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Advice for Your First Tattoo

Joey Trent of Hearts of Fire Tattoo. (Photo by Paul Porcher)

Getting your first tattoo is a big deal.  It’s easy to have life-long regrets though if you’re not sure what you’re doing.  For this reason, The Scoop decided to talk with Joey Trent, a professional tattoo artist working at Hearts of Fire Tattoo in downtown Springfield, Mo.  Trent has been working there for the last 10 years, tattooing thousands of people and offering advice to all of them.  In order to make it easier for you, we asked Trent to give us a list of things to consider when getting your first tattoo.

  • Do your research about the artists, and about the shops.

Ask people around you who have a tattoo where did they go?  Why did they choose this place instead of another?  Why this artist?  It is important to choose the artist and the place carefully. Knowing where you go will make it easier in the process of getting tattooed.  If you already know the place and the artist, you will feel more comfortable and more confident.

  • Always look at the portfolio of the artist, like this you can see his work and his style.

Like every job, there are people more talented than others.  Looking at the portfolio of the artist will give you an idea of their talent and work.  A portfolio is like a resume, it gives you the information you need to know about the artist’s work and what they’ve done in the past.  It will also give a sense of the artist’s style.  Some artists specialize in one style, others in many styles and some do everything.

  • Take your time and try to figure out what you want.

A tattoo is permanent.  Making a good choice about what you REALLY want is important otherwise you could regret it.  Take your time, understand the meaning of the tattoo, the forms, the different styles, the possibilities.  Ask yourself many questions about it and answer them honestly.  Why do you want to get it?  Is it for you, or someone else?  Do you want it in black and grey or with colors?  Small or big?  Visible for others to see or hidden?  Take your time, so you can appreciate what you get for the rest of your life.

  • Make sure you go to a clean shop.

You want to make sure that the shop you go to is sterile, clean and has a good reputation.  It is always a good idea to ask the artist to wait before opening up the package of needles or the sterilized utensils that they are using.  Going to a clean shop is the best way to prevent infections and illnesses.

  • Try to go for the best the first time around.

The better it is the less regrets you’ll have.  Good tattoo artists are not always cheap and money doesn’t grow on trees.  This tattoo is going to be on your body forever so think about it more as an investment.  If the work is well done, there will be no need to touch it again or to ask another artist to transform it.  That is a waste of time, money and energy…  You don’t want that.  It’s simple: Good artist=Good job.

Armed with this sound advice, you can get your first tattoo with more confidence than before.




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