Frequently Asked Questions

+ Where are you located?

Currently tattooing at: The Tradewinds Tattoo 1861 Hooper Ave. Toms River, NJ 08753 732.228.7633

I generally work Tuesdays through Saturdays, but you must call for a consultation as I am generally tattooing all day. It's usually best to email me through my site first though :-)

+ How do I take care of my tattoo?

No sun, saltwater, chlorinated water, or soaking your tattoo during the healing process.

Yes, you may shower like normal. Approximately an hour after the tattoo and when you are home, remove the bandage and wash the tattoo thoroughly with, preferably, basic unscented soap or antibacterial soap by building up a lather in your clean hands and washing any bodily fluids or ink that may be stuck on the surface of the tattoo. Do not scrub the tattoo with a washcloth or anything abrasive. Pat the tattoo dry with a clean towel.

Do not re-bandage the tattoo during the day.

For larger work, unless you have very sensitive skin and are prone to heat rash, I do recommend wrapping the tattoo with plastic wrap for the first night or two, at the most, to avoid the tattoo drying up against any fabric and sticking to it. It helps save your sheets a bit from any staining as you may see some ink seeping out as your body begins to heal for the first day or so. Use your own discretion. If you decide to wrap the tattoo, make sure to wash your tattoo thoroughly and give the tattoo approximately 20 minutes to fully dry before covering it with clean plastic wrap as to not trap in bacteria or excess moisture. In the morning, the tattoo will be very moist, so make sure to remove the plastic and wash the tattoo well.

For the first day and a half to two days, do not apply any ointment or lotion, but wash the tattoo 2-4 times during the day to ensure you are keeping the tattoo clean. It's my belief that ointments that are heavy in petroleum such as A&D, Vasaline, and Aquaphor can result in more color being drawn out from the tattoo and due to the body's inability to absorb petroleum can result in clogged pores and rashes. After 2 days when the tattoo has had sufficient time to close, you can apply a very thin amount of basic white hand lotion such as Curel or Vasaline Intensive Care lotion 2-3 times a day with CLEAN hands. Do not over-apply the lotion. You should rub it into the skin like you would if you used it anywhere else on your body. After a few days your tattoo will begin peeling and developing light scabs. Do not pick at your tattoo. Total healing time is different for every person, but usually ranges from 2-3 weeks.

If you have any questions regarding your tattoo please contact me and ask. After it has healed feel free to stop by the shop and show me. I always enjoy seeing healed work and getting healed photos of larger tattoos. In addition, if I see anything that needs to be touched up due to a healing issue I offer free touch-ups (unless otherwise indicated) as long as you come back within two months of the tattoos application.

+ How does the sun affect tattoos?

I recommend a high SPF suntan lotion regularly applied when your out in the sun to keep your tattoo looking great. The pigment applied during your tattoo process stays under your skin and just like any paint or dye has a lightfast rating and can bleach or tan due to exposure to the sun. People with more tan skin, who love being in the sun, and cannot commit to keeping their tattoos protected should stick to more simple color tattoos, avoiding an overuse of lighter opaque tones involving a lot of white, or black and grey tattoos which will be less affected by the sun; although, even a detailed black and grey tattoo can be faded a decent amount by just one summer of killing your skin in the sun. If you intend on tanning often or exposing your tattoo to a lot of sun, please let me know so I can factor that in to how we approach your tattoo.

Can you draw a tattoo for me?

Absolutely, about 95% of my work is fully custom drawn; however, I do not do drawings without a deposit and appointment. All appointments (other than when I'm traveling to conventions) need to be made in person and require a cash deposit of $50-$150 depending on the tattoo.

Please, have a good idea of the concept of the tattoo/imagery and feel free to bring any photo reference with you to give me a better idea of what you are looking for. If you like my work and want me to run with a concept I'm more than happy to do so as well.

Please, do not bring in pictures of other peoples tattoos as I will not copy line-for-line anyone else's work (see the next questions for a detailed response why), and keep in mind, that you are asking for something custom and will need to keep an open mind to the design. I am an experienced artist and will make design decisions in order to enhance the flow of the tattoo on your body, help the longevity of your tattoo, and create a sense of depth, light and shadow. I will, however, always do my best to discuss any possible changes with you so you know what to expect.

If you like the tattoos in my portfolio and social networking sites you should have a good idea of the style I work in and a better idea of the end result. If you are just toying with an idea for your tattoo and know you want me to do it, but can't yet commit you are always welcome to contact me and discuss your idea.

+ What style of work do you do?

I don't like classify my work as any particular style. I'm as happy to do a traditional tattoo as I am as detailed tattoo and as happy doing a color tattoo as a black and grey, but the best term I can come up with for the way I naturally draw custom work is illustrative. Though most of the tattoos I do have traditional elements the custom designs I do are more focused on depth and light and shadow with a concern for the longevity of the tattoo.

