Where to Get a Tattoo
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Where to Get a Tattoo
I am in the market for a tattoo artist. I typically look at
peoples tattoos i like and ask where they got them done, and
look up that artists other work. But, for some reason i keep
not liking the work the artists have posted online, and it
makes me think i shouldn't go to someones whom i don't like
they're online stuff, even if i liked something i saw in
person. Currently, i am looking for some to do a day of the
dead mask on my arm, and some cherry blossoms on my leg. (
could be different people) I like a subtle look, not so many
harsh lines for the flowers, and something with sharper
lines for the mask. Any one come to mind? thanks!
I love Jesse Tuesday at Tuesday Tattoo, in SF's Sunset
neighborhood. He did a full back piece on me several years
ago, and the experience was great. Totally unpretentious,
no attitude, amazing work, and made me feel completely at
home during our sessions. He is sometimes booked out over a
year in advance, but it was well worth the wait for me.
I've also heard and seen good things from the artists at
Temple Tattoo in Oakland (Jesse was with them before opening
his own shop). Best of luck! C
Check out www.divingswallow.com
I'm getting a botanical with cedre next week and feel that
her work is truly art! cassie
I'm looking for a great tattoo artist in the North Oakland area.
I don't mind paying a lot, but I just want to be confident that
the artist can do dainty, subtle work. Any ideas?
I can highly recommend the work of Leslie Mah. My husband, sister
and I are all decorated by her beautiful work. Please see her
Depends on if you're looking for ''dainty subtle'' line work,
shading and/or color... Check out Marie Wadman at divingswallow.com.
Or Amy Justen at sacredrosetattoo.com. Also, search on-line and look
at portfolios of artists' work to get a sense of their capabilities
and style. Have fun!
You want to check out Sonju Rattler @ Tattoo 13 on Telegraph at
51st, just across the street from Dona Tomas restaurant. He's an
amazing artist with years of experience & really gentle. He did
these beautiful flying mallards on my wife's leg. She'd been
dreaming of them for years & they are more than she hoped for. Has
also done a number of other folks I know, all for good.
I would recommend Temple Tattoo. They do great work and have done
several of my tattoos. I used to be a henna artist and so design
my own and they can be very intricate and large. Freddy Corbin, the
owner, has always been nothing but patient, precise and very
skilled. They are on 17th St. in downtown Oakland at Franklin.
All of the ladies at Sacred Rose tattoo on University Avenue are
absolutely FABULOUS. I highly, highly recommend Amy; you can check
out her artwork at http://www.sacredrosetattoo.com/artists/amy.
Browse the other artists as well, I think you'll love their work.
Also, if you're at all interested in going into San Francisco, Rox
at Braindrops tattoo on Hayes is also wonderful.
Jean at Sacred Rose Tattoo in Berkeley is great - check out her
She is really nice and not intimidating at all - she talks with you
about your ideas and makes the whole process really comfortable.
Sacred Rose is on University Ave in Berkeley.
I highly recommend Sonju (pronounced Sonnyou) Rattler to do highly
detailed and delicate tattoo work. He works out of Tattoo 13 on
Telegraph in the Temescal district. It's between 49th and 51st,
opposite Dona Tomas etc. He is a great artist, light-handed and
quick and a really cool guy. Tell him I sent you!
For vibrant, detailed flora, you want Marie Wadman, now at Diving Swallow
(divingswallow.com). Friendly and easy to work with, she's an amazing artist,
shading several large orchids on my back in record time. I still get big
compliments -- the colors (blue/purple/green/orange/gold) are still bright --
five years later. She also does black and grey work, as well as fauna.
Hi, I need a recommendation for a tattoo artist. I had one on the
east coast but have not found one since moving. I would like a place
that is clean and where they would not look at me sideways because I'm
a mom in my late 30's!! Thanks!
not too old for a tattoo
I highly recommend Diving Swallow in Oakland (on 14th between Alice &
Harrison). The artist who did my tattoo (my 40th birthday present to
myself) isn't there any more, but there are still four talented artists,
all women. Marie is your age or maybe a bit older with two kids, so I
wouldn't be concerned about someone ''looking at you sideways.'' Their
website is http://www.divingswallow.com/. Each artist has a gallery of
work samples online, so you can see if their style fits with what you are
I got my most recent tattoo at Temple Tattoo on 17th Street in the Uptown
area of Oakland. I am in my late 30's and felt completely comfortable in
the place. It's clean and very friendly. It was a great experience. I
think the artist that did my piece has left for Santa Cruz, but there are
other artists to choose from. When I get my next tattoo, I'll definitely
go back to Temple.
