Most tattoo artist can do it all. Give them a picture, an idea or an image and they can create an original tattoo, no problem.
But, some artist have a style or a speciality. Some artist prefer doing one style or another. If the artist apprenticed under a guy who does Asian. He may prefer to do dragons and water and lotus flowers. He probably learned as well that you don’t place certain elements or colors together. So much about these type of tattoos is the tradition behind the tattoo style. If you find an artist with this type of knowledge, it is a great experience and I am all about the tattoo experience as a whole.
But, is it important? I enjoy reality competition shows and the latest crop are tattoo competition shows. The two best are Ink Master on Spike TV and Best Ink on Oxygen TV.
Both shows put tattoo artist through a series of challenges that focus on certain techniques of tattooing as well as different styles; shading, fine lines, color and black and grey as well as Asian/Japanese, old school, new school, photo realism, portraits, scripts, pin ups, military, mechanical, the list goes on and on. They judge the artist on their work as a whole and then declare a winner. The whole idea is a great tattoo artist has mastered all the techniques and can do any style.
One of my favorite artist who did my favorite tattoo, a asian inspired bull on my ankle, is known for tattooing the most amazing dragons. People come from all over the world to get an original dragon from him. It is his speciality. But, he can do it all.
There is nothing wrong with wanting your tattoo artist to be an expert in the type of tattoo you want. I compare it to doctors. I am sure if I have a heart attack, a general practiciner can save my life. But, I would much rather go to a cardiologist.
The goal is to get the best tattoo. So, research your artist. And if you have a tattoo in mind and it’s possible, make sure your artist has done that style of tattooing before.
What’s more important to you, technique or style in picking an artist? What style of tattoos do you like?