Finding the Right Artist
Uriah and I are both members of a Facebook page called the Minnesota Tattoo Exchange. This particular Facebook page is an excellent page for artists to share their work with other artists, it allows others to view different artists work in one place, it is a networking place, and it is a place where individuals can seek recommendations for good artists. One thing both Uriah and I have noticed on this page is artists saying they can do “anything.” No matter what someone posts, there are artists the immediately say “I got you” or “PM me.” The truth is, as a consumer, it is highly important to do your research on your tattoo artist. Years experience does not necessarily mean excellent tattoo skills. Years experience does not mean the artist can tattoo every style perfectly. Most consumers do not know exactly what they are looking for in an artist. Here are a few tips to review and questions to ask any potential artists you intend to work with.
- How long have you been tattooing, who did you apprentice under, and can I see a copy of your license? In the state of Minnesota the regulations changed in 2011. All tattoo artists and tattoo shops in the state MUST be licensed! This means those “tattoo parties” in people’s home are completely illegal (and they were gross to begin with – come on people)! Artists should only be tattooing in a shop. If they offer to tattoo you elsewhere, this should be a major red flag and you should probably move along to interviewing your next artist. Tattoo artists should also be able to identify who they learned the art from. Each tattoo artist typically has respect for their teacher, and will give props to that person.
- Ask to see a portfolio or samples of the artists work. All artists should have a portfolio, either digitally (we are a digital age now) or an actual book. Take time to review the portfolio. Pay attention to their style (this is evident in their work), look at their lines, color saturation, black and gray work, and ask what their favorite tattoo styles are.
- Look around the shop. It is important to notice how clean the shop is, what do the artists work stations look like. Are they clean? Does your artist look clean? Are you comfortable in the shop? Are you comfortable speaking with the artist? Is the artist answering your questions or do you feel like you are not getting what you need?
- Always ask the price or an estimate of the tattoo. An artist should be able to give you a ballpark figure for the cost of your tattoo. Be up front about your budget and be realistic in understanding you may not get everything you want in a tattoo within your budget. A good tattoo artist will take the time to take notes about what you want in your tattoo, and will be forthcoming with an estimate of how many hours it will take to complete the tattoo and what that may cost. Don’t be afraid to speak up. A good artist will take the time to listen.
Good luck in your tattoo artist hunting!
Pinterest and Tattoo Artists
We all (or at least a majority of us) love Pinterest, right? Pinterest is a great way to get ideas for decorating, DIY, arts and crafts, and recipes; however, Pinterest has been the enemy of most tattoo shops and artists. Why do you ask? Tattoo artists are exactly that – artists. We enjoy helping you design you own, individualized tattoo, and when the customer comes into the shop and asks for something that is EXACTLY like what was found on Pinterest – with NO changes, it creates a major ethical dilemma for us – we don’t and some of us will not copy another artists work. Not only does it create an ethical dilemma for tattoo artists, but you are asking for a tattoo exactly like another (or a million) other people in the world. A tattoo is meant to be individualized and one of a kind. The quick message here is – while using Pinterest for tattoo ideas is great – think about how you can work with your artist to modify the tattoo and make is one of a kind. You can visit our Pinterest page anytime to see what we have going on:) Just search Subjective Art Tattoo on Pinterest to find us!
Tattoo Cover Ups
An emerging pattern is occurring in the tattoo shop recently – a lot of requests for cover ups of old tattoos or tattoos done by other shops that people are just not happy with. While covering up a tattoo may seem like a simple task for the non-tattoo artist; it can be a total nightmare to the tattoo artist. Our artist, Uriah, does an excellent job with cover ups, but here are some things to keep in mind when requesting a cover up of an old tattoo.
- Keep an open mind. Coming into the shop with some ideas are great, but be aware of the fact that some of your ideas may not be feasible. For example, you cannot cover up a black tribal tattoo with a light pink watercolor tattoo. It just isn’t happening.
- Your new tattoo will be at least double the size of the tattoo you want covered up.
- It is going to hurt more. When you are covering up an existing tattoo the artist is tattooing over scar tissue from the previous tattoo. Be prepared for it to hurt a little more then you remember.
- Not all tattoos can even be covered up. Tattoos are forever, and sometimes there is just no possible way to cover up a tattoo and laser removal is the only option. The artist may refuse to attempt a cover up because it is too difficult or next to impossible. Don’t be offended and accept the artist’s opinion.
- Covering up an existing tattoo is expensive. Don’t expect your cover up tattoo to cost what a new tattoo would. Cover up tattoos take a lot of time for the artist to design, shade, and color. Placement of the cover up tattoo, ink colors, shading and layout are key to a successful cover up. This takes significant time for the artist and time equals money.
