ornate line

I've been watching TLC's new show, LA-Ink with the sensational Kat Von D, and it's provoked me to finally take the plunge on something I've been mulling over for years - to get inked! And I need some help and advice from you YBNBY readers.

Firstly I'm looking for some recommendations on the best tattoo artist in the NY/NJ area. I found a thread on Metafilter that asked the same question, although I have to say I wasn't overly blown away by the responses. I also found a link to Mario Barth who runs Tattoo shops in NJ, and while his portfolio looks amazing, he claims to have a waiting list of over a year, and I'd like to move on this a bit quicker.

So - have any of you got tattoos in the NYC area? Did you have good or bad experiences to share? Photos? Let us know and I'll chart my research here. I also have some upcoming trips to SF and LA, so those cities are possibilities too.

The other advice I need is subject matter. I'm looking at getting a fairly detailed large one - either a quarter or even half sleeve, from my shoulder down across my (meagre) bicep, and two subject matters are close to my heart. Firstly - comic book heroes, and I'm thinking that an Alex Ross style rendered Superman might look good. But I'm also leaning heavily to the idea of a vintage pinup girl, either after Elvgren or Vargas. So I'd love some input on imagery. And if there are any tattoo artists out there that want to pitch me, go right ahead.

Clearly what the image is and which artist I go to go hand-in-hand, so all thoughts appreciated. I'll document the research here on YBNBY, and finally post pictures and/or even video of the final tattooing here on the site for your enjoyment.

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Man you should get a tattoo of an ostrich with his mouth open.

said goosedreams on September 8, 2007 1:05 AM.

DON'T DO IT!!!!!!!

said peach on September 8, 2007 10:40 AM.

tattoos are generally stupid, and the people on this show are empty-headed morons. the girl in your photo looks so asinine. if i got a girl's shirt off and saw a lot of ink i'd put it back on and send her home.

said edhead on September 8, 2007 11:23 AM.

That's a load of crap. If you would send a girl home just because of tatoos then you need to consider lowering your standards. I mean, it's not premarital sex if your not going to marry her.

said sagevahi on September 8, 2007 1:12 PM.

edhead: yeah like i believe you get so much trim you can afford to kick the pity fucks out of your bed.

said repenttokyo on September 8, 2007 1:13 PM.

Dude, this is a joke, right?

said Jellio on September 8, 2007 2:06 PM.

No, no joke. I'm 43 years of age, it's about time I did something stupid. Oh and Edhead, it's been so long since anyone (apart from my wife) really gave a damn what I looked like when I take my shirt off, it doesn't matter much one way or another :)

said Scaramouch on September 8, 2007 2:09 PM.

I suggest you take a 90 day cooling off period to give this some additional thought.

Let's forget about subject matter for a moment. Most tattoos look like crap after 5 years. The bright colors fade and the detail is blured. A couple of weeks ago, I ran into a girlfriend that I hadn't seen in five or six years. Her once-great tattoo looked horrible. If you are going to go through this, ignore all tattoos under five years old. Ask everybody you can to show you their old tattoos - it will make an impact on you.

Subject matter is difficult, as well. It has to be timeless. Other than military service or celebrating the life of a departed loved one, what subject matter stands the test of time? I think about all the folks that got tattoos during their punk rock days, or even worse, their AC/DC days. You might no give a damn about comics or whatever else you are considering in five years. Or, the person you are with in five year may not give a damn about the subject matter or think the subject matter is silly. Normally, I wouldn't care what someone thinks of me, but things are a bit different in a relationship.

Believe it or not, there are people that think tattoos are relationship deal-breakers. And, and, and THEY ARE NOT shallow people. Some amazing people think tattoos are horrible means to express yourself. And, are you really expressing yourself or just displaying the art of a stranger that may or may not continue to interest you.

I am not anti-tattoo. However, I have only found 1 in 1000 or more attractive in any way.

Good luck, take a time out period.

said Sean on September 8, 2007 6:48 PM.

I can't give you any advice on shops in the city, but I know of a couple in Jersey that are good. Shotsie's in Wayne always had a great reputation. Shotsie himself no longer runs the shop (he moved out west) but the artists that are still there are pretty good. Scotty Lowe does amazing portraits.

I've also heard some good things about Powerhouse Tattoo in Montclair. The place is owned by a WFMU DJ. And actually I'm going to check them out for my next piece.

Both these places have galleries online (just turn your speakers down when you go to Shotsie's web site). Good luck. Oh, and whatever you do, don't get anything from one of Mario's shops unless you get it from Mario himself. I had a bad experience with one of his "artists". Thankfully someone at Shotsie's was able to make it all better.

said Jen on September 9, 2007 3:01 AM.

Awesome idea! Now after you get the tat, style your hair in a mohawk, grow a goatee, turn up the collar on your shirt, wear Crocs, buy some extra large aviator glasses and sit in Union Square park for a while, drinking a Jamba Juice, until regret sets in.

said Kickstand on September 9, 2007 10:24 AM.

Why don't you get a tat of Connie the YBNBY mascot? That one shouldn't cost you much.

said Evil Richard on September 9, 2007 10:28 AM.

O.K. -you are 43 and want to do something stupid. Why not just have them tattoo I AM A TOTAL MORON tattooed across your forehead and be done with it.

said peach on September 9, 2007 11:03 AM.

My grandmother is 74 and she's getting a tattoo. I don't think it's that stupid and I say if you want to express yourself that way, go for it and don't listen to anyone who tells you otherwise!

said psugal on September 9, 2007 11:18 PM.

I got my first one at 16 and I still have no regrets. It means as much to me as the 4th one I got last year at 33. I avoid names because except for your parents or children you never know what may change. I thought about getting my childrens names but somehow I don't think when my boys are like 17 they are going to think it's cool that mom has their names tattooed on her. I say go for it. You only live once. I think a tat is a work of art that even as it ages can still be beautiful.

said Ginger on September 10, 2007 10:35 AM.

I say go with the Superman Tattoo, I figure the worst thing that can result from it, is that your mom gets mad and sends you to bed without dessert a few nights in a row you fucking Pansy!!!!

said Deesnuts on September 10, 2007 2:04 PM.

anyone out there who meets someone who considers tattooe's to be a "relationship breaker", well, that's not love then, is it?

said repenttokyo on September 10, 2007 7:12 PM.
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