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Q: Tattoo establishments in and around the Bay Area ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Tattoo establishments in and around the Bay Area
Category: Health > Alternative
Asked by: ruby026-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 21 Dec 2005 16:25 PST
Expires: 20 Jan 2006 16:25 PST
Question ID: 608674
My sister and I are going to be getting a long-awaited tattoo in a few
months and have no idea where to go.  We live in the Bay Area of CA
and I am not averse to driving some distance but would like to go
somewhere not too far.

Are there regulated places that are deemed safe/clean by some standard
to make sure that the place we pick is safe? If so, links to those
sites or numbers would be greatly appreciated (the tattoo est., their
website is fine).

I am trying to locate places that are "safe" by some standard, whether
it be goverment-deemed or not, as well as close in and/or around the
Bay Area.

List-format is fine with:
Area of business (city) 
Website (if known: if not, their phone #)
Reference to whether they are stated to be safe/clean, etc.

I don't need too many places, just the ones that seem the best (or
safest by some standard) so that I can begin calling/researching them.
(Max: 15, let's say).

Thanks so much!
Subject: Re: Tattoo establishments in and around the Bay Area
Answered By: clouseau-ga on 21 Dec 2005 18:19 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello Ruby,

Thank you for your question.

As a Bay Area resident myself, for years and years I have heard about Lyle Tuttle"

Lyle Tuttle Tattooing
841 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133-2307  
(415) 775-4991
Cross Street: Mason Street

As Prick Magazine notes:

Forefather of modern tattooing
by Chuck Brank

...Late one evening, during the second day of the Atlanta Tattoo Arts
Festival, and after a fair amount of $2 Bass beers, I had the
privilege to sit down with a man who has seen the evolution of
tattooing during the last half century - Lyle Tuttle. Although Tuttle
no longer tattoos, he still attends the conventions, giving seminars
on tattoo machines and maintenance and is considered a legend in the
industry. While we sat down in the hotel restaurant, sipping coffee
and smoking cigars, Tuttle gave us his views on the tattoo past and
present. Among his many talents, he is a gifted story teller as you'll
hear for yourselves ...

Now, even though he does not personally tattoo himself, I have to
believe that the employees that work under his name are qualified. The
article also links to:

Very interesting site. Searching the Bay Area, I located these links
for California with Fairfield, Oakland, Hayward, Berkeley and perhaps
Sacramento being within a reasonable range for you to travel:

Alpha Omega - Fairfield
Avalon Tattoo - San Diego
Body Graphics - Temecula
Chris Cockrill - San Diego
FTW Tattoo - Oakland
Hot Stuff Tattoo - Hollywood
It's My Body Tattoo - Jackson
Jeremiah Barba - Orange
Lucky 7 Tattoo - Kings Beach
Outer Limits - Anaheim/Orange 
Pat Fish - Santa Barbara
Peters Tattoo - Hayward
Studio City Tattoo - Studio City
Tattoo Archive - Berkeley
Tattoo Infinity - Sacramento
Tattoos By Advance - Fremont 
The Hole Thing - Santa Rosa
Visual Tattoo - Arcata
Ye Olde Tattoo Shoppe - Studio City 

You can click the links to these sites here:

I think you will enjoy seeing some of the work samples on their pages
and there is lots of good information to read.

Searching for reviews, I came across the following:

Soul Patch Tattoo
1599 Haight St Ste B
San Francisco, CA 94117  
(415) 552-3444
Cross Street: Clayton Avenue

"...i had my hips tattooed by suzanne and the script is perfect. super
ghetto fabulous lettering and stars and shiners. she did an amazing
job listening and making suggestions, and ultimately we came up with
the perfect tattoos for both my hips. i would most definitely see her
again and again..."

"...I came into Soul Patch during my vacation in SF for a tattoo and
they were just excellent. They took my appointment over the phone,
Susanne was great and she did a wonderful job of my anklet tattoo.
Great shop, reasonable prices, and great people to deal with. If I am
ever back in the area, I will definitely go back!.."

