Choosing the Best Tattoo Shop

Have you ever felt the itch to get a tattoo? Maybe you’ve been inspired by a friend’s beautiful artwork, or perhaps you’ve always wanted to express yourself through body art. Whatever the reason, getting a tattoo is a big decision, and choosing the right tattoo shop is crucial. After all, you want to ensure that the experience is not only safe and hygienic but also results in a stunning piece of art that you’ll proudly wear for the rest of your life. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the process of selecting the best tattoo shop, so you can confidently embark on your tattoo journey.

When I first decided to get a tattoo, I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of tattoo shops in my city. Each seemed to offer something unique, making the decision even more difficult. However, through extensive research and personal experiences, I’ve learned what to look for in a tattoo shop. From the cleanliness and professionalism of the artists to the quality of their work, there are several factors to consider before making your choice. So, let’s dive in and explore the key aspects that will help you find the best tattoo shop for your needs.

Before we begin, it’s important to note that everyone’s preferences and priorities may vary when it comes to choosing a tattoo shop. What works for one person may not work for another, so it’s crucial to consider your own needs and preferences throughout the process. With that said, let’s explore the first section: cleanliness and hygiene.

Section 1: Cleanliness and Hygiene

When it comes to getting a tattoo, cleanliness and hygiene should be your top concerns. After all, you’re essentially allowing someone to puncture your skin, and any lapse in cleanliness can lead to serious infections or other health issues. So, what should you look for in a tattoo shop to ensure that they maintain high standards of cleanliness?

First and foremost, pay attention to the overall cleanliness of the shop. Is the floor swept and mopped regularly? Are the workstations clean and organized? These may seem like small details, but they speak volumes about the shop’s commitment to cleanliness. Additionally, look for proper waste disposal methods. Are there biohazard disposal containers readily available? Is the shop following strict protocols for disposing of used needles and other medical waste? These are all indicators of a shop that takes cleanliness seriously.

Another crucial aspect is the sterilization of equipment. Before getting a tattoo, always inquire about the shop’s sterilization practices. Do they use single-use needles and tubes? Are the tattoo machines and other tools properly sterilized after each use? A reputable shop will be more than happy to explain their sterilization processes and show you their sterilization equipment. If a tattoo shop is hesitant or evasive when asked about their sterilization practices, it’s a major red flag, and you should consider looking elsewhere.

Finally, don’t forget to observe the artists themselves. Do they wash their hands thoroughly before starting a tattoo? Are they wearing disposable gloves throughout the process? These seemingly small actions can make a huge difference in preventing the spread of infections. A professional tattoo artist will always prioritize cleanliness and take the necessary precautions to keep both themselves and their clients safe.

Section 2: Artist Skills and Portfolio

Now that we’ve covered the importance of cleanliness and hygiene, let’s move on to another crucial aspect of choosing a tattoo shop: the skills and portfolio of the artists. After all, you want your tattoo to be a work of art that reflects your personality and style, so it’s essential to find an artist who can bring your vision to life.

When evaluating the skills of tattoo artists, start by looking at their portfolios. Most reputable tattoo shops will have a portfolio of their artists’ previous work available for you to browse. Take your time going through these portfolios, paying attention to the style, detail, and overall quality of the tattoos. Does the artist’s style align with what you have in mind for your own tattoo? Do they demonstrate a mastery of different techniques and designs? Remember, a tattoo is a permanent mark on your body, so it’s crucial to find an artist whose work you truly admire.

Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations or seek out reviews from previous clients. A satisfied customer is often the best testament to an artist’s skills and professionalism. Look for online reviews or ask friends who have tattoos from the same shop for their opinions. Hearing firsthand experiences can provide valuable insights into an artist’s ability to bring your tattoo ideas to life.

Lastly, consider the experience and reputation of the tattoo shop itself. How long have they been in business? Do they have a solid reputation within the tattoo community? A tattoo shop that has been around for years and has a loyal customer base is more likely to have skilled artists who consistently produce high-quality work. So, take the time to research the shop and its artists to ensure you’re making an informed decision.

Section 3: Communication and Comfort

While cleanliness and artist skills are vital factors to consider, don’t overlook the importance of communication and comfort when choosing a tattoo shop. Tattooing is an intimate and personal experience, so it’s crucial to find a shop where you feel comfortable expressing your ideas and working closely with the artist.

During your initial consultation with a tattoo artist, pay attention to how they communicate and listen to your ideas. Do they take the time to understand what you’re looking for? Are they receptive to your input and willing to make adjustments to the design? Effective communication between you and the artist is essential to ensure that your vision is accurately translated into a tattoo.

