How to Choose a Tattoo Studio


In the past, choosing a studio to get tattooed at was fairly straight forward. You knew a guy, who knew a girl, who had a cousin that worked at a parlor. That was your in. But over the years things progressed, and then in 2020 the industry was turned on its head. More thought and consideration is now being put towards the decision making process, especially for those who plan on getting their very first work of body art. If you count yourself among the latter, you could certainly use some guidance. That’s what we’re here for.


5 Things to Look for When Choosing a Studio for Your Very First (or next) Tattoo in 2021-22 and Beyond



I. A Place That Puts The Client First

There is an antiquated and unspoken notion that unfortunately still persists throughout much of the tattoo industry. It’s that the tattooist comes first, and that if they have time they will fit you into their busy schedule. And while you have a concept in mind, they are the ones to make the ultimate decision. As a result, new clients often feel uncomfortable and unwanted from the moment of their very first consultation.


Let’s be clear about something. It’s supposed to be the other way around. Establishments must understand that it is a privilege to serve you. You are making an important persona-enhancing decision, and you deserve to be afforded the patience and support that is required to ensure that you end up with a tattoo that exceeds your expectations. But how are you to determine this? You can comb through Google and Facebook Reviews all day, but when it comes to this nuanced yet no-less important criteria – there’s really only one way to know what you’re getting into. Walk into the studio, and/or proceed with that first consultation. The way you are treated by reception on the phone or in-person will be very telling. That very first conversation with your prospective tattooist will also be extremely enlightening. If something feels wrong or “off”, then we encourage you to trust your instincts and go elsewhere. You owe them nothing.


A tattoo studio in 2021 should make you feel warm, welcome, and like family. This may be a revolutionary notion, but it’s the one to lead the industry into a better future.

II. A Studio Environment, Redefined

It’s curious that places that purport to provide clients with the highest quality of work look more like a mechanic shop or “greasy spoon” than a body art studio. This sort of thing may have been standard in the past, but in 2021-22 and beyond the public demands more.


A studio environment should reflect its quality of work. That means as much attention to detail should be afforded a tattoo shop as the tattoos themselves. The former most certainly reflects on the latter, no matter what traditionalists have to say about it. A tattoo studio of today and tomorrow is designed for function and aesthetics alike, not so much as a point of pride, but to provide clients with a space that is comfortable, breathable, and enjoyable to be within. After all, between conversations, consultations, sessions, and followups (as applicable) you will be spending hours in the studio. SOH has put a lot of thought and effort into the design of our downtown Vancouver studio, creating an upscale gallery-esque space that you actually want to be in. This goes a long way towards a positive tattoo experience.

III. Where Health and Safety Are a Top Priority

There’s no denying that the biggest shift to how the public views tattoo studios is with respect to health and safety. While it was always important, confidence in cleanliness and sanitization is now the first criteria for which studios will be compared against. Look to the COVID-19 Response Plan as an indicator for what you can expect in a studio environment, which will also reflect upon their business well after the health crisis is put into the rear view.


IV. A Diversity of Talents

Some tattoo studios specialize in certain themes and concepts. That’s fine, but it does limit your options. We encourage you to choose a studio that introduces diversity into their artist matrix. Does your desired design require the hands of someone who specializes in blackwork with neo-traditional influence? Perhaps simple, clean and minimalist lines? Does illustrative art inspired by animals, mysticism and nature sound appealing, or are you more into architectural-themes? Maybe neo-traditional Asian-style tattoos? You can see where we’re going with this. But not only do you want diversity in artistic talents, you want to see a mélange of personalities too, as only then will you find a tattooist that you will truly connect with.


V. Access to a Lifestyle

There is an entire culture around tattoos. And while this may be your first, you’re about to join a tribe of the tattooed. With it comes the freedom for even greater expression. Sometimes that means a second or third (or more) tattoo, but individual expression is also found with piercings and the body jewelry one chooses to convey their tastes and personality to friends, family, coworkers, and/or society as a whole. It is also found in the garments and accessories that adorn and ornament a person. To further actualize the “new you”, you should choose a tattoo studio that also provides access to premium body piercing services, and one that carries jewelry, clothing, and accessories that are unique to this lifestyle of ours, which you are now a part of.


How to choose a tattoo studio for the new and improved world? You’ve already found the one you’re looking for. Schedule a consultation at Sleight of Hand Tattoo studio in downtown Vancouver.

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Sleight of Hand

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