Karen Roze or Amy Justen www.sacredrosetattoo.com, on University Ave.
Berkeley. Both have been tattooing for many years and Karen is a mom in
*mom in my 40s*
Can anyone recommend a safe, clean tattoo studio where I can
get my first tattoo sometime this year? (I tried a couple of
places previously recommended and the wait lists are long or
the studios are closed!) I am new to that tattoo world and
would prefer a female artist.
Anne Williams at Black & Blue tattoo in the Mission in SF is fantastic. She's
done my 3 (2 fairly large) tattoos and 7 on my wife. If you want to see pics of
her work, you can look on the Black & Blue site or email me directly.
She's super patient, very laid back and a Mommy!
I just got my first tattoo for my 45th birthday and I went to Amy Justus at Sacred
Rose Tattoo on University Ave. in Berkeley, based on the recommendation of a
friend who also got her first tattoo with Amy. Amy's artwork is beautiful (she
studied fine arts), and she was great in my initial consultation including size,
placement, etc. She is super friendly and reassuring, and answered my many
questions. She also does her work in a private room which felt less
assemblyline-ish. There was about a 3 month wait, but she was worth it!
---Love my tattoo by Amy
Lin at AlphaOmega is great -- she has done tattoos for me and my
brothers, and we are all very pleased with her work.
Fairfield's kind of a drive, but I think it's worth it.
After many years, I still highly recommend Karen or Amy at
Sacred Rose on University Ave. in Berkeley. And I've recently
discovered Diving Swallow in Oakland! Visit several shops, look
at portfolios, be patient and go larger than you planned.
Does anyone know where to find Henna Tattoo Kits in the East
Bay? I've seen them on-line, but wanted to get one by the
Go to Berkeley, University Ave. You'll find them there.
You can buy Henna Tatto kits at the Art Store on Shattuck Ave. and Blake
Street in Berkeley.
I recently got a henna kit at the art store on Shattuck next to Funky Door
Yoga (between Parker and Blake). It was kind of pricey (~$20) but worked
well. I've heard there's a place on Telegraph near the UC campus that
sells them too, but I can't verify that.
I am seeking a tattoo artist that is very professional,
patient, clean and flawless. This will be my first tattoo and
I am quite nervous. Any recommendations would be helpful.
My husband has gotten tattoos from four different tattooists and highly recommends
Dan Simonson at Industrial Tattoo on Dwight (x Telegraph). He's the owner and
takes great pride in his work. He takes such great pride in his work that he won't
let people pick generic designs and offers his artistic services at no cost. Be
sure to check him out before settling on an artist.
I am also a repeat customer of Sacred Rose Tattoo, on University Ave. in
Berkeley. Clean high-ceilinged studio w/art gallery and wonderful experienced
artists. Have fun, remember to breathe!
It really depends on what you want to have tattooed. If you find someone who says
they can do anything, it may be true, however, it may not be a good tattoo. Do
your research.You must check out Seventh Son Tattoo in S.F.
(www.seventhsontattoo.com). Jason Kundell is not only an incredible artist (he's
done a beautiful full sleeve on me, so far-my back is next), he's also extremely
honest and knowledgeable. If he feels your design just won't look right in tattoo
form, he'll try to work with your concept or steer you in a better direction.