"...I just can't say enough good things about this place. I visited 5
different tattoo shops and Soul Patch had BY FAR the friendliest
staff. Max and his staff are not only very skilled at what they do,
they are quite CARING. Their prices were the best, but I would have
chosen them even without the price difference. Tattoos are a very
personal and painful process, so it's important to feel comfortable
with the artist. I went with three friends, one is a real pain wimp,
and she was fine because Max was so reassuring with her . . . and we
are all happy with the way our designs turned out. Do yourself a favor
and GO TO SOUL PATCH for your next tattoo. :)..."

There are most words of praise for this shop.

Sacred Rose Tattoo
491 Guerrero St Ste A
San Francisco, CA 94110-1020  
(415) 552-5778

"...If you're going for a tattoo, this is the place to go. I got my
first tattoo about two weeks ago, and am glad I came to Sacred Rose.
Jill was the artist and she took a lot of care to ensure the result
was what I wanted, through consultation and discussing my vision. She
was genuinely as enthusiastic about doing the tat as I was to have it
done. She brought to life a dream I have had for more than ten years.
Thanks Jill, you're Awesome!..."

Everlasting Tattoo

District: Alamo Square
813 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94117

"..."I can't tell you how many compliments I've gotten on the amazing
tattoo I got done by George Campise at Everlasting! I gave him a very
rough idea of what I wanted and I had an old tattoo I wanted to
incorporate and he did an amazing job with the design. I didn't even
see the coloring until he was finished - I'm so glad I trusted his
instincts to create the tattoo I love! I've recommended him to
everyone I've talked to who wants a tattoo. He's awesome!!!"..."

"..."I will be going back for more!

First of all, when I first walked in to Everlasting I had that great
feeling that comes from being in a space that has been transformed by
an artist. It is a beautiful space.

Henry is funny, chill and has great taste in music. He did the
traditional hearts on my chest and I get tons of compliments for them.
Simple, beautiful and in the right spot! Placement is perfect.

I recently saw the Everlasting team's paintings at White Walls gallery
and these guys a VERY talented. This is an amazing hot bed of artistic

The Insider pages list tattoo parlors in the Bay Area with reviews as well:$LOWfESfKQJIoVca40hA/

There are 107 establishments listed!! And there are negative reviews
that will help steer you away from more questionable places.

Hopefully the above will give you a great start on zeroing in on
exactly the right tattoo artist for you. Do remember, they are ARTISTS
and while someone may be talented, their style may not fit your
desires. So do spend some time viewing their past works to be sure you
have found a good match.

Good luck!

Search Strategy:

tattoo +"san francisco"
tattoo +"san francisco" +tuttle
tattoo +"san francisco" +review

I trust my research has provided you with a number of local
possibilities. If a link above should fail to work or anything require
further explanation or research, please do post a Request for
Clarification prior to rating the answer and closing the question and
I will be pleased to assist further.



Request for Answer Clarification by ruby026-ga on 21 Dec 2005 22:20 PST
Hi Clouseau,

Thanks for the research on the places.  More than enough to start my
research! I was just wondering if any of the places are or advertise
to be deemed "safe," by any government or other standards?
I heard that some establishments are (or are required to be) "checked
out" based on their practices of cleaning, etc. (like restaurants are
looked into for their cleanliness)???
Any places (maybe regarding those already posted) or info. on this
matter would greatly help.
Thanks again!  :)

Clarification of Answer by clouseau-ga on 21 Dec 2005 23:39 PST
Hi again,

In checking further, it seems that this is something regulated (or not
as the case may be) by the states and with no state mandates fall to
the counties or cities. So, checking California I found that this
seems to be regulated and inspected by the counties.

For example:

November 9, 2005

"...San Mateo County, San Francisco, supervisors have ultimately
passed the ordinance imposing regulations on tattoo artists. The
lawmakers and health officials were working on the ordinance since

?Tattoo artists and body piercers will come under increased scrutiny
from county lawmakers and health officials following the unanimous
passage Tuesday. The ordinance exposes tattoo parlors to unannounced
inspections from the health department at least once a year.?

Risks associated with tattooing are a serious concern and a
comprehensive law throughout country regulating tattoo parlors can
make the ever increasing business of tattooing safer..."

