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Choosing a tattooist

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The British Tattoo Artists Federation has a list of members on HERE.


Choosing an artist has two main factors—their artistic style and ability, and their safety. If you wish you can also choose on personality or because of a myriad of other reasons, but the top two should always be ability and safety.


Style/Ability—art is a subjective matter and what is good to one person may be rubbish to another. Look at your artist’s portfolio closely. Look at their style, the steadiness of the lines, the smoothness of the shading and check whether colours are solid, not patchy. Also check the portfolio is consistent—there are an increasing number of fraudulent individuals who take photos from other people’s online portfolios and claim them as their own, or even use photoshop to make their photos look better. Most tattoo artists have a style and if the portfolio swings wildly between styles or quality of the execution—beware. If you can check out someone’s work in real life, even better. The BTAF cannot vouch for its members artistic ability as it is a subjective matter.


Safety– all professional studios must, by law, be registered with the local council and get regularly inspected by Environmental Health Officers. Only choose a registered tattoo artist that works in a registered premises—you can check their certificates and if in doubt, you can also call your local council if you suspect they are fraudulent. Under the Freedom of Information Act your council is obliged to tell you who is registered and where.


Tattoo artists and studios  based in the United Kingdom must comply with all the standards set out in the  LOCAL GOVERNMENT (MISCELLANOUS PROVISIONS) ACT 1983 Chapter 30. This lays down the basic legal standards that any studio needs to meet, including being a registered person working from registered premises.


Local bye-laws also exist in each area and include provisions for:

· The cleanliness of the premises

· The cleanliness of the person

· Arrangements for sterilization of instruments, materials and equipment.

Typically these byelaws include the specifics laid down here.

In addition to these requirements, BTAF members also comply with their own set of standards which will be uploaded soon.


Never try to pierce or tattoo yourself or ask a friend to do it for you as it's extremely dangerous.


You should also be aware that using needles tattooing carries some of the following risks:

· infections – unclean needles can cause the spread of diseases such as hepatitis and HIV (the virus which causes AIDS). Poor aftercare can also pose a risk so follow your tattooists instructions carefully.

· allergic reactions – some people can have allergic reactions to tattoo ink or aftercare products

· bleeding – some parts of the body may bleed more than others

· swelling & bruising – swelling can occur after tattooing, again some body areas and some people are more prone to this


It should be stressed that getting a tattoo IS SAFE

as long as it is done by a