After you make the decision to get a tattoo, there’s only one thing harder than figuring out what you want to get—and that’s who you want to create it for you. How do you know who’s good and who can do what you’re looking to do? A few of the guys at Hart & Huntington Orlando have some advice to help you choose the right artist for you.

It’s all about the work. 

Jimmy Rogers says not to focus so much on personality, but on the artist’s work itself. 

The problem with some artists is that they are more focused on their image than they are on what their clients want. The more humble the person the more real they are to the art. So when the artist makes it all about the client, that’s when you leave happy.

The more humble the person the more real they are to the art.

So what about the work? Jimmy adds:

Look for artists who have the ability to achieve a large scale project because they are more complicated. It shows they really know what they’re doing.

Mark Fernandez suggests how you should look at the artist’s portfolio.

Look for the core stuff, such as bold saturation in color and quality of the line work. 

Issac Bills believes in versatility.

Are they a good technical artist? Can they do a quality tattoo in any style? If you’re looking for a certain style, you should find an artist with examples of the kind of work you want.

But then there’s the vibe.

While big ego isn't recommended, vibe plays a big role in the experience itself. Mark sees value in the artist/client connection. 

The persona that you provide your client should be universal. You don’t have to be the best artist. You have to be the most friendly, the most universal. We need to make clients feel good about what’s going to happen. So when you’re choosing, you want to have that connection with your artist. 

Issac adds, 

You want someone that’s going to listen to you—listen to your ideas and respect them. A good tattoo artist has to direct the client as well as honor their original idea.

A good tattoo artist has to direct the client as well as honor their original idea.
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Isaac applies a tattoo to a client’s forearm.

But don’t be an art director, warns Mark.

When you're being advised on something by a tattooer, listen. Keep an open mind and be open to the possibility of your tattoo being better than you thought.

Here’s one last, less obvious piece of advice from Jimmy:

Don’t get a tattoo by a person that isn’t covered in tattoos. They can’t understand how to care for you and your piece because they don’t understand how it feels. 

And listen, we’re never shy about plugging our own shop. We’re proud of the work we do and the artists who represent us. Mark drives that point home, perfectly. 

I can’t help but believe in Hart & Huntington and the quality of our work. All of us are very solid tattooers. There’s not one hand in H&H that I wouldn't get a tattoo from. 

If the artists trust each other, well, that’s something. 

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Mark applies a tattoo to a client’s wrist.

Keep an open mind and be open to the possibility of your tattoo being better than you thought.