Invasive beauty treatment has come under the magnifying glass – procedures during which the skin is purposefully pierced. One of such procedures is tattooing, a process in which the observance of hygiene norms and artistic quality are equally important – with the created drawing on the skin a person will have to live a lifetime. Edgars Freimanis, the head of the Latvian Tattoo Society and Maksims Zotovs, the organizer of the Baltic Tattoo Convention, talk about the tendencies in the development of tattoo art and customer habits.
The stingy pays twice
Last year, every second inhabitant of Latvia used beauty care services, according to a survey conducted by SPKC last year. 13% of Latvians have admitted that they regularly use the opportunity to receive beauty services, including tattoos, “at home”. Apparently, this can save a lot, as professional salon services are expensive. However, tattooing in questionable conditions can lead to hepatitis B or C and other infectious diseases, which will be expensive and time-consuming to treat, and can be profoundly disappointing in terms of the expected aesthetic result.
Edgars Freimanis, the head of the Latvian Tattoo Society, has been running a tattoo parlor for 10 years. He says that over time, certain trends change, but the desire to live in a healthy society remains unchanged, and infectious diseases are certainly not what a person would like to get with a tattoo. Compliance with hygiene standards is a matter of industry reputation, as customers tend to attribute any unpleasant experience not to the individual case, but to the industry as a whole. That is why professional salons take great care to comply with hygiene requirements. Unfortunately, people’s desire to save at the expense of quality and safety is still relevant.
“Professional tattooing is not cheap, because disposable materials cost a lot of money, and the equipment is quite expensive. Offers to make it cheaper can have a detrimental effect on both the quality of the tattoo and the client’s health. The craziest thing I’ve heard is that three friends go for a tattoo and, to make it cheaper, all three make a tattoo with one needle. We have been approached by people in the salon from time to time who are worried about an incurable or inflamed tattoo – so the environment has not been clean enough or the instruments have not been properly sterilized. As a result, it also affects the quality of the tattoo during healing. Low-quality tattoos are corrected quite often by our masters, which has been encountered by every professional salon. A person has made it somewhere faster, cheaper, but it is twice as expensive, because the repair is much more complicated, and not every master undertakes it, ”warns Edgars Freimanis.
Different countries – similar problems
Maxim Zotov, a practicing tattoo artist with many years of work experience in Germany, organizer of international master classes and the Baltic Tattoo Convention, also agrees with Edgar: “Professional tattooing is more expensive, but there is a good reason for it. By choosing cheap tattoo services, the client can never be sure what origin and quality of ink and needles the master works with, and it is not possible to achieve the necessary hygiene at home, because individuals do not have access to the autoclave required to sterilize accessories. And the second factor, of course, is the sheer number of low-quality tattoos. The person comes to the studio, tells him the price, he is unhappy to leave, finds “cheap” and, most likely, will come back to fix the work. But it will be at least twice as expensive, and the quality originally planned will never be achieved – it will always remain a repaired unprofessional job. ”
Maksims admits that the situation in Latvia is still relatively good, but, for example, in Germany, where he works, 40% of clients come to change low-quality tattoos.
Maxim recalls that there are few masters in the world who really work professionally, maybe a few percent of all tattoo artists. Therefore, the master must be carefully selected not only for safety, but also for aesthetic results.
Contracts – both client and master insurance
As in any beauty salon, in the tattoo parlor the customer can quite easily make sure that the general conditions of hygiene and safety are observed. Edgar recommends looking at the general condition of the premises – the cleanliness of the floors and walls, the freshness of the air, and the conditions at the place where the procedure is performed, whether the protective equipment is properly applied, or the packages containing needles and handles are new and unopened. The master himself must be in clean clothes, groomed and observe the requirements of hygiene and safety during the procedure. The customer has the right to ask questions about the procedure to be performed, safety standards and the qualification of the master. Edgars points out that sometimes people have an allergic reaction to ink, so in legal salons you will have to fill out a questionnaire before the session, which should indicate the possible causes of allergies. It should also be taken into account that a master who has an important work ethic will hardly agree to make the first tattoo in a prominent place – on the neck or palms, because first he wants to make sure that the client does not have such allergic reactions. If this does not happen, there is reason to doubt the professionalism of the master.
Maxim, on the other hand, does not expect any questions from clients, he immediately tells about both the procedure and the tattoo care during healing and later, so that the work of art created on the skin does not fade and maintain its beautiful appearance. In his opinion, not talking to the client is unprofessional. Maksims also thinks that it would be time for Latvian tattoo parlors to take over the positive experience of other countries and enter into agreements with clients: “In Germany, we enter into three agreements with each client. With one customer, we entrust us with our personal data so that we can communicate if the need arises. With the other, the client confirms that he is fully aware of what and where he is doing. In the third contract, the client declares that he has no infectious diseases or other health problems that prevent him from getting a tattoo. It is a kind of insurance for both the client and the master, which allows to solve the problems in court. ”
However, the most important thing that both experts recommend before any tattoo is to find the right master. Look at his works, do not rely only on promises – if the master has not created complex drawings before, it is probably not possible for him.
It is worth investing time, consulting in several salons and finding a professional who will really turn the idea intended by the client into a work of art.
In fashion – individuality
The popularity of tattoos is only growing over the years due to both pop culture influences and reality shows. Today, even politicians tattoo without grief, and it is clear that this form of self-decoration has long since ceased to belong to certain subcultures.
Both Edgar and Maxim have noticed that currently the biggest risk group for “cheap” tattoos is young people under the age of 25, who have a huge desire to get a tattoo, do not have the means to afford the services of a professional salon, but lack the patience to wait. They like to tattoo something small “cheap” and immediately, often in a very visible place, and later, when the financial situation has stabilized, come to the salon to fix it. But until then, you have to live with a failed tattoo.
There are no pronounced fashion trends in tattooing, and each client has dreamed of their own work of art. Edgars says that the demand for Latvian articles, which was in vogue five years ago, has decreased considerably – if in the past such clients appeared once a week, now maybe three or four times a year. On the other hand, tattoos on the neck, palms and face are becoming more and more popular among young people.
Maksims admits that the culture of tattooing in Latvia is still at a very early stage. Therefore, he would like to welcome state support for the Baltic Tattoo Convention, a professional event that is also held in other countries, in order to get Latvia on the international tattoo art map as a place to find great masters.