"Did it Hurt?" - Advice for Tattoo Wonderers

By Krys Moysard


Photo courtesy of Krys Moysard

Before returning to San Francisco this semester, I was lucky enough to find myself in one of my favorite places, a plush leather chair in a tattoo parlor, getting a new piece of art and the reassurance that I’ll get more next time I’m home. Upon arriving back, I was bombarded with the usual queries, “Did it hurt?” “How long did it take?” “Does it still hurt?” “Why did you do it?” “How much did it cost?”

Now, I don’t quite know how explain some of these things, but I’ll start off easy.

Yes, it hurt. It was not my first tattoo, so it didn’t hurt as badly. Yes, it still hurt when they asked. It felt like a sunburn. Why did I do it? Well, why not, really. It makes me more comfortable in my skin, it boosts my confidence, and quite frankly, I think it looks good. How long did it take? Well, three hours. Two more when I go back. Upwards of 20 by the time the whole thing is finished. It cost more than I would like to admit.

Of course, once the questions were done, I was bombarded with a stream of commentary, “Yeah, I’m thinking of getting …” “I want to do this, but I don’t know yet.” Et cetera, et cetera, and so on and so forth.

People have asked me for advice on it, the procedure, aftercare and all that sort. It’s a hot button topic in college for teenagers and young adults. Tattoos are a big part of our culture lately, and I know so many people who are going around looking into getting them. People are so excited coming into such an artistic city to find an artist here that they like and are ready to work with, so I’ve compiled some advice for the adventurous souls who are ready to go under the needle and fill in the blank space.

When you begin looking into tattoos, do your research. Be careful of fly-by-night parlors, be it for piercings or tattoo work, as they aren’t always the cleanest, and the artists aren’t always what you want. Look around, look into your options and really sit down and ask yourself if this is what you want done and if this is who you want it done by. Find an artist and an environment that you are comfortable in.

I know the cost may be astounding, but I go by the mantra that my artist has taught me, “a good tattoo isn’t cheap, and a cheap tattoo isn’t good.” A painter doesn’t want to sell their work for less than what they think it’s worth, so bear that in mind when you think to go to a cheap parlor.

It will take time and it will hurt. Try your best not to fidget around in your seat, because it only adds time and pain to the work that’s being done, and don’t be afraid to ask for a break if you think you need one.

With those tips in mind, keep your mind open to the many possibilities in body modification, and find yourself in the world of art.