There was a time when having tattoos could brand you as loser/societal outcast/ hooligan. Today it seems as though having a few tattoos is about as strange as having your ears pierced. It's a style choice. It's like having a collection of permanent, wearable art. The are certain circles where being tattooless makes you a minority. Almost everyone has that perspective tattoo idea, something they've mulled over for years, but for some reason or another, haven't pulled the trigger. Getting your first tattoo and finding an artist can be daunting. For instance, I've always loved the classic imagery of a diamond tattoo. I'd coveted them for a long time, but my only other tattoo was a chinese character meaning "lucky" on my lower back, the classic "tramp stamp." I'd gotten it on the ever classy WIldwood boardwalk when I was 16. So I wasn't quite sure how to go after a new tattoo, one that I wouldn't regret for the rest of my life.
On my 30th birthday my boyfriend, who has more tats then I can count, suggested we go make the diamond a reality. I surfed the internet for what I thought was a particularly interesting take on the traditional diamond. This diamond was melting. To me it made the statement, that while the marketing slogan claims, "diamonds are forever," that actually nothing is forever. We asked around to see where we got get a walk-in appointment with reputable artists. A tattooed friends suggested Philadelphia Eddies Chinatown Tattoo. Philadelphia Eddies has been around for a while. The walls are covered in classic flash from the 70's and before. There are lots of sharks, panthers screwing women, naked ladies, eagles, that kind of thing. When I pulled out my tattoo idea the artist laughed and said, "that looks like shit, I'm not doing that." Embarrassed but indignant I put the picture away. "Well, I think it's cool, what kind of diamond would you suggest." "Any other diamond,' he said.
So I started flipping through the framed flash posters and found something I was comfortable with. It turned out, he was right. That melting diamond I brought in would have looked like shit. I was very happy with the one that he gave me, though being on my hand, it was pretty freaking painful. After that I was hooked. I realized I could go in on a whim an select something cool and get to look at it everyday. It was fun and empowering. What I love about tattoos is that whether you're wearing the plainest of outfits, or a soul-crushing uniform, tattoos are a bit of personal style that can't be taken away from you. Here's a few shops and some descriptions, that can inspire you to get started with some tats of you own. here
Address: 904 Arch Street
Phone: (215) 440-9997
A reputable shop, recommended for classic flash. Walk-ins are often available. Prices are reasonable. Eddies has a second location off South Street.
Address: 44 South 2nd Street
Phone: (215) 627-6271
Considered by some to be Philadelphia finest tattoo shop. They have nationally recognized artist like Martin Lacasse and Jason Goldberg. Appointments are usually required, and prices are a bit higher than the citywide average.
Address: 610 South 4th Street
Phone: (215) 925-1766
Open since 2002, this South Street shop is known for being girl-friendly and features many female artist. No Ka Oi is Hawaiian for "the very best."
Address: 1345 Frankford Ave.
Phone: (267) 239-2724
This "new school' Fishtown tattoo shop has received numerous awards and accolades. It voted best Studio of Philadelphia in 2011. One of their artist, Tim Pangburn is to be featured as a cover-up artist on TLC's America's Worst Tattoos. The big, open tattoo parlor is also an art studio and they consider each and every one of their tattoos to be art.
Address: 4371 Cresson Street
Phone: (215) 487-0360
This Manayunk tattoo shop recently went through an image over-haul. Formerly called Kadillac Tattoo, the shop has been open since 1995. According to Yelp, the "nice guy" artist are willing to work with you and draw-up your original ideas.