The entire article is here:

The San Francisco Dept of Public Health has this page on tattooing:

Recently enacted State law authorizes the local health department to
register all persons (practitioners) applying tattoos, body
piercing(s), or permanent cosmetics.

The Environmental Health Section of the Department of Public Health is
responsible for overseeing this program. This includes, but is not
necessarily limited to, the following:

issuing permits 

conducting yearly inspections of all facilities for general
maintenance and cleanliness, proper sterilization procedures,
maintenance of pertinent documentation

maintaining registration documents of and issuing registration cards
to all active practitioners

promulgating (publicizing)  new or revising existing ordinances and regulations 

The page was created 11/29/05, so evidently this is a rather newly
passed regulation. It seems that regulation and inspections of tattoo
parlors are just beginning and many may not have yet had their first
inspection in the Bay Area and had an opportunity to reply and correct
any shortcomings.

An organization called the National Tattoo Association has 1,000
members and has standards for quality and professionalism.

Their members page is here (though I did not notice any members in the Bay Area):

You might ask some of the shops on the above lists if they are members.

I would read the reviews of the shops I have listed, call a few,
visit, and perhaps even email some of the reviewers for opinions on
cleanliness and sanitation. Personally, I would tend to trust those
that have been in business continuously for long periods of time as
likely meeting the health safety needs of their customers.

I hope this has helped.

ruby026-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Quick, thorough and very helpful...THANK YOU!!

Subject: Re: Tattoo establishments in and around the Bay Area
From: sandigital-ga on 18 Jan 2006 17:19 PST
If you are in SF, you MUST look at Ed Hardy's studio.  Ed Hardy is a
very well known and influential artist:

Best of all, Fip Buchanan works at Ed's studio one week per month!! 
Fip is actually based at Avalon 2 Tattoo in San Diego, but goes to SF
every month to work and visit his wife.  I can personally attest to
his genius at he has spent about 8 hours working on my shoulder.  I
consider him to be the best artist in San Diego.  The amount of detail
and depth he is able to attain with ink and a needle is nothing short
of miraculous.
You can see Fip's work here:

(As an aside, Lyle Tuttle is a very respected figure and historian,
but rumor has it that he is just a mediocre artist.  I don't think he
even tattoos anymore.)

As for the sanitation...if they have a storefront and advertise,
chances are that they are sanctioned by the health department.  In big
cities like SF, there are usually enough tattoo and piercing shops
that the health department will have a person who specializes in this
type of business.

But, just a little knowledge and observation can tell you if the shop
adheres to these guidelines.  First of all, ask your artist.  If
he/she gets defensive and doesn't want to tell you, get out of there! 
They should show you the basics...
1) a brand new needle for each customer (they are supposed to remove
it from the package in front of you).
2) The needles and machines will be sterilized in surgical grade
autoclaves between each customer.  Look up pictures on Google so you
know how to recognize them.
3) The artist will wear surgical grade latex gloves the entire time.
4) The ink will be placed in disposable plastic or paper cups.
5) Most artists will also do things like cover the chair in plastic,
cover the spray bottles, etc.
--Basically, anything that touches you should be thrown out and never used again.

Honestly, every tattoo studio I have ever been in is more cautious
about cross contamination than any hospital or doctor office I have
been in.

Another resource for both tattoo experiences and advice is:

A few more bits of advice for you...
--Getting a tattoo is NOT a time to go bargain hunting.  You get what you pay for.
--I did a lot of research from Gallup type polls and the vast majority
or people who later regret their tattoos fall into 3 areas.
1) Somebody's name.  Despite what you feel today, ink lasts does not.
2) Placement.  A forearm or neck tattoo might look cool at the club,
but you might not always want this part of you on display.  It also
might get you excluded from a job, or you might have to cover it up at
work (especially in the food industry).
3) Commitment.  Your beliefs change over time.  Severe examples are
nazi swastikas, but this also applies to things like straight edge
X's, religious symbols, band names, etc.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.  And please check
out Ed Hardy and Fip Buchanan!

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