Overall, it is best to interview various artists when wanting a cover up tattoo. This allows you to chose the right artist for your needs as well as gives the artist the opportunity to know what to expect should you book an appointment with them.
Tattoo cover up by Uriah at Subjective Art Tattoo
We recently had an upset customer in regard to our shop. In any business you run you can’t make everyone happy all the time. However, this customer was over the top rude after she no-showed on two appointments over 2 months ago. We attempted to offer her a solution after her two no shows and she did not accept the solution. She decided to message us again this week after two months and since we have been super busy tattooing (you know can’t touch anything once your gloves are on including your cell phone) so then sent an extremely rude message to us about how poor of a business we run. Now let’s think about it – we have between a 3 and 9 minute average response rate on our Facebook messenger, but we are ONLY HUMAN, and sometimes things slip through the cracks. Calling the shop and leaving a message would probably be a good next step, but instead we were attacked and ridiculed. Needless to say, our one poor review to our 40 good reviews really says something about the person who left the review…not so much the studio.
We want nothing more to make sure all our customers have an excellent experience, but as a part of that it is important you are willing to speak up, share your concerns in a respectful manner, and we will work to correct it to the best of our ability. So our promise to our customers is to give you the best experience possible, but you must also be sure to follow customer etiquette as well. Here are some great ideas:
- Be assertive – let us know what you are thinking in regard to your tattoo including color schemes, placement, and overall idea. Be open to artist suggestions as well. We have great ideas that will improve your tattoos.
- Don’t bring your entourage – bringing a friend for support is great, but bringing 5 friends can be quite distracting to not only the artist you are working with, but also the entire tattoo studio.
- Don’t be rude – rudeness never gets you anywhere in life. This is a a basic life lesson. Kindness gets you a lot further in life. That is shit you learned in kindergarten – if you can’t play nice in the sandbox, pack up your shit and go home.
- Don’t be afraid to change artists – if you aren’t feeling a good vibe with your assigned artist feel free to chose another. It is your body and we want you to be happy with your tattoo.
Preparing for Your Tattoo Appointment
We all get excited when it is time for the long awaited tattoo appointment! We scheduled it weeks, maybe even months ago and now the time has arrived! Often times we are so excited to get some new ink we don’t plan ahead. Here are some great tips to prepare you for an excellent time with your artist:
- Be on time. When you are late for your appointment you make the artist late for the rest of their appointments for the day.
- Take a shower (and ladies shave your legs!). This is just a friendly reminder. We all are happier when we all smell better:)
- Wear appropriate clothing. Our studio has private tattoo rooms; however some studios do not have that luxury. If you are wanting a piece on your thigh; bring shorts. Wear a tank top or a sports bra for a ribcage piece. Also, don’t wear something you absolutely love if it is close to the area being tattooed. Artists do their best to protect your clothing, but always take caution with your clothing. Plus you don’t really need to get all dressed up – we don’t really care what you wear:)
- Eat and hydrate. Please eat a meal and drink some water prior to coming to your tattoo. We offer free snacks and beverages at our studio, but some studios do not. Bring snacks if you wish.
- Know what you want and don’t be afraid to speak up about it, but also listen to your artist. Bring ideas for your tattoo, but it is great to be open to the artists ideas as well. As artists we want to provide you an excellent and unique tattoo that is just yours. We will use references, but if you ask for the Pinterest infinity sign like everyone else, we may suggest some additional ideas to change it up a bit. Be open to these ideas. You want your tattoo to stand out in the crowd and reflect your individuality.
- Bring your photo id. No id, no tattoo.
- Don’t bring an entourage. You can bring a friend, but you don’t need your entire support network. This can be distracting to the artist and the rest of the artists in the shop.
- Don’t consume alcohol or drugs prior to your appointment.
The most important part to remember when in the studio is to have fun! Happy Tattoo Day!
Welcome to Subjective Art Tattoo’s blog page! Here you will find fun information about tattoos, the shop artists, and tattoo topics! We will try to do our best to update the blog once a week, but we are only human so don’t hold us to it! Subjective Art Tattoo was born in Elk River, Minnesota in August 0f 2015. Uriah Baker had many years working at Modify Tattoo in Becker, MN prior to opening his own shop. Now any of you who have visited the shop know for a fact Uriah did not decorate it himself. Uriah co-owns the shop with Sheriff Sunshine (Nikki) and Sarah Don’t Double Cross. Together, the three owners make an excellent team. Each owner has a diverse background, and offers a unique twist to Subjective Art Tattoo. Because of the various backgrounds and ideas, we believe we offer a unique and fun tattoo experience. If you don’t believe us you will have to come in and check us out for yourself! Don’t be afraid to stop by and say hi! We look forward to meeting you!