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What do we mean by art? Art is intended to challenge one’s view, change a person’s perceptions or in some cases it’s simply intended to make a stance or statement, therefore can we not now consider tattoos as an art-form?

Tattoos are an ancient form of artwork, originally created to identify a genre of people or to symbolise an individual’s belonging to a community. Today, however, they are trendy fashion statements. In fact, in recent years the general perception of tattooing has changed drastically, albeit celebrity endorsement has played a huge part with the likes of Rihanna and David Beckham leading the way in body art – it seems like the next big craze!

A report by the Telegraph suggests that by 2025 the UK will reach its ‘tattoo peak’ and is estimated that about one in five of the UK population as a whole is tattooed, with this figure rising to one in three for young adults. Does the rise in tattoo popularity have a connection to how it is now perceived?

Art historian Dr Matt Lodder and Nick Schonberger, author of Forever, the New Tattoo, see’s tattooing as an important, legitimate art form, and to view tattoos as works of art. Lodder urges us to think of them as perhaps ‘the best reflection we have of the soul in modern life.’

Just as a painter would go to college or university to learn this skill, so does a tattoo artist. They undergo an apprenticeship for a minimum of 12 months where they learn the skills and knowledge of the trade. It’s essentially a rite of passage for all would-be tattooists and is not easy to come by either.

Tattoo styles have been around from the beginning, but in recent years they’ve emerged on to the market as a trend and are now widely popular with people from all over the world. From Bio-mechanical, to Japanese, Neo-Traditional to New School, I would urge you to take a look at your own tat’s and tell me what you see? Are they not crafted pieces of art, personable to you, your interest or experiences? Designed by a person’s own hand – I would say this is art… Is it not?

At Inkden we want to educate our customers on design, especially if they’re a first timer. It’s so incredibly important to research what you want.  The style is crucial. Have you seen something that you like? Or would you prefer a truly bespoke design? Consider this carefully. We’re not called tattoo artists for nothing, and our team spend time researching and designing tattoos on paper before we put needle to skin. It takes a great deal of skill and expertise to draw on the human body.

 

Shamack Malachowski – Follow us on Facebook at @Inkden.tattoo

Thinking about getting a tattoo?

Well, there are several things you might want to consider before you take the plunge to getting inked. This handy blog will support you in making the right decision; after all it’s not a decision to be taken lightly.

Design

The key is not to rush. Take time to consider what it is that you want, research tattoo designs- Google and Instagram are great for tattoo inspiration. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t find something you like the first time around, just keeping looking until you do. Alternatively, you could always consider a bespoke design- at InkDen we prefer to work with you to create something that’s unique to you!
People often go for a design that’s meaningful. This could be a verse from a song, a symbol or something to remind you of a loved one. If you’re not concerned with finding something meaningful don’t worry, the important thing here is that you won’t regret it in months or years to come. You should be proud of your tattoo and be eager to show if off.

 

Where to have your tattoo?

This is by far the second most important decision you will make. Design and placement pretty much go hand in hand. Where you decide to place your tattoo will influence the size and style of your tattoo. There are certain tattoos that are best suited to specific body parts – such as a bio-mechanical sleeve design is most suited towards your arm and shoulder.
We always discourage tattoos on the face, head, neck and hands for the reason that if you were looking to secure face to face employment you might struggle in the future. Don’t mistake this for tattoo discrimination, it is just common sense if you’re looking for a frontline job serving customers this might just hinder your chances of securing that dream job! Other reasons that are just as important are that tattoos in these places are more difficult to heal, maintain and they age differently. It’s very easy to accidentally mess up the delicate process of healing and looking after a tattoo in these placements because they’re always open to the elements.
Likewise, if you’ve got a private tattoo; avoid placing it somewhere that everyone can see, opt for a less visible place below your clothing.

Will it hurt?

Yes, it will most definitely hurt at some point. With multiple needles puncturing the skin to insert the ink it’s bound to cause some level of discomfort. This level of discomfort varies greatly

between individuals, and also varies from when you first get the tattoo to when it finishes healing, so bear that in mind.

