Mike Rubendall, artist/tattoo artist Kings Avenue Tattoo in New York and a contestant on Spike TV's
reality TV competition, "Ink Master," doesn't want you to end up with a bad tattoo. As he says wisely, "There is so much information out there...there is no reason in this day and age that someone should
get a bad tattoo." So if you're thinking about getting fresh ink in 2013, please start here. Your bicep can thank us later.
What should someone look for in a tattoo artist and tattoo shop?
When selecting a tattoo artist some things to look for are clean lines, solid color or shading and design strategy where their tattoos have just the right amount of detail that the tattoo is readable and will stand the test of time. The artist should specialize in the specific style of tattoo your looking to have done. There are many different tattoo artists and many different tattoo styles, be certain to look carefully at portfolios and choose the artist that suits you or inspires you enough to wear a piece of art from them for the rest of your life. As far as selecting a tattoo shop, first and foremost, it needs to be a clean and sterile environment. All equipment needs to be single service use only and unpackaged by the artist in front of the client in preparation for the tattoo. Be certain that the studio you select has the proper permits or licenses and board of health certificates in order to operate. Lastly, make sure it's a place you're comfortable in, it's a place in which you can see yourself getting something so permanent. Overall, it should be an outstanding experience and something that will always bring you positive memories.
What tips do you give to someone who wants their first tattoo?
Do your research, don't rush into it and choose wisely. There is so much information out there via the Internet, books, magazines,
videos, etc. that there is no reason in this day and age that someone should
get a bad tattoo.
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Is there a tattoo design you won't do?
I will never do the same design twice unless its a logo or a special circumstance. I will not duplicate someone else's tattoo. I will not tattoo something that is too small or too detailed. It's important that you always take into consideration the life of the tattoo. Typically, tattoo ink tends to migrate slowly under the skin to an extent. So you would want to make proper adjustments to the design so there is enough breathing room to allow the tattoo to maintain integrity. I'm also careful who I do hand and neck tattoos on. The truth of the matter is — and I hate to say it — but people do still judge tattoos and associate them to a negative stigma. So I don't feel right doing those tattoos on just anyone, I have to also feel comfortable with their choice.
Is there a tattoo you love to design?
It's so hard to answer that question because I really love what I do and love many different styles of designs. However, I've always been attracted to any type of Asian-influenced art, Japanese specifically. I really enjoy designing tattoos based around that culture.
How do you make sure someone is getting a tat they want forever?
That is only up to the person wearing the tattoo to know for sure. In my particular position I have an extensive waiting list to get a tattoo therefore the client really has no other choice than to really think about what they want to get and sit on their ideas for sometime. It's so important to be smart about it before starting the tattoo process
Any other advice you have?
The "there's always laser removal" excuse is a horrible state of mind going into a tattoo. I would suggest that if you really want a tattoo and believe in it, then never settle. It's for life. Every time you look at your tattoo, you will have a certain emotion that will last forever and it needs to be a positive one. Cost, waiting lists, destination of your artist should never be a factor in getting the tattoo you want. Be patient, think it through and you will be happier with the end result.