Tattoos leave a mark on skin and in wallets

Jackie Lloyd

Getting a tattoo can leave the hurt on one’s skin and in one’s wallet. Some parlors charge their customers $40 and up to get inked. Dana Beveridge | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: Ron Soltys

Watching someone get a tattoo is a curious thing. Some faces contort in pain, some people howl when the tattoo artist hits a certain spot and others just sit silently through the agony.

The agony doesn’t stop at the flesh. One’s wallet can also endure a little pain.

“I paid $210 for my cross,” said James Lonzo, sophomore business management major. “It’s about 11 inches long on my arm.”

Lonzo said that the reputation of the tattoo parlor was more important than how much they charged.

“I was actually surprised because I thought it would cost more — it takes up most of my right arm and there’s a lot of detail. You have to set your limit though and talk to the tattoo people beforehand. You say ‘this is what I want and this is what I’m looking to spend’ and then take it from there.”

The three small cursive initials on senior accounting major Karin Renkes’ foot are a little bigger than her thumb nail, but cost $42.

“I knew about how much it was going to cost, but for the size of my tattoo, I wouldn’t have paid any more than that,” she said.

Many parlors have minimum costs, no matter how small the tattoo.

Jeremy Cale, owner of Smokin’ Tattooz on East Main Street, said the minimum cost of a tattoo is $40, which covers the set up costs.

“Only the tubes get sterilized and reused, so everything else has to be thrown out after it’s used — ink caps, the ink that’s poured, needles — that’s what the $40 is for,” he said.

Color, placement, the amount of time it takes to do and the level of difficulty of the tattoo also affect the price. Cale said black and gray tattoos are just slightly cheaper than color tattoos.

“It’s really about the amount of time it takes to do the color. Some colors take longer, like yellow,” said Cale.

Tattoo artist Trevor Moment, who works at Defiance Tattoo on East Main Street, said price shouldn’t be as much of a factor as the quality of the artist and the tattoo.

“If you go looking for a value tattoo, you’ll get one,” he said. “You get what you pay for.”

Mackenzie King, senior jewelry design and metalsmithing major, agrees.

“My tattoo is the size of a half dollar and it was $80, but it has a lot of detail and color,” King said of the crown tattoo on her foot.

“For something that’s going to be on my body for the rest of my life, I’d rather pay more and go to a good place with a good artist,” she said.

Touching up a tattoo is another cost to consider. Certain areas are exposed to more wear, sun exposure and exfoliation. Tattoos in those areas, such as feet, may need to be touched up, but Moment stresses that it’s not always necessary.

“There’s this misconception that you need to get it done,” he said. “I’ve never had anything touched up and my oldest tattoo is 17 years old.”

Moment said the price of a touch up depends on how badly the tattoo has faded. It can range from a fraction of the original tattoo price to the price of a whole new tattoo.

Contact student finance reporter Jackie Lloyd at [email protected].