TATTOOS FAQ

Do I have to fill in a form? Do I need ID?
Has anyone ever started a tattoo and not been able to finish, or made you stop half way through?
Do you live here (at the shop)?
What's the video camera for?
Is there an age limit for tattoos?
Isn't there an age law?
Don't you need consent?
How long does it take?
Does it hurt?
How do I learn to tattoo?
Why can't I just build my own machine or order from a magazine?
Why don't I just get my friend to give me a tattoo?
Can I catch a disease from a tattoo?
Can I get it removed later?
Can you cover a scar with a tattoo?
Is there anything I should do or avoid doing before getting a tattoo?
How do I take care of my tattoo?

Do I have to fill in a form? Do I need ID?
No, I have never done that. You do not need to fill in forms or provide ID.

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Has anyone ever started a tattoo and not been able to finish, or made you stop half way through?
No, once I start you realize how little it hurts and how worked up you were over such a little thing. If tattoos hurt that bad clients certainly would not return for more! Most people who come here get three, four, eight or ten tattoos! After I begin you can see why no one would stop me half way through.

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Do you live here (at the shop)?
I find this question a little personal, but I get asked this one all of the time. From the tattoo chair in the work area, clients can see through the door into the back kitchen/sterilization room, where we store things like the sterilizers and ultrasonic cleaner, gloves, tape, bandages, chemicals like alcohol, ultraquot, provodine, paper towels, that sort of thing. My husband and I live in Woodside, about a five minute drive away. We have a cat and kitten family.

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What's the video camera for?
There really isn't much here to steal, but we videotape everything everyday just in case. It deters robbery and shoplifting. The shop is equipped with an up-to-date monitored alarm system as well.

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Is there an age limit for tattoos?
I used to have a strictly 18 and over policy. Clients were just going somewhere else. They would come in for the free one on their 18th birthdays (NOTE: 18th Birthday Special has been discontinued) and show me the one I refused to do, so I lowered it to 15 with your mother or father and 16 without. They will just go somewhere else, or worse, try it at home. There are a few homemade tattoo shops around and I do not believe they know the first thing about sterilization...especially when the machine is a walkman motor, the needle is a sharpened guitar string, and the tube is a plastic pen barrel. All the above is cross-contaminated, and a common ink well is always used. The work is ugly, scarred, horrible messes, and the victims are usually 14 or 15. Please see our 'Age Limits' section of the site for more information.

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Isn't there an age law?
No, there is not. Tattoo shops are not regulated. I have a letter here from the Health Department stating this fact. I also had my lawyer do a thorough investigation, which was not cheap. There are no regulations, including age laws. You must regulate your own kids, people. If someone is obviously too young and probably will not follow the aftercare instructions, I will, of course, not do it. Earguns are not regulated either. Kids can go to anyone who has an eargun and get it done that way. Think about how many other people that eargun has come into contact with. It may have been hundreds. It may have been a sailor fresh home from the South Pacific who was pierced right before your son or daughter... Earguns are not sterile, and always have cross-contamination from other clients, or simply from sink faucets or countertops. Your kid could end up with hepatitis B, or STDs, even years later, and have no idea from where it came. A piercing done in a tattoo shop is done with a disposable needle which comes out of a sterile wrapper and is thrown away into a sharps collector right in front of the client afterward.

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Don't you need consent?
It is up to you to regulate your child's activities. My job is to do as clients request. They come in to my shop, and pay me to provide a service. It has nothing to do with anyone else. I do not force them into it. I do not drag them into the shop off of the street, they come in because they want to.

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How long does it take?
Small tattoos usually take six to ten minutes. Average (medium) size tattoos take fifteen to twenty minutes. Large ones take forty-five minutes to one hour. I almost never do tattoos that take more than forty-five minutes. People come in and tell me they thought getting a tattoo would take hours. That just isn't true.

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Does it hurt?
It depends on what part of the body you get the tattoo. Anywhere on the arms or legs between the knee and ankle are the most painless. Next best places are the shoulder blades, and outside thigh between the knee and the hip. Places to avoid which are painful are the stomach, groin, tops of feet, and lower back. People always say "it's not as bad as I thought it would be." It basically feels like hair removal (waxing or epilady shaving) but only in one small spot. The more nervous you are the more it hurts. If you are calm and relaxed it does not.

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How do I learn to tattoo?
The right way. Find someone to apprentice you. There is no other way. If you are as determined as I was, you will find someone.

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Why can't I just build my own machine or order from a magazine?
I have NEVER EVER laid my eyes on a good tattoo someone has done at home. There are too many things to know about tattooing to just try and learn to do it yourself. Equipment mail-ordered from magazines are junk! Home-made ones are worse - don't waste your time! Don't try this at home!

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Why don't I just get my friend to give me a tattoo? He's really a good drawer, has a machine just like yours, and he only charges a case of beer?
Just because he can draw does not mean he can tattoo - if someone taught him to tattoo he'd have a tattoo shop. Also, his machine is NOT just like mine. The company I order my equipment from has to know you have a proper tattoo establishment before they will sell you anything. Your friend does not have the right kind of needles, ink, etc., or he wouldn't be doing it "for a case of beer" or whatever. Think about it - who would be better at doing your tattoo, someone who does four or five a day or four and five a month? Someone who has the proper equipment all set up all the time or someone who pulls equipment out of a dirty milk crate? You will end up here eventually to get the home-made tattoo fixed so why not just come here in the first place!

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Can I catch a disease from a tattoo?
Of course not! All equipment which touches the customer is destroyed or disposed of, each and every time. I prove this by destroying the needles in front of each customer once the tattoo is complete. Gloves, ink holders, paper towels, etc. are all disposed of each time. If tattoo parlours were not safe, there wouldn't be any.

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Can I get it removed later?
I do not know of anyone who had a professional tattoo removed, only home-made ones, which usually can be fixed. If you do not want one fixed for some reason, you will have to see a doctor. Tattoo removals are done at the hospital. They always leave some sort of scar. They either have to cut it out and sew the remaining skin together, or burn it off with a laser. It is very expensive. I have never met anyone who was happy with their removal. In fact they usually come in to ask if I can put a tattoo over the scar.

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Can you cover a scar with a tattoo?
It depends on the scar. They have to be at least 1 year old, and I would have to see the scar beforehand.

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Is there anything I should do or avoid doing before getting a tattoo?
Make sure you eat breakfast that day. Have a shower before you come in. Do not come in sweaty or stinky from work or play. Do not drink alcohol that day or the night before. Do not smoke dope or have any drugs in your system. Drugs and alcohol only make it more painful. Be in good health, eat a balanced diet. Do not get a tattoo when you are sick.

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How do I take care of my tattoo?
I give everyone a card with instructions for aftercare. Click here to read the card

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