Michigan Daily - Friday, April 8, 20C
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it art? Tattoos and piercings, which were once ritualistic traditions in many
emselves from the public. But nowadays, it seems that the only true way to be
y art and piercing is budding with increasing momentum and shows no signs
Ann Arbor tattoo artist Greg Phipps of
Tattoo Paradise has been getting inked
since his teenage years and doesn't plan
to stop until he's six feet under. After
designing tattoos for friends - and not
getting paid - Phipps finally decided
to step behind the needle, rather than in
front of it. Five years later, he now he
owns two successful studios and has 39
tattoos, totaling around 270 hours worth
Society is quick to judge the abstract
with only a brief catch of the eye, evok-
ing certain stereotypes with every glimpse
of a tattoo-covered arm or facial piercing.
"I don't care," Phipps said. "My opinion is
mind over matter. I don't mind, because to
me, it doesn't matter."
Phipps is not alone in his passion for
body art. LSA senior Erin Bloodworth has
16 piercings, one of which was done by
Phipps. "I've been rejected from a few jobs
very obviously because of my piercings,"
Bloodworth said. "I don't regret getting any
of my piercings, but I do regret taking one
out. I sometimes miss it."
B efore deciding, tnose reaay to go
under the needle need to learn
the basics. Being sure to avoid
the infamous customer blunder of ask-
ing, "Does it hurt?" clients should also
educate themselves on the procedures.
And according to Phipps, there is no
accurate way to predict an individual's
"You've got to realize a piercing
doesn't hurt that bad. Don't come in act-
ing like a three year-old," he said.
Because a skilled and trained artist
is performing this strictly do-not-do-it-
yourself process, potential customers
should be ready to pay a handsome sum.
Most studios, including Tattoo Paradise,
have a minimum fee for any tattoo.
Even those no bigger than a quarter
aies ana location.
"Ignorance is more expensive than
education," Phipps said. Every word
that comes out of the artist's mouth
should be followed exactly. Half of the
responsibility is yours. The vast major-
ity of the infections or immediate fad-
ing of tattoos is caused by the customer,
not the artist.
"Customers always blame the artist,
when just about every time, it's their
fault," Phipps said.
A tattoo must be constantly hydrat-
ed with ointment to keep the scab from
removing color when it heals. Many
customers return with an infection
when they failed to follow the precise
procedures directed by the artist.
"I get my equipment tested once a
month by an outside source to make
sure it's all sterilizing properly, so I
know my equipment is not at fault,"
Misconceptions about piercings and
tattoos are constantly being passed on
from friend to friend, and, depending
on how false the information is, some
of these can be detrimental to the art-
work and your health.
part of tne
constantly in yo
ing process, the
which can caus
may lead to infe
are going to have around
attached because of the
and the need to ensure
safety. Needles are nev
must be steam cleaned
called autoclaving to he
a temperature at which1
survive. Add in gloves, c
als, ink or jewelry, and
with minimal profit. Pie
anywhere from $30 upt
the body part, while the
can reach up to several1
depending on size, nu
time involved, number c
$50 price tag
t of supplies
ng a process
the metal to
needle, which is hollow and razor sharp
will cause drastically less scar tissue
because of the clean incision.
Another very common mistake is
failing to wait six to eight weeks before
changing your jewelry. The skin cells
forming on the inside of the hole are
very sensitive during the healing pro-
cess and dragging a threaded piece of
jewelry through the hole is much like
taking a cheese grater to your forearm.
Phipps had more advice to those
ready to make a pseudo-permanent
change: Be cautious when going to an
artist with who you are unfamiliar and
make sure they show you that every-
thing has been sterilized. Any artist that
doesn't talk to you about the procedure,
and doesn't explain how the equipment
was cleaned isn't worth your time.
Whether it's the hours of being
punctured by the incessant reciproca-
tion of small groups of tattoo needles
or the quick rush of being sliced into
by a hollow piercing needle, every-
one has their art.
Paint cracks, pencil
smears, but real ink
)ercing, even for your ear-
6ing stud is a blunt, pointed
is brutally forced through
causes excessive trauma to