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Draw from an artist’s experience

Just as every tattoo is different, so is each tattoo artist.

That’s why it’s important to visit a salon before getting a tattoo to familiarize yourself with the work of the person you are letting decorate your arms, shoulders, back or legs, recommends a local tattoo artist.

“Tattooing is an art form,” said Josh Stephens, who has done body art at Marc’s Tattooing in Wilkes-Barre the past two years.

He said many prospective clients don’t realize that tattoo artists are, in fact, artists first and that they are able to draw any requested design.

Stephens said some people come in knowing exactly what kind of artwork they want while others are open to suggestions. “All they know is that they just want a tattoo,” he said.

He encourages clients to first look at an artist’s portfolio to get an idea of the design in which they are interested. “That way you can see what kind of style that particular artist has and whether that’s what you’re looking for,” he said. “You wouldn’t ask Picasso to paint a Rembrandt. If clients look through our book, maybe this will give them an idea they didn’t think about before. A lot of people don’t realize we are artists and we can draw whatever they want and so when they see the tattoos we’ve done they see the possibilities of what can be done with a tattoo.”

The tattoo artist said there really are not popular designs although some clients will always request the old standbys like flowers, birds, hearts and lettering.

Some customers will select one tattoo while others may opt for several, done over a period of time.

Stephens was literally tattooed around the world in Mexico, Washington, D.C., and New York City, as well as his current place of employment. He got his first tattoo at the age of 18 and not only wanted to continue adorning his body, but also decided on a career choice at the same time. “I fell in love with tattoos and decided to become a tattoo artist,” he said.

Stephens has been working at Marc’s Tattooing for five years, beginning as an apprentice and working his way to becoming a tattoo artist two years ago.

“Tattooing is its own art form, and within that art form are different styles and genres,” he said. “Each artist has his own unique style and will look at tattooing differently from the next.”

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