Also, if your idea is not his fortay (he does incredible Japanese and ''old
School''), he will refer you to someone who will do a great job at what you're
looking for. You can also google him. He's a new daddy, so if your a parent of a
new one, you'll also have fun sharing stories.At least give him a call, you won't
be disappointed (he books up a few months in advance, so patience is a good
an ecstatic Kundell client
I am looking for a recommendation for somewhere in the East Bay where I can get a small
tattoo! I am a first-timer and want to make sure I find a place that is CLEAN, reputable
and gentle (if that's possible when getting a tattoo)!
check out divingswallow.com
I got my first tattoo @ 35 so I didn't really want to be surrounded by more modified
than thou, 20 year olds blasting crappy music in a puddle full of ink. I wanted a
clean, pleasant environment so that I could be really be present for the experience. I
was lucky enough to find Chuck Eldridge at Tattoo Archive on San Pablo.
www.tattooarchive.com He's a nice guy, very knowledgeable about tattoos, and a great
artist. My second tattoo was by Pat Fish - I recommend her highly as well (but she's
in Santa Barbara) http://www.luckyfish.com.
Can anyone recommend a tattoo shop in the East Bay area? I am
looking for a shop that is safe, clean, and one that has a
friendly and artistic staff.
Diving Swallow in Oakland (14th St. at Alice;
www.divingswallow.com) came highly recommended on Yelp.com. I
haven't gotten to the inking yet, but worked out a design with
Roxx and have been really pleased with the process.
Getting my first
I have gotten wonderful work at Temple Tattoo in Oakland, from
Jason McAfee. Friends have gotten amazing work from Derek and
Jesse at the same shop. www.templeoakland.com -- Also, I am
planning to get a tattoo someday from Marie Wadman at Diving
Swallow tattoo in Oakland. www.divingswallow.com -- The only
drawback is that she has a long waitlist, six or more months --
but I guess that shows how popular her art is. I think you
best bet would be to check out each shop, look through the
artists' books, and go with your gut. Happy tattooing!
Sacred Rose (www.sacredrosetattoo.com) just relocated their (2nd)
shop to University Avenue. Sterile, safe, easy to work with.
Repeat SR Customer
My 20 month old son got some Dora temporary tattoos in a coloring
book and can't stop oohing and aahing. Where do I buy more? I
couldn't find any at Target, Longs, or Walgreens. I would prefer
small, cheap, and kid-focused (not interested in the ''navel''
tattoos I saw at Longs). Im even cool to get them on-line if you
have a good recommendation. Thanks!
Try online (bonus: no need to wait in line)... some good kid's
ones (and cheap!) at www.orientaltrading.com;
www.toyconnection.com; www.partypalooza.com (they have Dora
ones); and www.mygoodybag.com. Happy shopping!
Hannah's -- used kids clothing store at the top of Solano Ave --
has a whole rack of temporary tattoos.
Oriental Trading Company, through their catalog or website, has
a lot of options and good prices.
i found little booklets of tattoos at walden pond bookstore
(grand ave oakland, near the theater), in the back, near the kid
section. they were in a skinny wire spinning rack. they had bugs,
celtic, and other themes. i might have seen them at longs
rockridge, too. aha! found a booklet, by dover publications
(store.doverpublications.com), search for tattoos.
frogs, flowers, pirates, aliens, swamp creatures, dinosaurs,
...?the sistine chapel and mary cassatt??? scroll down and click
''more results'' to get to the next page.
there's also oriental trading company (www.orientaltrading.com),
a party supply catalog (tons of cheap goody bag stuff). search
tattoos: they have 160 choices, most in ''units'' of 6 dozen for $4.95
fake tattoo lover
Try orientaltrading.com. They have all the tattoos and stickers
that you could ever want. Also, if you sign up for their email
list, they'll send emails announcing specials (usually free
shipping or free shipping and 15-20% off if you spend $60 ). You
can also stock up on party favors there, and split an order with
your friends. Some of their things are better than others, but
they're pretty good about customer service for things that are
just too cheap for words, as long as you call them right away.
I've had good luck with their tattoos (my daughter is currently
sporting one that won't come off without a fight), and I had
tattoos for a birthday party activity and 72 tattoos disappeared
for 16 kids within 20 minutes...
I would love recommendations for a Tattoo artist in either
Berkeley area or SF. My first preference would be for a female
artist, but I could be open to a male artist who has what I would
call female energy, or softness to him.
As a ''Tattoo virgin'' this feels like a big initiation for me and
I am hoping to make it an enjoyable experience in all ways. I
know finding someone who is a good match for me will help ease my
I appreciate your suggestions.