Moreover, consider the overall atmosphere and ambiance of the shop. Are the staff friendly and welcoming? Does the shop have a comfortable and relaxing environment? Remember, getting a tattoo can be a lengthy process, and feeling at ease throughout that time is important. A shop that prioritizes customer comfort will go the extra mile to ensure you have a positive experience from start to finish.

Lastly, trust your gut feeling. If something feels off or you don’t feel a connection with the artist or the shop, it’s okay to walk away and explore other options. Remember, getting a tattoo is a personal journey, and finding the right tattoo shop is an essential part of that process.

Conclusion

Choosing the best tattoo shop is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. By considering factors such as cleanliness and hygiene, artist skills and portfolio, as well as communication and comfort, you can make an informed choice that ensures a safe and enjoyable tattoo experience. Remember, a tattoo is not just an image on your skin; it’s a form of self-expression and art. So, take the time to find the tattoo shop and artist that resonate with your vision, and embark on your tattoo journey with confidence.

Estimates/Booking

Use the form below to describe your vision for the tattoo or to request a consultation / booking. If looking for an estimate, please be descriptive. For bookings, review our pricing & payment page; we typically start with a free consultation for larger work; Note that custom drawings or to have a confirmed appointment, a deposit will be requested; Last, but not least, remember to check your junk / spam email folder in case you don’t hear from us within 3 days.

Hugh

ABOUT HUGH

We’re thrilled to welcome Hugh, who is a seasoned professional tattoo artist of over 10 years, to our North York tattoo studio starting in December.

Hugh’s artwork speaks for itself. As someone that does stunning traditional tattoos, we quickly bonded with him based on his passion of art and general outlook on life. We’re confident his personality is a great mesh for our studio and all of our clients.  

Reach out to Hugh via justhughsteele@gmail.com or stop by our Toronto tattoo studio any Tuesday to Saturday to say hi.

Rebecca

ABOUT REBECCA

Rebecca is a natural artist quickly honing in her skills as an apprentice in our Toronto studio. From a very young age, Rebecca has enjoyed all forms of art ranging from film and animation to painting and illustrations.

Similar to her mentor, Ashley, Rebecca describes herself as an introverted individual who’s confidence and expression comes out in her work, and, in her ever changing hair color.Rebecca has an interesting outlook on getting tattoos, seeing them parable to decorating one’s home. Rebecca, who relates to being shy and feeling awkward, feels a sense of empowerment from decorating your own space. She wants to help others in their own quests for empowerment while flexing her artistic abilities.

The tattoo styles she’s most interested in are blackwork, pointillism, and Japanese traditional flowers. Rebecca loves to continuously grow and learn new art styles, and is always seeking available canvases to practice her craft. Reach out to her via her Instagram or stop by our Toronto studio any Tuesday, Friday or Saturday to say hi.

Gel

ABOUT GEL

Gelene (or Gel), as many natural born artists tend to do, has been creating art since a child. Her work ranged from drawings to illustrations and led her to acquire an Advanced Diploma in Media Arts from Sheridan College in Oakville. Originally from Manila, Philippines, she moved around with her family during most of her youth, also having lived in Jakarta, Indonesia before moving and building roots in Toronto, Canada.

As a tattoo artist, she enjoys different types of styles though her favourite is abstract especially when it’s a fusion of different cultures. She loves doing custom work most especially when the client is open to a collaborative rapport. She’s here not just to put ink onto your skin but to help you express yourself in various ways that are unique to your worldviews, personalities, and experiences. She feels privileged in being able to be part of an anthropological alchemy that has started since the dawn of time; if we look at the grander scheme of the process, the alchemy really comes into play when clients come to us with very personal matters that they want to express through their tattoo(s).

Gel is a scuba diver and hiker who loves checking out arts & culture as she travels. Locally, she hits the gym, does hot yoga, and practices Krav Maga martial arts.

Gel is available for bookings in our North York studio mainly Saturdays and Sundays. Feel free to reach her via email or check out her profile below

 

Brooke

ABOUT BROOKE

Brooke is a “new” artist in every sense of the word – she redefines what a tattoo artist might look like. Not to say that there is such a thing as a certain “tattoo artist look” since we’re all unique, and proudly carry our own style and character; however, Brooke redefines many things.

Our young artist got involved in art at the tender age of 3 when she started doodling. This may be so for many of us, but what separates Brooke from others is when, at the at of 16, she took doodling to the next level and started working part time at a tattoo studio in order to study from other artists.

