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The Shakerite

The award-winning Shaker Heights High School student news organization

The Shakerite

The award-winning Shaker Heights High School student news organization

The Shakerite

Parlors, Parents and Permission

Ohio is one of only nine states that require tattoo parlors to hold operating licenses. However, tattoo artists receive no formal training other than a period of apprenticeship, and it’s up to the parlor’s proprietor to determine when the apprentice is ready to become a full-fledged artist. 

“The bottom line is, the more experience, the better the artist,” said the owner of A Nu Tatt2 Professional Tattooing, located in Bedford. As with any other skill, more “skin-time” (the time spent giving tattoos) equates to a better artist.

Section 3701-9 of the Ohio Administrative Code outlines procedures for tattoo and body piercing services. It specifies that tattoo parlors must keep a log of dye colors, manufacturers and any other identifying information for each pigment used. The owner of Focused Tattoo, located on Coventry Road, explained that this is a legal protection. If customers complain of unhygienic conditions or experience allergic reactions to dyes, the tattoo parlor is able to track down and examine the dyes used. He clarified that allergic reactions to dyes are rare, and customers are informed of possible problems before they are tattooed.

Ohio law also states that minors need parental consent before they are tattooed. Katie Emerson, mother of senior Logan Davis, supported her daughter when she got a tattoo of a sailboat on her ankle. “We had many discussions over a number of months because I had concerns,” Emerson said. She was concerned about health risks as well as the permanence of the tattoo. “I don’t know if I actually had to formally sign something or not,” Emerson said. Emerson can’t remember if Davis was 18 years old at the time, or if she got the tattoo before then.

Focused Tattoo and A Nu Tatt2 are the parlors where Shaker students can most often be found. At all tattoo parlors, both the minor being tattooed and his or her guardian are required to present valid state IDs. To give consent, the parent or guardian must be at the parlor as the tattoo is drawn and sign a consent form in which the business explains the tattooing procedure and tattoo after-care methods.

Junior Hombre Thomas, (pictured on the right) has numerous tattoos from several different parlors, which include Body Revolution, Focused and A Nu Tatt2. His first tattoo cost $220 and was done at Body Revolution, where his mother was getting a piercing. Thomas’s mother consented to both getting a tattoo and the design he chose.

Thomas said his tattoos mesh. “One arm is all about my family. The other arm has less meaningful tattoos, but they all still fit in,” he said.

Although minors of any age are, with permission, allowed to be tattooed, individual tattoo parlors have set age limits. G&G Tattoo, located in Willoughby, will not tattoo people who are under 16. “You have to prove who you are and how old you are. Sometimes a kid comes in, and they look 18 but they’re 14,” the G&G receptionist said. The G&G website homepage boasts the slogan “Experience. Quality. Safety.” It continues, “We tattooed your parents – let us tattoo you!”  G&G cites 125 years of tattooing as professional experience.

Focused Tattoo does not state a particular age limit for minors to get tattoos.  Most 16- and 17- year-olds are able to get a tattoo with parental consent.  However, A Nu Tatt2 will tattoo minors of any age provided that a parent consents.

To figure out whether you should get a tattoo, click here:

To learn about tattoo removal options, click here:

Click on the photos below to see a sampling of students’ tattoos.  [nggallery id=5]

A version of this article appeared in print on 28 February 2012, on pages 8 and 9 of The Shakerite.

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