Almost 40 and wanting a Special Tattoo
I wholeheartedly and enthusiastically recommend C.W. Eldridge
at Tattoo Archive on San Pablo in Berkeley. His Web site tells
all about him (www.tattooarchive.com). I got my first (and
only, so far...) tattoo from him last summer when I turned 40,
my gift to myself. He is warm, kind, gentle, knowledgeable, and
very, very good at what he does. He has been doing tattoos for
many years. He operates his own studio, he's the only one
there, and there is absolutely no ''attitude'' or anything like
that about him. I would never go anywhere else. I think there
are a couple other reviews for him on the BPN Web site. Feel
free to email me if you have other questions. My tattoo is on
my back, just below my shoulder blade, about a 3-inch butterfly
with some blades of grass. It's really beautiful! It took about
an hour and cost $100. I spent almost another hour with him the
week before looking at and refining my design, all time he
didn't charge me for. He has books full of designs to choose
from and can help you design something based on what he has or
completely from scratch. He can literally do anything. Have
fun, and congratulations!!
When my 60 year old Mom visited San Francisco, I took her to
Jerrys (in SF) to get her ''special'' tattoo. She wanted a
little red heart on the top of her foot (ouch). The people at
Jerrys are awesome and were totally patient with her (it really
did hurt in that spot). I've had 3 done there and my husband
has had 5 there. All have been GREAT experiences.
My partner loves Anne at Black & Blue Tattoo in San Francisco. Anne is a caring,
funny and talented woman who will make you feel at home. All the tattooists are
women at Black & Blue and I think you would feel nurtured in the experience.
Also, Anne is 43 so you should feel at home (age wise). What a great thing to do
celebrate your 40th!
381 Guerrero Street (at 16th)
San Francisco, CA 94103
Jason Storey at Picture Machine in SF, way out Geary. Jason has
done two of my tattoos and he is the greatest. Not only is he
extremely talented but he has no attitude, is really kind, and
will put you at ease. The fact is that like with many specialty
shops there can be some impatience with beginners at tattoo
shops. Jason is not like that. I have an NYC friend who plans
trips around being inked by Jason b/c the skills are so worth it.
Trust me, having one bad tattoo myself (from someone in LA)you
want to be careful!
I have two tattoos from Sacred Rose in San Francisco.
Check them out at their website www.sacredrosetattoo.com/home.html.
A woman, Karen Roze, owns the store and does tattoos. She is very
I love my tattoos...they are beautiful!
I highly reccomend Jason at FTW on Telegraph, one block north of
Alcatraz. He's extremely talented, and super rad.
I can enthusiastically recommend C.W. Eldridge at Tattoo Archives in
Berkeley - 2804 San Pablo Ave., 548-5895. I was also a tattoo virgin,
wanted something to commemorate my 50th birthday, and did a lot of
research before deciding on him. C.W. is very gentle, takes lots of time
to find out exactly what you want, and has a VERY CLEAN workplace.
He's easy-going, and really interesting to talk to as well. You'll have to
call for an appointment; you'll probably get a voicemail, and he'll return
I took a female friend along, because I was a little leery about the male
tattoo artist thing, and also for moral support, but everything turned out
great. There was minimal discomfort, and he was quick and
I'm working on my next design, and I'll definitely go back to C.W.
Does anyone know of a good henna tattoo person? Possibly for a party?
I highly recommend Neeta Sharma Phone: 209-251-9400 Email: neeta AT mehndidesigner.com
View Gallery: http://www.mehndidesigner.com She did a bridal shower I hosted and everyone loved it. She
easily did ''tattoos'' for about 17 people in 2 hrs.
