How to help in the George Floyd protests and beyond.

How To Not Fuck Up Your First Tattoo

According to Grace Neutral and Kelli Kikcio.

Illustration Hisashi Okawa
July 27, 2017
How To Not Fuck Up Your First Tattoo

In London, tattoo artist, designer, and model Grace Neutral has made a name for herself for her geometric and Totoro-inspired handpoked designs. In New York, multi-disciplinary artist Kelli Kikcio also specializes in handpoke tattoos, creating delicate nature-based designs in her private Brooklyn studio.

Use social media to find the right artist

GRACE NEUTRAL: “We live in a world now where tattoos are commonplace and tattoo shops are everywhere. This doesn’t mean every shop out there is going to give you a great tattoo, so do your research. Get a feel for what’s out there and what will be best for you and your tattoo.”


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Don't overthink it

KELLI KIKCIO: “Your tattoo doesn’t have to have a meaning or justification. A tattoo can simply be beautiful or funny, it can act as a reminder of a certain period of time, or simply be the beginning of your personal art collection.”

Be aware of hygiene and safety

NEUTRAL: “Make sure the person tattooing you has a clean setup, and is using single-use, sterile needles.”


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Relax and let the artist do their thing

KIKCIO: “Getting tattooed is an intimate experience and each artist handles their business and craft differently. Your artist is a human being — they may be an excellent communicator or they may throw their headphones on while they tattoo. Trust that they know what they’re doing and that they are honoring their needs to give you their best work.”

Take a couple days off summer partying

KIKCIO: “Skip heavy drinking the night before and day of, always wear sunscreen, and stay off the beach and out of the water for as long as your tattooer recommends. They’re not trying to be a buzzkill, they’re simply trying to protect your investment!”

How To Not Fuck Up Your First Tattoo