If I want some changes made to my finished design does that complicate things?
I work digitally, so changes such as resizing something or changing colour scheme for example are generally very easy to make.
We will have a very thorough consultation to avoid any design issues with your tattoo. We hash out all the details verbally and with references so no part of your design is second guessed during any part of the design process. But, I will reach out if I have any questions during. I will keep you involved as much as possible.
That all being said, trusting the process and artist’s experience will yield the best results. (Please review portfolio and feel confident about our work before inquiring)
Can I take anything for the pain? What about numbing cream?
Numbing cream is not as straightforward as it sounds. Many of the products out there change the surface of the skin to a spongy consistency making the tattoo process much more difficult, usually resulting in a terrible heal. Contact us for more info on numbing creams. Advil also works well and doesn’t interfere with the process. If you can do it without, that is best.
Is it worse during the menstrual cycle?
Often this is the case. I am happy to schedule around your cycle as best I can, if its a on a particularly bad day, this is a perfectly acceptable reason to postpone/reschedule.
Will you do cover ups?
Coverups are a pleasure to do and have yielded some of my favourite tattoos. I am always happy to look at what you have and discuss options.
Will you tattoo darker skin?
Will you do cultural imagery or cultural tattoos?
Short answer: cultural imagery…yes. Cultural tattoos…no.
This is an area I give a lot of thought too. Appropriation is rampant in tattooing and I see a lot of situations where it is problematic or I don’t feel comfortable or educated enough. Cultural imagery which is very common in tattooing such as Japanese folklore and Asian deities are fascinating, rich in narrative, and beautiful in imagery. Take Buddhism for example, it has become a spirituality/religion practiced around the world. It’s about what it means for you and isn’t about the actual tattoo practice of receiving that certain image from a monk or specific practitioner. Dragons, foo dogs, koi, Ganesh, etc…all have narratives and meanings developed outside of tattooing and have become common imagery in the industry. I am not looking to make my living off cultural imagery, but as tattooing is commission work, if it means something special to the wearer, and getting work by an artist who practices those same cultural beliefs is unrealistic due to location then I feel safe doing the research to honour the imagery and the clients wishes.
Cultural/traditional tattoo practices like Maori or Sak Yant from Thailand should not be, in my opinion, performed by anyone outside of that culture, especially for the sake of vanity. I don’t know enough about either of these practices or their cultural ties to do them justice.
How do you bandage the tattoo when it's finished?
Typically with hypafix. It is a term widely used in the medical community.
I have allergies, What products do you use during the tattoo?
We use Hustlebutter for the process (ingredients upon request) and Fusion ink. Distilled water, green soap and alcohol.
Do people faint?
On occasion. This is usually due to high anxiety or blood sugar crash from lack of eating. If you’re in the chair and feeling light-headed let me know, stay sitting. It passes quickly with some food and water.
What kind of equipment do you use?
I use a cartridge system. Each cartridge has a membrane which prevents the backflow of contaminated fluids and are single use. Keeping the process as clean as possible and in line with health board recommendations. If it’s not single use disposable, it goes into the autoclave for sterilization after every session. All surface barriers are biodegrade. Nearly the entire set up is made using biodegradable products made for the industry.
Are your inks vegan?
Yes, I use Fusion ink, it is all vegan and has been around for years used widely in the industry. I have been using it for over 6 years.
Are you environmental?
Yes!! This is near and dear to our heart, 99% of the set up of is biodegradable thanks to the good work of Canadian companies like GoodJudy and Northern Tattoo Supply.
I cannot make it to my appointment, can I give it to someone I know?
No, but you can cancel with the required 72 hours notice and I will fill the spot.
I emailed you but haven’t heard back?
What?! I’m so sorry. I usually reply within a week but if you haven’t heard anything, email again. I am a one person operation and sometimes things get read and I forget to reply.
I feel that tattoo studios have a reputation for not being very welcoming or inclusive spaces for minority peoples. How does your shop deal with this?
Having a safe space where all peoples are welcome and comfortable is paramount to us. If you have any concerns or questions feel free to reach out.
*If you are hateful towards people because of race, gender, culture, sexual preference or religion, you’re not welcome.*
Planning and Preparation
I’m interested in getting work from you. How do I begin the process?
Begin by completing the consult request form. Then Ray will contact you by email at his earliest convenience to arrange an in person consult (for out of town clients this can be done by other means). Consults are so we can meet in person, thoroughly discuss ideas, ask questions, take measurements, and go over references. Then, for a general idea of scale and placement, make a visual plan together that we both feel confident with. Once that is agreed on, the final design will be refined and rendered by the artist. Then dates will be booked for your appointments.
What time do you like to start?
10 am is my preferred time, please do not arrive any more than 5 minutes before that for your appointment.
I've never been tattooed before, what should I expect? Should I do anything before? Should I bring anything?
We do everything we can to keep you comfortable. Pillows, comfortable chair/bed etc. But, expect it to hurt. Pain varies person to person and its as much time getting tattooed as it is location. Eat well before, get a good sleep. No alcohol in excess the night before. Dress for comfort not fashion, come showered, and bring snack(s) and drink(s).
*For a full explanation of the tattoo process feel free to ask during your consultation.
I’m getting a tattoo in a place which might leave me exposed (ie chest, torso, back, thigh), how should I dress and is there a chance anyone will walk in on my appointment?
Dress in something that will allow for access to the area while still keeping you comfortable. With backs, a button up shirt backwards works well, a housecoat for large side projects. Discuss this with Ray during the consultation, he will surely have great input. No one will walk in on you, this is a private studio. Currently there is another artist on the same floor who understands and respects the process and privacy required and the spaces are separate and closed off to each other.
How much do you charge?
We charge an hourly rate of $160 (tax included) and a $20-30 set up fee.
Do you do custom work, and if so, do you charge for designs?
Our focus is on custom work, all shapes and sizes. We do not charge for designs, as it ranges from 2-12 hours on average, and it would not be financially feasible. However, if numerous changes are being requested throughout the design process, charges will be discussed.
I’m on a budget, but still want a large scale tattoo.
Since I charge hourly, we can simply book you a set amount of hours a month or every other month to work within your budget. Not a problem at all.
How should I heal my tattoos?
See the aftercare sheet.
My tattoo has a really big scab on it, I think it might be infected, how’d this happen and what should I do?
The reasons vary, but typically it hasn’t been cleaned/cared for properly. If its a large scab, be gentle with it they usually heal fine. If there is still seepage or puss a few days after the tattoo, contact me and we will look at it.
How should I take care of my tattoos once they are healed?
Sunscreen when in the sun, moisturizer if you want it to look nice and fresh.
What kind of soap and lotion should I use?
Non-scented. At the Well has a soap specifically manufactured and on hand for this purpose.