Judi Morales-Gibson does henna tattoos and tattoo parties. She
did a wonderful party for our daughter several years ago. She was
located in Vallejo - it's possible that she has moved. Contact
her at: jmoralesgibson AT yahoo.com
Darcy at www.hennalounge.com. She just did my pregnant belly and it was beautiful, very delicate and detailed.
i reccomend Katya Madrid. i actually learned henna arts from her
(last spring) and have worked for her, but am hugely pregnant and
out of practice. she does beautiful work, she'll be doing my
belly soon, and has lots of experience doing parties (wedding and
check out her website
katya AT hennaglyph.com
Mehndi (henna tattoo) artist
I just hosted a bridal shower and had a wonderful mehndi artist
come and do henna tattoos. Neeta Sharma 209-251-9400
She charges $75/hr plus $25 for travel for a gig of 1 or 2 hrs
(no travel fee if it's longer)
She did 17 people easily in a two hour stretch and did lovely
work! I think she would be great to have at a birthday party for
teens or pre-teens (you have to be careful not to smear the henna
paste while it is drying so probably not great for younger kids).
My 10 yr old daughter wants to have her come to her next
birthday. You would have to get parents' permission, since the
''tattoos'' last 2-4 weeks...
I have a tattoo appointment next week at Temple in Oakland.
This isn't my first tattoo -- but it will definitley be my
biggest. I have three tattoos currently and each one was
relatively small (2''X3'') and black only. However, this time
I'm getting a fairly large (the majority of my upper back)
multi-colored tattoo and am getting nervous about the
pain/discomfort. Does anyone have experience getting large
tattoos and any options for making it go a little easier? Any
advice on how to ease the pain and make the whole time less
intimidating (because I've accepted I'm not really hip or cool
and tattoo artists make me insecure)? Thanks!!!
I usually only sit for 2 hours at a time, max. Sucking on hard candy
(lollipops so you don't choke!!) helps, and I found the upper
back/shoulder area to be the least painful actually, except near the
neck nerves)... Also, I have been tattooed by both male and female
artists whom I've researched and met prior to the work, and felt equally
comfortable with, though I suppose the women have been more supportive
of the pain-factor. Remember, your endorphines should kick in shortly
and the needling won't hurt as much through a longer process. Good luck,
first off, don't worry so much. you said you already have tatoos, it
won't be much different getting this one. i think the upper back is a
good spot, you'll be laying on your stomach, which'll make it easier to
relax. in my experience (i have 9) color isn't any more painful than
black work, it all depends how thick the lines are and how much filling
in solid is being done.
you might want to do something relaxing before you go in for your
appointment, and avoid coffee, since it'll be a longer process than your
do you know if your artist plans to do it all in one go? i was surprised
to find with my largest, most colorful tattoo that he did the black
outline one day then scheduled me to come back in
2 weeks for the color. so you may not be in the chair as long as you
hope this helps
ELA-Max (also known as LMX-4) is a topical anesthetic cream that is available over the counter. It would probably be great for getting a tattoo. We use it on our small daughter prior to (all too frequent) medical procedures.
Should I wait until I have completely weaned my son to get a new
tattoo? I've heard absolutely conflicting info from both the 'yes' and 'no'
stand points. Does anyone have solid info on risks involved???
It is my understanding (from my own tattoo artist) that it's not
a good idea to get tattoo'd while pregnant or breast feeding.
Although many tattoo artists are very sanitary and do wonderful
work, there is ALWAYS a risk of infection, adverse reaction to
ink, and well, things like Hep C or HIV (in the worst possible
cases). I don't want to freak anyone out about tattoos, as I'm
well tatt'd myself, but the truth is that tattoo's are an
invasive procedure, they are stressful, and here is -- no matter
how remotely -- the chance of the above mentioned problems, and
well, it just makes common sense that you'd wait.
I am looking for a henna artist to tattoo my growing belly. I'd prefer
someone willing to come to my home. Any recommendations are
greatly appreciated. Thanks,
Try hennabash AT comcast.net. I heard she's good, but Ive had no
personal experience... Good luck with everything!
Rachel Palacios is a wonderful artist!!! She's very kind & very
skilled in henna art. She's (literally) had 100s of clients on
henna body art & all have been quite impressed & satisfied with
her work. She's done a wonderful piece on my pregnant belly & I
was very honored that she commemorated my pregnancy with such
beauty. You can contact her at (510) 508-2263.
