This post is something a little different. We’ve talked a bit about supporting local shops and artists. Recently Viktoria Wood, shop owner at 212 Tattoo in Richmond, VA reached out asking if she could share something with you via this blog. What she sent over was the piece that follows; a piece that offers some personal and professional insight into getting tattooed and the value of tattoos as art both in a general and a personal sense.
Viktoria Wood of 212 Tattoo on Getting a Tattoo that Matters
Life is so volatile. Things that the community as a whole and individuals themselves love and hate fall in and out of the spotlight as though it’s nothing. It is interesting how tattooing juxtaposes itself against the dynamics of life, because tattoos are one of the few things that are forever. I work with people who have over fifty-seven years of experience in tattooing, and one of my favorite things to do is listen to them speak. The stories they have, their wisdom, and most of all their passion drags me in further and further. I would like to think that right now is a weird time in the world, but I don’t think that it has ever been any other way.
I write this for tattooers, for collectors, for enthusiasts, and even any person who has any inkling of interest in the world of tattooing at all. It is unfortunate sometimes that people lean towards the train of thought that it is not what you know, but who you know. Tattooing should never be trendy, because it’s not something that you can just take off when you tire of it. However, thanks to prime-time television programming and the wonderful world of the internet, it has become something of a status symbol. When I get tattooed I don’t think of the price; I don’t consider who is doing it beyond whether they are the right person for the exact thing that I want, and I don’t consider anyone’s reactions to my decisions. At some point, if you haven’t reached it yet, you realize that all of the superficial things are irrelevant and they will become forgettable after only a short period of time (relatively, I suppose.) Can you remember what your favorite thing was five years ago? I can’t.
Don’t Get A Tattoo for Anyone but You
The only tattoo that I have that I regret, I got from a friend. It looked terrible right after I got it, it looks terrible four years later, and I can’t do a single thing about it. It covers up the entire back of my thigh, and it’s pretty much impossible to cover or get it lasered off. I got caught up in thinking that I was getting something for nothing, and that it was going to change people’s opinions of me for the better. I got caught up in the cool kid contest. And I see that happening all around. There are so few people who are willing to stand up for what they believe in, and I can understand that, because it is hard. But as Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I am tired of it, so I am saying something. You should never get something done because it’s cool or trendy, or because your friend is pressuring you into it. All things fall in and out of fashion. When I talk to people about getting tattoos, I tell them to get something inherently beautiful to them. At its base, tattoos are art, and it should be visually appealing to you. The things that you find truly beautiful will likely stick with you for the rest of your life.
Find a Great Tattoo Artist and Get Something You Love
If you want to support tattooing itself, then take a stand and do it. Don’t just get tattooed by your friend, because it’s cheap or get some design because it’s what is in vogue. Don’t go in to get tattooed and get something that you may not want, because your artist thought they were too good to draw something up for your appointment. This is something that is going to be on your body forever, and I don’t know how to emphasize that any more to people. Do your research and find someone who cares about what they are doing. Those people exist, and they are filled with more passion than any other group of people that I have ever met in my life. You can’t afford to get the thing that you want? Save your money to be able to get what you want from the person you want. Cut out drinking, smoking, eat more cheaply, live less lavishly. It is going to be on you for the rest of your life, and any sacrifices that you make will be worth it in the long run.
Find that artist who paints all the time, who creates his own designs, not someone who just rips things off the internet and copies them off their iPad right before you come in. Find someone who will go through the process with you and help you make the best decisions for your skin. That tiny little detailed design that you think may be perfect for you at the moment may look awful in a year. You want a tattoo that looks like it could have been from the 40s? Get something that looks great now, because all ink ages and spreads. You think your friend is hooking you up with something cheap because they care about you and how it’s going to end up looking? Perhaps some people, but for the most part, they want to squeeze that small amount of money out of you and have something cool to post, filtered to the umpteenth degree, on their Instagram.
Think It Over, It’s Forever
Instant gratification should never be a consideration in something so permanent that will define how people look at you for the rest of your life. Save your money, do your research, and get something that you will never regret. Support people who have sacrificed and given their whole life to be able to make something beautiful for you.
Follow Viktoria and the rest of 212 Tattoo on Facebook for some rad art and updates.
Want More Good Tattoo Advice?
Find out how to find the best artist for your piece.
Learn how to care for your new tattoo.