She was trained at doing piercings by the age of 18, but after realizing that her true passion was in drawing and expressing herself via permanent art, Brooke changed paths to become a tattoo artist. Now, Brooke has been under our wing for a number of years, first as an apprentice being trained by her figuratively adopted mother Asia, and we’re proud to see her grow into a very capable tattoo artist today!

Brooke can be unassuming. The 5”1, quiet, attractive and very focused artist frequently agonizes over producing the most amazing work – a trait that is often attached to perfectionists. With over a thousand of tattoos under her belt and extensive training on safety and cleanliness handling, it’s very easy to forget that Brooke is still early in her career. Brooke has long moved away from script and simpler tattoos towards inventing her own tattoo style. Specializing in floral and general minimalist tattoos, we’re super proud to see where Brooke’s already impressive artist career takes her next.

NEO TRADITIONAL TATTOOS

Brooke is interested in pursuing neo-traditional tattoos (neo means new in Latin). The dictionary would define it as “A re-adoption or revival of traditional styles, values, practices, etc.”, while we see it as taking the traditional old-style tattoo art that has been around for over a hundred years (think American and sailors) and fusing it with new concepts.

Neo-traditional tattoos are still traditional in essence, but what separates them from old-school traditional tattoos is moving away from thick, broad lines, and instead, delve more into realism. Additionally, they may take the traditional subject of a skull head, for example, draw it in a similar traditional fashion, but then add flowers, colors and smoother lines to the tattoo, making it a neo-traditional tattoo as it blends multiple styles together.

It’s no surprise that Brooke is most drawn to this tattoo style because she embodies new tradition, and we couldn’t be more excited to see her grow further in her artist’s journey. Check out some of her work below and stop by our tattoo studio to meet her. We proudly feature some of her work on our tattoo shop walls in Toronto where she apprenticed originally before helping us establish the Burlington studio where she now tattoos from exclusively.

10% Off Booking

Use the form below to describe your vision for the tattoo, or to request a consultation / booking.

Asia

ABOUT ASIA

Asia, pronounced like Asha rather than like the continent, is the head artist and proud co-Owner of Toronto’s Painted People Tattoos Salon.

Asia has been tattooing for over 15 years. Her rich resume, apart from owning a tattoo studio, includes roles such as painter, volunteer, designer, music dabbler, and more. Finding her calling at the age of 16, she studied tattooing, first independently, and then as an apprentice to a number of celebrated artists before becoming one herself.

Tattooing is a passion for Asia. She loves creating livable, permanent art through that passion. When she’s not creating, Asia enjoys carrying for her pets, spending time with her family, watching movies, playing old video games, sucking at soccer (or football if we’re being all European) and unloading cat sounds with her husband Nick for general amusement of herself and others.

WATERCOLOR TATTOOS

As the name indicates, watercolor tattoos essentially represent using the human canvas and drawing on them with tattoo ink making them look like watercolors.

Watercolor tattoos require the same expertise and initial process that other tattoo techniques require (you may or may not do a stencil and mix shades of color), but where they really separate themselves from other tattoo techniques is the final outcome. A fresh watercolor tattoo can often appear as splashes of watercolor paint on your body.

Created with a lot more gradual coloring (unlike, for example, traditional tattooing where solid colors are merged together), the subtle gradients help create the characteristics and design of a classic watercolor painting. The other differentiating factor is outlining. Watercolor tattoos pride themselves on often not having a solid outline which is then colored in. The free flowing colors are meant to represent a painting – which they most definitely do.

Asia, while doing every style from black and grey, traditional, tribal, realism, neo-traditional, new school, etc, has really specialized in watercolor tattooing recently. Outside of loving the look and feel of them and genuinely enjoying creating unique watercolor designs, she is quickly becoming known Canada wide for her passion of watercolor tattoos.

One of the common misconceptions around watercolor tattoos is that they fade very quickly. Putting it simply, all tattoos fade overtime. In the hands of a professional tattoo artist (such as Asia), watercolor tattoos are safe from fading for years. How many years heavily depends on various factors such as maintenance of the tattoo / skin care along with placement of tattoo as not placing it on an area where there may be constant rubbing will make it last longer. Watercolor tattoos can fade just slightly quicker due to use of lighter colors, so if one of our tattoos does start to fade you can come back after a few years for a quick touch-up to get it looking vibrant again.

For tips on how to maintain your watercolor or any other tattoos, check out our healing instructions page here