TATTOO PARTIES and Events
What are tattoo parties?
Tattoo parties are parties someone has at their home with a tattoo artist present to perform tattoos on guests. The host gets a free or discounted tattoo for having the party.
Other versions of tattoo parties may include just one or two people getting a tattoo at home or at the tattoo artist’s house.
Another is a public or private event that has a tattoo artist set up and available to perform tattoos on people attending the event.
Before the end of 1999, when tattooing was illegal in MA, tattoo artists had no choice but to work at tattoo parties. It was the only way for tattoo artists to make a living and for people who wanted to get a tattoo to be able to get one done in MA. Many people chose to have tattoo parties rather than go out of state. There was no one monitoring the health and safety of the parties. Some tattoo artists working the parties were clean, safe and professional but many were not; some were even dangerous and unethical. It was up to you to be sure the artist you were inviting your guests to get work from were safe.
Since tattoos have been legalized in MA and are being monitored by the Dept. of Public Health tattoo parties are a whole different story. Professional tattoo artists want to work in a shop. It gives them constant access to clients and a consistent place to work. It provides the pride of working legally and openly in a nice shop as a true professional. Shops offer at least Dept or Public Health monitoring, and although far from perfect this is certainly better than nothing. Being in a shop doesn’t guarantee safety, but it’s much more likely than it is from an artists doing parties.
There is no reason that a professional tattoo artist would prefer to work parties or from home rather than in a shop. If they are caught they risk losing their license. So if they are doing parties you have to ask yourself why. Is he/she really a professional? Is the equipment really sterile? Are they unable to keep a job at a shop and if so why? Do they have problems with drugs or alcohol? Are they unreliable or problem artists?
When you get a tattoo in a shop you have somewhere to go if you have questions or a problem. Will your party artist be available when you need him/her?
We do not work at tattoo parties of any type and we do not recommend getting a tattoo at a tattoo party or other non professional event. A tattoo is for life! You may be able to have a laser remove the image but you cannot laser off the effects of a disease or illness you could get from a scratch tattooist working parties. Some of the diseases you can contract from dirty tattoos don’t start showing symptoms for years later giving you the false impression it was safe. In a shop you know a hospital sterilizer is used. How do you really know that with a home tattooist? If he/she is unethical enough to do illegal, underground tattooing in a state that has legal shops how can you trust that they are telling you factual information?
Do yourself a favor and get a tattoo done professionally. I’ve never heard anyone say they regret getting their tattoo professionally done. But I often hear people say they wish they had gone to a shop to get theirs instead of at that tattoo party.