Depending on where you plan to have your tattoo will also set the tone for the level of pain you might endure, and size also plays a vital part too. The bigger the tattoo the more pain you’re going to suffer. The ribcage i

s by far one of the most painful place to have a tattoo as you don’t have as much fat or muscle, and as the needle taps away on the thin layer flesh covering the bone it often create

s a more heightened reaction. If you’re a first timer we suggest that the best place to start is the outer shoulder or thigh as they’re considered one of the lesser painful places to have a tattoo, with less nerve endings and more muscle and flesh to cushion the needle.
Don’t be afraid to talk to your tattoo artist about the design and placement of your tattoo, especially if it’s new to you. With years of experience, a trusted tattoo artist will be able advise on what’s best for you.

Cost

Let’s be frank, tattoos aren’t cheap- you’re investing in something permanent. If you want it doing properly by an experienced artist, then expect to pay that little bit more too. The more experienced and skilled the artists, the more it’s likely to cost.
It also depends on the size of the tattoo as well, as larger designs take more time and more professional equipment, so it is likely the cost will be greater. Expect to pay around £30 for a small design and well in to the £100’s for larger designs. Some tattoo artists will charge a fixed price once they’ve factored in the labour, design and ink required to complete, others will charge per the hour. At InkDen we charge by the design, unless the piece needs several sessions to complete (such as a sleeve) in which case we charge by the hour.

Credibility of the artist

Whilst you’re doing your research on which design to choose, why not take a look at the tattoo studios in your area. It’s important to find the right artist for you, as it might be that you’re after a specific style like a water-colour, bio-mechanical or cartoon. Not all artists will be proficient in every tattoo style, so be sure to find the one that specialises in the tattoo you’re after.
Next take a look at the artist’s portfolio, often found on their websites, and review what you think of their artwork and designs. If you’re new to tattoos, we suggest that you make contact and meet with your tattoo artist too to make sure you get on. Tattooing is quite personable and therefore it’s important that you can form a bond, a bit like when you go to the hairdressers only here you will be walking out with a piece of permanent artwork on your skin. Be sure to check social media and review sites as well to hear what other clients have to say. It’s always better if you have a friend or colleague who can recommend a skilled tattoo artist.

A clean establishment

Hygiene is extremely important so make sure you check out the studios hygiene rating before you do anything!
In the UK tattoo studios are covered by the standards agency and will undergo screenings to ensure that they comply. Don’t be afraid to ask either- a credible tattoo studio will be proud to show you around their facilities and talk about their hygiene rating.
Infection and disease can easily be spread by the use of dirty or used equipment, so make sure your artist uses a new needle. The same thing applies to gloves! Getting a tattoo involves an open wound and blood, and by using clean and sterilised equipment your tattoo artist prevents the risk of contamination.
At InkDen we are proud to have a 5* hygiene standard and welcome new customers to come and take a tour of the studio.

Aftercare

Taking care of your tattoo is essential. If you’re new to tattoos, then don’t make the mistake of flaunting your freshly tattooed skin out in the open straight away. “Why” you might ask? Your new tattoo is an open wound and therefore like any other wound you should take the necessary steps to keep it clean to ensure that it heals correctly without risk of it becoming infected.
We suggest that you clean your tattoo using a non-perfumed soap. Use a specialist tattoo aftercare cream up to 4 times daily to keep the fresh tattoo protected, clean and to promote healing. Above all fight the urge to scratch, you don’t want to damage the broken and fresh skin and risk destroying your new tattoo.
Don’t think you can just skip the aftercare either. It’s vital to preserving your tattoo and reducing the risk of infection; after all why go to the trouble of having a tattoo in the first place if you don’t want it to look its best.

If you’re in need of some tattoo advice contact the team at InkDen on 07957 021702 or follow us @Inkden.tattoo on Facebook or Twitter.