Life + Arts

Body art accessible, safe

Many students want a tattoo or body piercing, but few, especially first-timers, know what to expect. The process of getting a tattoo or piercing is easier than most people think.

Tattooing has existed since the Neolithic times and is a permanent marking made by inserting ink into the layers of skin to change the pigment for decorative and other reasons.

Lupe, a professional tattooist of 18 years, who works at Texas Tattoo Emporium, 13664B Westheimer Rd., said has seen a fair share of good and bad customers and offers insight on what to expect when getting a tattoo.

‘I look at attitude,’ Lupe said.’ ‘Some people come in here confused, not knowing what they want and we can’t help them.’

Having a general idea of what you’re looking for in a tattoo is very helpful for the artist, Lupe said.’

Burke, a professional tattooist of eight years, agrees with Lupe’s advice for ideas.

‘I’d rather draw the design than tattoo whatever the customer brings in,’ Burke said. ‘What they bring in might not be the best image to tattoo or it might just be bad art.’

All tattoo artists have different styles. One artist’s rendition of a rose or stars will be different from another’s, Burke said.

‘I like it when people come in and have a real good idea of what they want,’ Burke said.’ ‘The best thing for the customer to do is come in and look at the artists’ portfolio, see what they really like doing.’

The customer also plays a big part in the tattoo process.’ Aside from bringing in ideas, both Lupe and Burke stress the customers’ interaction and reaction during the tattoo process.

‘Sit still, don’t move – that’s the main thing,’ Burke said. ‘Try to relax and enjoy it. It’s an experience.’

Lupe agrees with Burke and emphasizes coming in alone to get tattooed.

‘Don’t bring your buddies in,’ Lupe said. ‘When you’re getting tattooed and constantly looking back to talk to your friend, you’re always moving. You’re actually doing more harm than good. Just sit there.’

Tattoo aftercare is just as important as picking a design and having it tattooed on your body according to both Lupe and Burke.

‘Wash it two to three times a day with anti-bacterial soap,’ Lupe said. ‘Pat it dry, don’t rub it. Once it starts scabbing and you rub it you’re going to peel that scab and take the color out. If it itches, slap it around a bit.’

Lupe also recommends using a thin layer of Aquaphor or A&D ointment on the tattoo while Burke suggests using unscented Lubriderm or Curel lotion.

‘Try to avoid the sun,’ Lupe said. ‘The sun is a tattoo’s worst enemy.’

Piercings are different from tattoos because less thought goes into what you want Dana Doll, a professional piercer of four years, said.’

Customers should expect a lot less pain and a quicker procedure when coming in to get a piercing Doll explains, but make sure the piercer has a good reputation.

‘Have questions like ‘Is it sterile,’ or ‘How many piercings have you done,” Dana said. ‘You don’t have to (have) any special licensing. Anybody can do anything they want, so unless you ask, you don’t know.’

Relaxation is also the key to an easy piercing. No matter how many times you’ve been pierced, you’re still nervous, Doll said.’

Piercing aftercare is also very important for the quality of your piercings. Doll recommends washing it once a day with an anti-bacterial soup and doing a sea salt soak twice daily for five to ten minutes, and most importantly, do not touch your piercing and keep it clean.

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