12-07-11-opinion-tattoo.jpgIt seems there has been quite a bit of interest in the topic of tattoos and tattoo studios. Let’s face it, in a military community there are certain industries that thrive, no matter in which part of the country you may reside. Tattooing is one of them. My fiancée Sarah and I are owners and tattoo artists of Hot Rod Tattoos in Fayetteville. We have read both articles recently featured in the Up and Coming Weekly, and would like to share our views and opinions with the community.

There are so many criteria to consider when choosing a tattoo studio and artist for your next tattoo. Yes, the studio being licensed, autoclave spore test results and clean atmosphere are important, but tattooing is a permanent procedure and consumers need to also be concerned with the artist’s experience. The tattooing laws in N.C. are very lenient compared to other states. Just as “E” of Cherry Blossom Studios quoted, “any idiot can buy a kit online and start jacking up his friends the next day with no idea about cross contamination or risk of infection”; any “idiot” can become a tattooist in N.C. An individual needs only to pay $250 annually for an artist permit and $1,000 annually for a privilege license. There is no state requirement for prior experience or specialized formal training in first aid or blood borne pathogens/cross contamination to become a tattoo artist or studio owner in this state. There is no requirement for artists to be vaccinated for Hepatitis A or B. Many of the above criteria are required for other occupations that pose a similar risk of contamination through bodily fluids. Some daycare and educational occupations require at least a formal first-aid certificate.

The state laws regarding tattooing need serious attention as they were put into effect back in 1994; or guidelines that supersede the N.C. State Statutes should be developed for the City of Fayetteville. There are nearly 30 tattoo studios that operate within the city limits, and clearly this is an industry that generates substantial revenue for the city through tattoo permits and studio licenses.

The process of creating stricter laws is lengthy and often is met with resistance. Until that happens, it is the responsibility for the sake of the tattoo industry, and public safety of the community, for all tattoo artists to hold themselves to a higher standard. There are tattoo artists in Fayetteville who actually care about the art of tattooing and hold the craft sacred. These tattoo artists will be proud to show off their portfolio and ensure you are educated about your entire experience.

As respected members of the Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce and members of the Military Affairs Council, Hot Rod Tattoos feels it is our duty to inform and educate the community about our industry. There are tattooists and there are tattoo artists, and there is a big difference between the two, i.e., the one who is out for your money and the one who has the heart for your interest, as well as our sacred craft.

Photo: Tattoo by Mike Kotlarek.

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