Tattooing is an art and a craft and a service and a profession. In Oregon, it is regulated.
1) Advisory Council for Electrologists, Permanent Color Technicians and Tattoo Artists for Laws & Rules and Forms pertaining to the Tattoo Arts.
2) There is an Oregon Health Licensing Agency (OHLA) and they have lots of information about piercing and tattooing safety.
3) If you are thinking about getting a tattoo, approach the event as a smart consumer would approach the purchase and “consumption” of any other service, whether it is for health care, construction work, or artwork:
The Art and Craft of Tattoos:
1) When you get a tattoo, you are contracting for, or commissioning, artwork, so plan to do some homework. Since you will be deciding what the artwork will look like, which artist you want to “paint” the art, and where the artwork will be displayed, so to speak, you will want to talk to the artist(s) and to other people who have commissioned that artist(s)’ work.
2) Even if you see some of the artist’s work and you like it, make sure that artist still works in that style. Great, and not so great, artists change as they grow. (Don’t we all!)
3) If you’re new to the tattoo arts, it talk to people (who have tattoos) about the process (and the removal of tattoos). Ask about pain. Talk to someone you trust, not someone who you know wakes up every morning not sure what happened the night or day before. Ask about how long it takes to heal, and what type of care needs to be taken during healing (it can vary). Ask about tattoo artists’ hands-on styles. Does s/he have a heavy hand? Watch a tattoo artist at work!
4) The process of talking to tattoo artists and deciding on the artwork is interesting and fun. Why rush it? The design you thought you wanted at the beginning of your research may not be the one you still want after reading and talking to tattoo artists. (And, check out the tattoo books at your local library or bookstore.)