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Why Quality Tattoos Cost So Much 2023


This quality mandala tattoo was done by Christina.
art by Christina Walker

Quality costs money. If there is one industry that the term “you get what you pay for” plays perfectly to, it’s the tattoo industry. You quite literally get what you pay for.

If you walk into some back-alley scratcher shop, who’s only employee is the owner, and all tattoos are $50, you are going to get a $50 tattoo, and it will be rushed. This person wants to get you in and out as quickly as possible to maximize his profits. He gives a total of zero thought about you and the tattoo you want. You are just a quick buck to him, nothing more. He’s probably had no artistic training and never went through with an apprenticeship. He will use low quality inks, cheap $80 tattoo machines, cheap needles and so forth. This person is not a professional tattoo artist.

That may all sound harsh, and some out there may take offense (because it describes them perfectly), but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s going to be true in most cases with very little exception. Scratcher tattooists vs professional tattoo artists are like comparing a mall security guard to a SWAT team captain. Harsh, but still true.

When you make the wise choice to get your tattoo done by a real artist, you are paying not only for the tattoo application, but also the time the artist spends outside of the studio creating your unique art. You are paying for their talent and skill. Tattoo artists spend years perfecting their craft, and are always looking for ways to get better.

They’re much like professional musicians in this manner. Keith Richards has been playing guitar since the dawn of time, and he talks about how he’s still honing his craft. This is the indication that you have a professional that is serious about what they do, and that they care enough about the happiness of their client that they still invest in themselves and their own education.

A quality tattoo studio not only has great talent to help you get the tattoo you want, but they also spend extra money on top quality tattoo machines ($700+), the best needles, the best quality of inks, and so on. Their equipment is an investment in their art, and your tattoo is an investment in you. When it comes to getting something done permanent, you are worth that investment. Skimp on lunch, not your tattoo.

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