Know thy artist

With many questions about legitimacy and safety still lingering in the tattoo world, professional tattoo artist Andrew Triebel of Triebel Tattoos — working out of Buzz Bin in Dawson Creek, B.C. — breaks down the situation:

For every shop in any town, there are at least five hackers doing it in their basements, taking money from professionals and weighing down the health care system with staph infections and anaphylaxis. The health authorities are pretty much helpless (read: apathetic) to do anything about it. As it sits, it is not illegal to buy cheap equipment online and stab away at people, giving them infections and poor health advice, so long as they are not willing to testify in court against their “artist.” People have a tendency to protect these “kitchen magicians” even though a good bout of MRSA can leave you with a permanent, incurable and extremely contagious infection, or even worse.

The fact that there is no such thing as a licence is both scary and pathetic. All you need is a credit card and you’re rolling. Also pathetic is that even with a proper business, government regulation is so out of date. All they’re really concerned about is that you’re not reusing ink or eating in your tattoo room. I think the tattoo parlor guidelines were written in the ’70s for fuck’s sake. The reason it infuriates me so is that I keep myself educated each year by taking seminars at tattoo conventions and in turn am able to educate my health inspector in how to better identify red flags. A little backwards, no? Oh well, I keep my nose clean and my workspace even cleaner.

It’s important for people to realize that they should be asking more of their local parlor than they think. Just because someone has a storefront, it doesn’t mean they have a fucking clue.