What Am I Getting Tattoo’d?

No Trendy Tattoos, Originality is Key

Trendy tattoos are cool one moment and not so cool two to three years down the line. Cliché tattoos like the musical clef, the love heart, dagger, teardrops, crosses, and eagles may look good when they are fresh but you will quickly tire of seeing them and develop tattoo regret. Remember, getting ink on is cheaper than getting it off. A $300 tattoo can easily cost you $1500 to remove. 

Originality is the key to getting a tattoo you will love for the rest of your life and always look on with satisfaction. That tattoo you put on when you are 25 will still feel amazing when you are 55. But originality is lost on many people because they don’t take the time to properly come up with a design that is long-lasting and memorable. How do you come up with an amazingly original tattoo?

Why do you need to get inked?

This would be the first question. Are you getting a tattoo because your friend has one like it and look awesome? Do you want to wear it to commemorate something or someone special? Are you doing it for the sake of it? Have a good motive that will sound reasonable 10 years on from now. Avoid short-lived motives that you may not be sure of, for example, new love interests.

What kind of design would suit your needs?

There are thousands of ready-made designs on Google, Pinterest, and Instagram. Which of them come close to your motive? Pinterest is especially good at showing tattoo designs of the same interests. If you are into mythical tattoos, for example, simply type ‘mythical tattoos.’ You can then drill down the results to what you want.


If what you see does not impress you, customize on what is available. You can take a phoenix, for example, and give it a dragon’s head to come up with your own unique mythical beast. Talk to your tattoo artist and let him put the idea to paper. If he can’t get what you want, set up an appointment with a graphics designer. Outline your ideas and let him come up with two or three stencils for your tattoo artist. 

Get some opinions 

Although you are the one to wear the ink, getting a few opinions will give you a good insight on what people will think when they see the tattoo. It is your self-expression but why get one if it does not impress?

An original tattoo will always be fresh in your eyes. You will always be proud of the design you put on be it twenty or fifty years down the line. 

Tipping your Tattoo Artist

Here’s a Tip for You

You tip the waiter after good service at a restaurant, or the barber after a haircut you feel good about. Why would you not tip the guy who puts your amazing art on your skin? Let’s say your restaurant tipping starts at about 15%, 20% when you’re feeling at ease in the world, with adjustments up for above-average experiences and down when things go wrong. Sound about right?

So here’s the baseline: at the end of the session are you happy? Excited for more ink? Looking like a boss and feeling 10 feet tall? Since you know the answer to any or all of those questions is not just “yes” but “oh hell yes” with a side of AreYouEffingKiddingOfCourse, here’s the best piece of advice about tipping your tattooer: plan on it. As in, seriously, plan on it and bake it into your planned spend. That way you know when you sit for your appointment that there will be no need to feel weird about not tipping or to stress about making excuses or mumbling “catch you next time.”

How much?

Leaving a gratuity, as tipping is formally known, is by nature subjective: you decide what’s right. Generally, 15-30% is average. When to tip is also on you: You may decide to tip per sitting or after a large piece is finished. Let your artist know however you decide to do it. You’re letting someone permanently beautify you by putting needle to skin, so it’s not a relationship based on subtleties and guesswork. Man up or woman up and bring it up with your artist.

Cash only?

Money talks, but who doesn’t like surprises? So if you feel like augmenting your tip with a gift, go for it. But don’t think a personal present takes the place of a cash thank-you.

There’s a corollary to the clichéd-but-true You get what you pay for. Think about it. Do you even want a tattoo that’s not worth tipping for…?


How to Pick the Right Tattoo Artist

How to Pick the Right Tattoo Artist

When you talk to people who have come down with a case of “tattoo regret,” you’ll often find that the worst mistake they made was the first mistake they made – choosing the wrong tattoo artist.

A professional tattooist who is a good fit for you will dissuade you from getting an unsuitable design: He’ll do the right design in the right way and offer good tattoo aftercare advice to ensure your ink lasts and looks great.

So, how would you go about picking the right tattoo artist?

Get good referrals

Is there a relative or friend with an awesome tattoo? Ask them where they got it. If the tattoo has some years behind it and still looks good, you are looking at professional work. What was their experience with the tattoo artist like? What was their impression on the professionalism of the tattoo artist? There is no better advertising than word-of-mouth. If the tattoo looks good, and the person wearing it says the tattoo artist was great, you have a good lead.

Look at online reviews 

What does a prospective artist’s social media presence look like? Are there lots of positive comments on good work? A good tattoo artist will not be shy to show off satisfied customers.

There are several online review sites where you can see what people think about a tattoo artist. If he is good enough, he should have a few positive mentions. Are there negative reviews? Go further and ask the reviewer why they think that tattoo artist deserves the negative comments. Several negative reviews are a clear red flag on a tattoo artist.

Inspect the portfolio

Check the work! Tattoo artists develop their skills and specialize in different styles. Some are good in western and European style tattoos. Some are good in Japanese and oriental tattoos. Some are masters of all styles. Some shouldn’t be allowed out in public. Look at the portfolio and see if the tattoo artist has the skill in doing the design you want.

Inspect the tattoo studio

You can tell a lot by visiting a tattoo studio, talking to the tattoo artist and seeing him at work. Any professional tattoo artist will be willing to talk to you about your designs and concerns. Is the tattoo artist rude or friendly? Does the shop look neat and organized? A dirty looking tattoo studio is a no-no. 

Trust your gut

You’ve asked around, done you online research, looked at a book and seen the studio in person. Now it’s time to check your gut. Is the artists someone you trust? Someone whose work you admire? Someone you want to spend time with…injecting your skin with ink? If you can check all those boxes, you’ve made the right choice!


Happy Halloween!

Our friends over at USF St Petersburg’s Connect wrote up a great  article on Black Amethyst Tattoo Gallery that we wanted to share.

Friday the 13th is well known for being unlucky, but Black Amethyst Tattoo Gallery owner J. Michael Taylor was satisfied with his turnout considering this year was his first year participating in the $13 tattoo trend. Taylor’s shop will have been open for three years this coming January. He and another artist, Jeremy Hulett, are usually so booked that finding the time to squeeze in Friday the 13th tattoos isn’t entirely possible. However, this year they allowed the superstitious holiday to be a day where their apprentice Todd could step in and help.

“It’s a good experience for people to get an understanding of what tattooing is kind of like, and it gives him the experience to actually work on real clients,” Taylor said. With eight clients booked for Friday the 13th tattoos, Todd was able to put his months of training into action. “Tattooing is more difficult than you think,” Taylor said.

Despite having drawn up pages of flash designs for clients to choose from, Taylor was willing to personalize, but wasn’t willing to say yes to everything. “I’ve had some crazy requests,” Taylor said. “I don’t do everything, especially when people want bad mistakes, or premature mistakes that they don’t realize 20 years down the road they’re still going to have to be dealing with this.”

Taylor, who has been tattooing for 11 years, eight of them in St. Petersburg, wanted more than just a tattoo parlor. After working at another tattoo shop in town, he decided he wanted to start his own business. “I wanted to open up a tattoo shop my mom could come and get tattooed at. Something comfortable, clean and nice,” Taylor said. A collection of apparel and jewelry are sold in the shop as well as various art pieces.


For such a luckless day, Taylor and his team at Black Amethyst are positive about finding their niche in St. Pete and turning out creative work always, but especially for Friday the 13th.

Black Amethyst Tattoo Gallery is located at 689 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N. Unit A, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. For more information visit Black Amethyst Tattoo Gallery’s website at

Written by: Ambria Whalum at USF St. Petersburg’s Connect


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