toxic_partyTattoo parties have been around for a long time. The idea is a simple one. A group of people get together at someone’s house, a tattoo artist shows up and everyone gets a tattoo. Problem is that the tattoo artist is not necessarily qualified, the environment is not sterile, alcohol makes you bleed more profusely and crowds are distracting. Doesn’t sound like much fun to me somehow.

I am sure there are examples of good tattoo artists attending sterile tattoo parties where the clients were all of legal age, no alcohol or drugs were on site and the tats were of a superior quality. I just haven’t yet heard of one. The usual reasons for holding a tattoo party include celebrating an event (usually involves some form of inebriation), the lower cost per tattoo, the clients are minors or (worse) the tattooist is unqualified, unlicensed or just bad and has to work underground.
The absence of safety protocols and the sheer volume of work being carried out usually results in a large number of badly inked tats of poor design which leave the clients with nasty tats, infections and scarring.  Just think of the blood borne diseases we normally are wary of. According to one authority on the subject: “Even if they use single-use needles, which is the typical line of defense for many of these tattooers, that doesn’t mean you’re safe. When a person is tattooed, microscopic blood and body fluids spray and fly everywhere; everything around the client and the tattooer is contaminated. The only way to kill the germs, bacteria and blood-borne pathogens that go along with every tattoo is to make sure every inch of the artist’s work station is cleaned and sterilized thoroughly between clients. All surfaces must be non-porous like tile floors and vinyl seats; anything porous should be protected by being covered with plastic, and then that plastic must be discarded after every client.”

The advertising in this case is a lie. To put it brutally: if you can’t pay full price for a tattoo, then don’t get one. If you’re too young then wait until you’re old enough. And if you are throwing unauthorised tattoo parties, please realise you are jeopardising the industry and its reputation with your selfishness. I sincerely hope you don’t kill someone for the sake of your own greed.