I have seven tattoos — five professionally done and two given to me by a friend in a bedroom. During each one, I learn more about my body and my pain tolerance.
My first professional tattoos — an ampersand and a paperclip on my arms — are dumb. But that’s the point. My tattoo artist, Thomas Green, said no one starts getting good tattoos; they just start getting tattoos. The more tattoos one gets, however, the more the artistic eye grows.
It’s easier to identify a qualified artist after being more familiar with the process. The art strategies, protective wrapping and healing advice all vary from shop to shop and artist to artist, so finding someone with whom you have good rapport is important.
Getting a tattoo shouldn’t be a shot in the dark. Trusting your artist is important for getting the best piece of work you can get. Choosing from a flash sheet and letting the artist’s vision materialize on your skin is much more satisfying than planning a tattoo without the artist being involved.
The best tattoos I have are the ones where I sent my artist an idea, and they visualized it. My ideas serve as the basis for what the artist can do with a specific art style. But once it’s in my artist’s hands, I prefer to leave them alone to do my design.
Tattoos are becoming more mainstream and less taboo. Taking tattoos less seriously, which inherently makes you trust your artist more, is the secret to getting better art. You have to believe your artist won’t put anything abhorrent on your body, so giving an artist less guidance means that the artist can flex unique skills.
Even if you end up with a silly tattoo, it’s becoming less taboo in both professional and personal settings to have a tattoo. And the better the art, the more other people will accept it.
Finding a reputable artist and having a good idea are only the first steps to getting a tattoo you’ll love forever. Having trust for the artist after you’ve sent along your idea will only yield an even better tattoo. Once you’ve found an artist you can trust, getting tattoos becomes more and more casual.
Not every tattoo has a story. But getting every tattoo is an experience. Easing into knowing an artist and getting tattoos is the best way to find what art you can stand having on your body forever.
Shelby Campbell is a junior studying strategic communication at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Shelby know by tweeting her @bloodbuzzohioan.