Recently there has been a significant amount of attention towards the growing number of people across the globe that are choosing ‘tattoo art'. Tattoo art has been defined as a unique creation, from a tattoo artist, that was commissioned by the client specifically for single use. On the other side is ‘tattoo flash', this is where pre-made designs are chosen from a book and simply applied by a tattooist. Tattoo art is the fastest growing type of personally commissioned fine art and its growing popularity has implications for hundreds of millions around the world.
Despite the increasingly discerning choices – some really basic questions still get asked. We talked with Tattoo Temple in Hong Kong and found the top 5 questions you shouldn't ask when commissioning tattoo art. Tattoo Temple was the first studio in Asia to introduce the art tattoo and is the leading body art organization. Despite their clientele being mostly CEO's, doctors, lawyers and professionals from a variety of fields – Tattoo Temple is no stranger to the cringe worthy question. In reverse order, here are the top 5:
5: "I couldn't get a big tattoo… If I get a smaller tattoo it will hurt less – right?!"
It is true that there will be less time under the needle but the per-minute pain of getting a tattoo is a finite unit. There are two factors that affect the pain level; the position and the person. Tattoos on different parts of the body will have varying levels of pain associated. For instance, clients getting tattooed on the back of their knees, feet or neck often feel that these areas are more painful than getting tattooed on a more common place like the back or shoulder. The second factor is a person's pain threshold. Other than these two, big or small, a tattoo is a tattoo!
4: "If I get a big tattoo will it fade faster?"
Whether tattoos fade or last depends entirely on the skill of the artist that applied it and how you treat the tattoo afterwards. If the tattooist doesn't know what they're doing or uses inferior ink then the tattoo won't be applied correctly. If it wasn't applied correctly it will consequently fade out. Or, if you are out in the sun every day without proper protection over your tattoo then it can start to fade. Size is irrelevant; it's who applied it and how you take care of it that makes all the difference.
3: "I'd love to get a color tattoo but all the color ones fade out, right?"
Not at all! If you go to the right artist, they use the proper ink and you take care of the tattoo then a color tattoo will last as long as a black one! Tattoos sit on the second layer of skin. This means your own skin tone will be above the color of the tattoo. Apart from this visual aesthetic, the life of the color ink is exactly the same as black ink.
2: "I heard that there is a numbing cream I could use so I don't have to feel the tattoo?"
Quite simply, anyone that even suggests a pain-free tattoo is possible (while you're conscious) is lying. The fact is that these kinds of products do not work for tattoos. Tattoos are permanent because they rest on the middle layer of skin. Very simply, the top layer of human skin is constantly shedding, the middle layer is stable, and the base layer connects the blood vessels and nerves. Numbing creams are applied and work on the top layer of skin only. The tattoo sits on the second layer of skin. Lidocaine, the most common active ingredient in numbing creams, only works on a tiny portion of skin and does not cut off all sensation to the area. No matter what cream you use, you're going to feel the tattoo!
1: "I want a tattoo! Could you please design it for me?"
This is the grand winner! We are talking about custom designed art. The artist will need to know what style or styles you would like incorporated, where you'd like the tattoo, how much space you'd like to use, your color and design preferences and a whole range of other details. To say "I want a tattoo! Could you please design it for me?" is the equivalent of asking "I want my dream house! Could you please build it for me?". Being as specific as possible and having references at the ready will help your artist create your custom artwork. Don't go in empty handed!
Tattoo Temple followed the interview by saying that no matter what the questions - they're always happy to answer! Their contact details can be found on their website: http://www.tattootemple.hk