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Sober Judgment Is Needed for Tattoos


Stop and think before undergoing the needle, say experts.

* Meet with an artist before getting any work done, suggests Craig Jackman, manager of Skinworks in Balboa. Make sure sanitary conditions prevail.

* Be sober. Jackson says inebriated people are turned away at his salon. These are no longer the days of waking up with some strange name on your arm.

* Decide on your design in advance. "A tattoo is art. The canvas is your body. A bad tattoo can only make a person look trashy," says John Lloyd, owner of Raygun in Dana Point.

Too many people, laments Jackman, hastily choose a design without any thought to its personal significance. Down the road, "they end up blaming the tattooist instead of taking responsibility."

Lloyd says customers frequently ask him to select a design for them. "It's incredible. Most of the time I won't. It's not like you're at a carnival getting your face painted."

* To find an artist, ask around. Or, says Antoinette Dorst, of Huntington Beach, who has two tattoos: "If you see anyone who has beautiful work, get the artist's name."

* Don't be afraid to ask to see a tattoo artist's portfolio.

* Live with it. "Even with all the latest technologies to get rid of tattoos, you should consider it something that's not temporary," says Lloyd.

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