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Ask the Artist: Nick Colella Answers a Reader's Questions


Music + whiskey + tattoos= me

Good day to all of you (I started to write "morning" but then figured you may be reading this at another hour of the day and I didn't want you to feel left out). On Tuesday I told you to send in your questions for tattoo artist, Nick Colella, to answer questions you may have about tattoos. The questions can be about the process, design, aftercare - you name it, he'll try to answer it.

Fresh Ink reader, Kristen, wrote in with two really great questions (Nick's answers in italics):

First, how much is a good tip?  If an artist does a good job, I'd like to let them know it and not come off like a cheap-skate.

Tipping is customary in tattooing, yet many people either don't know to tip or just aren't accustomed to it.  Since it is a service business we recommend treating it like you would at a hair salon or when you go to a restaurant. The tattooers as a rule work on commission-based pay so any extra is very much appreciated. **

My second question is about ink colors on darker skin.  I know that as a person of color, my options are limited, but do you have any suggestions or alternatives to the standard black, red, and green?

Dark skin is something I personally have not had any issues tattooing, but there are some things that should be considered before you choose your colors.  Tattoo pigment is transparent so it will take in the color of your skin before it shows that's why colors show brighter on light skin as opposed to dark.  You are not limited to the standard red, green, and yellow just realize that the lighter colors and colors with a lot of white in them, such as pink or light yellows, will have problems showing clearly.

I hope these helped answer your questions Kristen! Also, where I put the  ** I'd like to make a note. Keep in mind that when you go to a shop, you are getting something permanent, so the work these artists do will make a much more lasting impression than the surf and turf your waiter served you (let's hope so at least). Everyone's budgets are different so I know that Nick and I would never tell you to go beyond your means. But, if you've got money to say thanks for a job well done to your artist, it will most certainly be appreciated.

Please feel free to send in more questions for Nick - and I have a feeling my boy Sarvas would answer any piercing questions  you might have too. thatssochubby (at) gmail (dot) com



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