Buying a tattoo is like buying fine art. If you’ve never purchased fine art, no worries, that’s what we’re going to talk
about. There are some factors about buying a tattoo that are slightly different, we’ll get to those.
How does one define “fine art”? If you take some time to try and research this topic you’ll discover in this modern age that the line between fine arts and visual arts are becoming blurred. Art is a funny thing that way; it’s one of those professions where freedom of expression is still allowed, within certain limits. Therefore defining it is difficult and no one really wants to approach it. However in the interest of the fine art of tattoos we must.
Artists of all types to be any good at what they do must undergo some type of apprenticeship. Notice I said to be any good at what they do. Apprenticeship allows them to work for and learn techniques from a master of their art that you just can’t get from a book. It also demands a certain amount of hands on practice. I hate to use the cliché but, “Practice Makes Perfect”. You can get your tattoo from an amateur or a professional. This will affect the price.
What does your artist’s portfolio look like? Are they truly an artist? Can they design? Or do you want to buy a piece of flash off the wall and have it traced onto your body. This would be comparable to buying a print of the original art work.
Artists rarely negotiate their price. As a matter of fact it’s almost considered insulting. They have calculated the cost of their materials, the time it will take to create your design, and hopefully the years they’ve put in to developing their talent. You will be paying for that as well. However unlike some other art forms, tattoo artists do expect to be tipped. Other fine artists would look at you like you were crazy if you offered a tip. This is one of the exceptions referred to earlier.
Placement of your tattoo plays a big part in the pricing. It your choice of location is in a difficult to tattoo spot and frequent breaks are required due to pain or uncomfortable positioning for you or the artist you’re going to pay extra for this. In addition, certain parts of the body take ink better than other parts. Your artist may have to work extra hard, go extra deep, use more product, to get the desired results.
The size of your tattoo will affect the price. Many tattoo artists charge by the hour not by the tattoo. If you get a small tattoo that can be inked within an hour it will cost far less than an extensive piece of back work or an arm or leg sleeve requiring hours of work.
Size, Coloring and Placement and How they Affect How Much a Tattoo Will Cost You
Coloring will also affect the price of your tattoo. All of this is very time consuming if you’ve never had body art done. It really is no different than other fine art forms except it is your body that is the canvas for the medium. A true piece of fine art in say the oil on canvas medium takes many hours, days, weeks to complete, depending on the size.
Another factor to consider is how much tattooing can you and your artist take in one sitting. An advertisement in a well known entertainment town in Nevada, USA advertised they would tattoo you for up to twelve hours or for as long as you could stand it for a certain price; more than $750 and less than $1000.
Remember that body art is sometimes or maybe oftentimes a work in progress. You don’t have to have it completed all at once. If you do, get a small tattoo. If you don’t, pay for the sittings gradually, making continual appointments with the same artist.
Location of the artist is another factor that will affect the price of your tattoo. Some very well known artists set up shop in out of the way places and only take customers by referral. Others work in downtown, Las Vegas, Miami, Los Angeles and are well known simply because they have tattooed thousands of people.
So how much do tattoos cost and what will you be expected to pay? Depending on the artist, the geographical location and popularity of their shop, whether they are an amateur, apprentice or a master, the price will vary between $40 -$250 per hour.
Do some homework before you let someone create a masterpiece on your body. It doesn’t matter what design you’ve chosen you want it to be the best you can get, right? So ask questions, how long have you been doing this? Can I see your portfolio? Ask your friends who have awesome tattoos who their artist was and what they charged. In other words, get some references if you can. This is the same process any buyer would go through before buying fine art, including body art.