I genuinely enjoy Japanese imagery and am fascinated by various cultural imagery such as Eastern gods and goddesses and mythology, but I'm generally very happy with doing work where I'm given a decent amount of artistic freedom to draw and design tattoos with a good sense of depth, light and shadow, and flow and form on the body.

Although I may do a tribal design or celtic design on occasion, I do not generally take on flat or graphic designs on a large scale simply because I don't enjoy doing them on a large scale as much and there are many artists who do.

I found this really cool tattoo online that 'so-and-so' did, can you copy it?

Unless the tattoo design is being sold as flash (flash are designs sold specifically to be mass-marketed tattoos and usually line the walls and racks of most tattoo shops), chances are that the cool tattoo you found online was custom drawn for that person individually, and it is unethical for any person to take that photo and clearly copy the tattoo that the original owner payed good money to have specifically drawn for them in order to have a one-of-a-kind tattoo. Think of how frustrating it would be to pay good money for a custom tattoo that may have a lot of personal meaning for you and to then find out that a bunch of people essentially stole your tattoo and are walking around with semi-exact duplicates of it. Also, custom tattoo artists take pride in their work.

Tattooers that copy another tattoo artists work are looked down on and called out for their theft. Probably about 95% of my work is completely custom and I'd be happy to take a concept and design a great and custom tattoo designed to fit your body. I try to let my work speak for itself, so if you enjoy the work you see in my portfolio and my social networking sites then you should have no problem trusting me to put together something great, designed for you and you alone.

I want this really long quote on me or a persons full name, date of birth and death etc. . . on me along with this imagery can you do it?

I'm not currently doing quotes or more involved lettering tattoos outside of a name as a part of a larger sleeve or something along those lines. I advise all people to read this post by Seppuku Tattoo, which explains the problems inherent in doing large quotes on the body, before deciding on getting a large lettering tattoo. It says most of what I have to say and more on the issue.

I feel a lot of great tattoos could come out of taking the concept of a quote and finding great imagery to represent it, instead of needing to label it. As far as adding a lot of lettering to a design, keep in mind that adding a lot of lettering to an image limits the amount of space available for the image and due to the rules of written language can interrupt the flow and fit of a tattoo. Your tattoo should not need labels all over it to make it have meaning. It's like a seeing a girl in a pretty dress, and when she turns around seeing "Nike" straight across it. If you let the imagery of your tattoo stand for itself the result is usually a much more compelling tattoo. You shouldn't need a label on it to appreciate the tattoo for what it is.

+ How much will my tattoo cost?

Smaller tattoos I may give a flat price on based on size and detail of the tattoo. If you are working with a budget feel free to let me know and I'll do my best to work within it, but that may result in compromising detail or size to meet your price range.

All my larger work is hourly based. It is very difficult to estimate the time required for larger work as there are many factors involved--such tattoos are not paint-by-numbers. There is often layering over healed work, I may add more black or color or thicken up line-work after an area has healed in order to increase the saturation, longevity of a tattoo, or add more depth as the piece progresses.

I usually have a 3 hour minimum for starting a larger piece with 2 hour minimum sessions afterwards, though it is always to your benefit to sit longer. Multiple session tattoos will usually be set about 2-3 weeks apart. I understand it is a difficult thing to not know the end cost of your sleeve, but it really is the best and most fair way of charging for both parties. I consider a large-scale tattoo as a project the client and I are undergoing together and will most likely require multiple sittings where we will be making progress each time towards the end result.

+ Do you do cover-ups?

Absolutely, but the term "cover-up" is a misnomer. For a tattoo to effectively "cover" an existing tattoo, the new design needs to be a darker value or one that is equal in value and can overcome the old pigment. The pigment from your old tattoo is still in the layers of your skin and will mix with any new color applied over it; so, the new tattoo needs to be designed so it can effectively "absorb" the design of old tattoo with no or minimal show-through as the new tattoo settles in your skin.

With all my cover-ups, I try to design them in a way where the new tattoo is one you'd be proud to wear and applied in a way which looks like the tattoo was always intended to be there. Many times this will require a much larger tattoo than the original and I may suggest more than one session to increase the saturation of the new tattoo so it can overpower the old one.

Most cover-ups need to be in color; although, there are always some exceptions. It is best to come up with several different ideas of what you would like to cover the old tattoo with, so when I see it, I can let you know the possibilities for covering your old tattoo with a tattoo you can be proud of.

+ Can I commission you to paint me something?

At this time, I am not taking commissions due to not having enough time complete any commissioned painting in a timely manner. If I choose to do so at any point, it will be made public on the site and my social networks.

+ Are you looking for apprentices?

I am not a shop owner and as such do not accept apprenticeships. Good luck.