Tattoo artists give tips on finding the right shop

Tattoo artists give tips on finding the right shop

Want to get inked? Highly rated tattoo artists from Angie's List offer tips to ensure your tattoo is something you can live with for the rest of your life.

Ask questions: Don't be afraid to ask as many questions as possible about an artist's training and apprenticeship. "I always think you should ask about experience, how long the tattooer's been doing it ... and what his specific talents are," says Joe Smith, owner and artist at highly rated Big Brain Productions in Omaha, Neb.

Take a look: Always look at the artist's portfolio. In addition to having books of their work at the shop, most have online portfolios. Conan Lea, owner and artist at Voluta Tattoo in Indianapolis, adds this advice: "Make sure the artist's portfolio is stunning and their lines are crisp."

Check cleanliness: Each shop should have a sterilization process and be able to prove it. Tattoo shops are bound by state regulations. To learn about these requirements, contact your state health department. "Every shop should have evidence of [sterilization], whether it is a test strip, a log book or both. Don't just take their word for it," Smith says.

Get good vibes: It's hard to describe a "vibe," but if you don't feel comfortable, go to another shop. "You should look for chemistry in the room, if everyone is awake or sober, and if the clients are happy," Lea says.

Read reports: To learn about tattoo shops in your area, check Angie's List for member reviews. Search under the category "Tattoos/Piercings."

For more information, visit Listen! The Angie's List podcast at

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