Do they even call them tattoo parlors anymore? Anyway, my
husband and I have decided to take the plunge and each
get a tattoo. I have one hole in each ear and he has no
peircings--we are presently pretty conservative so this is
new to us. Has anyone gotten a tattoo done at a clean,
reputable and non-intimidating place recently' How much
do they cost' (We are thinking max 2''x2'')
Please visit Chuck Eldridge at Tattoo Archives on San Pablo
Avenue in Berkeley. Chuck is a wonderfully friendly and down to
earth artist - absolutely NO attitude. His shop is filled with
great vintage ''flash'' (tattoo artwork), photographs, books -
anything to do with the art of tattooing. He is patient and will
do a closed (will close the shop) session if your work is in a
sensitive place or time consuming. Not many artists are willing
to close shop so he is a real treasure in this respect. He has
been tattooing for many years and is well respected in the
field. What you won't get is a busy shop with blasting music and
lots of attitude. Call him up and make an appointment to drop by
and chat - you won't regret it! (yes, he has worked on me - and
will again soon!)
one of the best tattoo shops in the bay area is located in
oakland/lake merritt area. it is called temple tattoo and is on
17th st/ franklin 510-451-6423. the people that work there are
very friendly, informative and with many years of experience.
they were just voted best in the bay. as far as price
goes...could range anywhere from $70 and up. all the artisits
have portfolios available for you to look at. good luck!!
Diversity in Walnut Creek (address, phone, email & web site are
listed below) is clean and not too intimidating for first-timers.
My husband and I are very pleased with the work at Diversity.
1419 N. Broadway
Walnut Creek, CA 94596
email AT diversitytattoo.com
Hi. I have gotten two tattoos at Tattoo Archive on San Pablo in
Berkeley. The first I got ten years ago and was very intimidated
by the whole idea of going into a tattoo parlor but I found the
tattoist at this shop professional and easy to deal with. His shop
is clean. He uses new needles, fresh dyes, etc...He has been in
the business for a very long time. I went back ten years later to
get another and also had a very good experience. Cost depends. My
latest tattoo which is an arm band cost about $200. I would be
glad to talk to you more about this if you like. By the way I am a
professional woman just so you know the kind of person who went to
You should go around to several shops/studios (''parlors'') and
look at the artists' portfolios. Also check out this link
under ''essentials'', a very informative site:
I found Fred Corbin's place in Oakland a bit too much of a scene
but he and his artists are do really nice work. Primal Urge and
Pacific Tattoo, both in S.F. have private rooms and are quieter.
Most tattooers call their workplace a shop or studio
nowadays, parlor is a bit dated. But anyway, there are lots of
great shops in the area. It's best to pick an artist you like
based on the style of work they do, which you can see in
their portfolios or by asking people with tattoos that you are
impressed with who the artist was. A shop in the East Bay
where you can't go wrong is Temple Tattoo in downtown
Oakland on 17th St. Check out Scott, Jason, Chris, Jesse
and Freddie. In the S.F., go to Tattoo City in North Beach
and see Jef or Tim. As for price, most shops have a
minimum of $50, so you'd be starting there. Remember that
you get what you pay for, so the really good artists aren't
cheap. But you'll be wearing it for the rest of your life, so why
not get the best. I don't know what to say about the
non-intimidating part except keep in mind that people who
are heavily tattooed appear to be intimidating even when
they're not. The shops I recommended are both very
friendly. Best of luck!
I would like to add a recommendation for a tattoo shop. I have
had some tattoos done by Karen Rose at Sacred Rose Tattoo on
Guerrero Street in SF. She does really excellent work, and of
course the shop is clean and professional. Karen is wonderful
at color, and my tattoos are beautiful and have 'weathered'
perfectly (the color stays bright, etc.) I don't know if you
have a very specific design in mind, but Karen is great at
developing the ideas I've had and making them better than I
could have imagined. A good artist can tell you what will
translate well as a tattoo and what won't. The number at the
shop is (415)552-5778. My sister just got her first tattoo
there and was thrilled, and many of my friends have worked with
Karen as well, all with gorgeous results. As for cost, Karen
can tell you more about that, but she is very reasonable and
with tattoos, like so many things, you get what you pay for.
Better to see a skilled professional than to end up with a
permanent bargain that you regret.
Please feel free to email me with more questions, and good
luck. This may not be your only tattoo: it can be addictive!
this page was last updated: Jul 8, 2012
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