn’t necessarily come on a whim the first time around.


Be prepared and do your research

If you really want your tattoo to look as good as the one you found on Pinterest, you have got to put the time and patience into finding an artist that can work with the style, needle size, font, pictures, etc that you want done. I would strongly advise against walking into just any tattoo shop with a screenshot and expecting to be ecstatic with the results. Sure, flash pieces- the smaller often repeated works of artists (more accessible for walk-ins), are totally fine to get on a whim. However, if there is a specific meaning or art piece you want to be done, take the time to talk to, meet with and research artists. Every artist will have their own specific style and twist on things, and as a client, you should be wanting and willing to work with the artist to get the piece that works best for you and them.


No pain, no gain

At least that’s how the saying goes. In the case of tattoos, however, the pain game is completely different for each individual. There are tons of different factors that will affect how much pain or uncomfortableness you will experience. Placement, muscle/fat, pain tolerance, these will all impact how sensitive you will be to the tattoo. From my own experience, my tattoos haven’t hurt. When the tattoos get too close to really bony areas (such as the back of the ankle) or areas where the skin is thinner (inner elbow) I definitely felt and noticed the consistent puncturing of the needle into my flesh. But it’s more of a scratch you can’t itch than an unbearable pain. I would still stay away if you are not a fan of pain or get queezy at the thought of needles though.


The more you spend the better the tattoo?

This is not necessarily true in the tattoo world. Super well-known, popular artists can sometimes have the same hourly rate as the sketchy little shop in a small town. Artists often make their own rates to cover their shop rental fees, ink and needle supplies, and of course to make a living. Tattooing is a career for these artists, so it’s best to be respectful of their prices (and it’s even normal to tip after your service) so be prepared to spend money to have the tattoo that you want. This also doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go to the trendiest and most popular artists. This ties back into your research and personal taste in order to fit the look and style you are going for. Shop around for different shops and see what other artists have quoted you- but also don’t just assume because one artist is $100 less, that you should automatically switch over. You often get what you pay for.

*Just be mindful that a lot of artists will not do sketches without a down payment, sketches and planning still takes time out of their schedule and requires them to not take another project on when they are trying to create the best tattoo for you.


Getting Personal

From age twelve I thought that tattoos were cool and a great form of self-expression. I hold a couple of the pieces I have done near and dear to my heart. I also have a few pieces that I have no meaningful connection with, other than the fact I was attracted to the art itself and knew I could find space to make it work on my body. I have been to four different artists, have collected five different tattoos, and have even played around with some stick and pokes. Personally, I’m more attracted to the fine line, no color, and smaller pieces. I have planned a larger scale two-piece set, have been waiting over a year to travel to the artist and have saved up as this has become something I really want to have done. Tattoos for me, are a way to personalize the skin I’m in through artwork that is appealing to the eye and adds beauty in its own way.


There really is nothing to be scared of when it comes to tattoos. There are so many unique pieces you can get, and I truly believe there is a tattoo for everyone. But if tattoos aren’t your thing- that’s cool too! Self-expression is done in various ways and tattooing is just another form of that!