Exploring Practitioners 1: Tattoo Artist – Reyna Corrales

My friend is a tattoo artist and I went over to his studio to find out more about the process. For obvious reasons, I was not able to try out the practice but could just observe.

Tools

• Illustration methods 
• Special stencil paper
• Tattoo machines
• Needles
• Ink
• Gloves

Worksite

The usual worksite for tattoo artists is at a tattoo studio. The studio that I went to had an artistic vibe, with lots of paintings and designs everywhere. Although the space did feel a bit stuffy and can get a bit intimidating with the loud buzzing sounds. When it came to tattooing, I found out that one of the critical factors is actually hygiene. It is important for both the environment and equipment used to be sterile.

Process

The process is quite straightforward. Once the customer has selected their tattoo design, the stencil will be printed on a special paper. This stencil will be transferred onto the skin, coming off as a blue-purple temporary ink.

Before the actual inking, the artist has to wear gloves and single-use needles are used as well. There are different types of needles which will be attached to the tattoo machine. Each needle has different functions ranging from lining, shading and colour packing. The ink is placed in little ink caps and there’s also vaseline to help moisture and allow the needle to slide along the skin much more easily.

Once the inking is done for several hours, the body part will be wrapped with some form of wrap/bandage to avoid any infection.

Thoughts

From an observer’s point of view, it might have looked simple for something so permanent on your skin. However, it required focus and consistency especially when you’re inking for hours. As for the tools, there are a wide variety but they are portable and may be used in different environments. However, hygiene might be an issue as behind the scenes, a lot of importance is placed in ensuring that the equipment used is clean and sterile.

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