FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS.....THE RISING DRAGON "FAQ" PAGE
How much do you charge?
Our minimum charge for small tattoos is $100. Whenever possible we try to give an estimate for the piece itself when it can be done in one short sitting. We do a lot of custom work, and those can be multiple session. In that case our hourly rate starts at $190/hour, and some of our artists charge $200/hour. This is actually the norm for a good Manhattan tattoo shop, and although it might seem like a lot, there are many other shops in our league that have moved up to $250/hour, so we remain moderately priced. Custom work entails a lot of "homework" and behind the scenes hours of designing and drawing for which we still do not charge. Our clients happiness and our satisfaction with good work is our best reward. (might sound corny, but it's true.)
Do you take Credit Cards?
Yes but we add a percentage to the cost, because normally we don't charge our customers sales tax, but we must pay it. And taking Credit Cards costs us more. But we realize things can be tight, so whip out the plastic! And so far we take Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. We will need photocopy your photo ID to prove your visit to the credit card company should the need arise.
Do You offer Piercing?
As of February 2017, Rising Dragon will no longer offer Piercing. It is really difficult to find a dependable experienced piercer that meets our standards, and since Ivan no longer pierces for us, we'd prefer to just focus on Quality tattooing. We hope you've enjoyed the piercings you've gotten from us in the past.
Have you tattooed any celebrities?
You never know when celebrities will pop in, usually if they are doing a movie on location or nearby. Last year, 2014 Robert De Niro popped in after his son turned 18. Turned out his son searched us out on google, liked what he saw and brought Dad along! Most recently Taye Diggs of Private Practice and Grey's Anatomy fame. We've tattooed Ryan Reynolds (was hitched to my fantasy girl: Scarlett Johansson), Christina Applegate, Harold Perrineau (OZ and the matrix 2), Robby Rosa (formerly of Menudo) to name a few. "Almost Tattooed" were Ethan Hawke, who had Cjay draw up a few designs, Stephen Baldwin and Tia Carrere. Well, Ethan Hawke came in dripping an ice cream cone, but was nice enough to take a picture with me :) . And you know who I forgot, the first one ever I put his first tattoo on was Jean Paul Gaultier, who came with his own personal French assistant and broke my balls for 45 minutes over the shade of blue for his 1/2" star on his arm. Sounds just like a designer, don't it? Later I did Felipe Rose, better known as the Indian of the famous 80's band, "The Village People".
How old do you have to be to get a tattoo?
You must be 18 or over. Not any younger, doesn't matter if your parents will sign for you or swear on a stack of bibles. The New York City Health Dept. wrote that rule because in other states where one parent consented and they were a divorced couple, the other parent was upset their child was tattooed, and so you had a mess. So you have to be 18 on the dot, no ifs Ands or Buts. Be ready to prove yourself with a photo ID because ocassionally we will ask to see it.
Do you take "walk-ins" or must I make an appointment?
We always accept walk-ins if the schedule is light. We've actually hired more artists like Jason Barletta for example that specialize in Walk-Ins. Appointments are mandatory if you want to schedule anything after the day you are calling. In other words, a cash deposit is necessary for bookings into the future. People out of town or who can't come in twice can contact uas via email to pay a deposit by credit card a week or two before their appointment. We require deposits because unfortunately, many many many people have stood us up and hindered our business and didn't give it another thought.
So if you take Credit Cards, can I charge my deposit?
Credit Cards are no longer accepted as deposits, some naughty people, let's call them "pioneers of nasty", have ruined it for everyone. It's important that the deposit be binding, and we can only achieve that if it's in cash. The reason we don't refund them is because the dude is busy enough updating this website and doing paperwork. And the dude does not like paperwork (not even a little bit). That's why the dude's a tattoo artist and not an accountant.
Is it true your customers end up loving you guys?
We work here for hours and hours, it's a second home for most of us, and it's definitely more comfortable if we are relaxed and un-stressed. We like sharing that with anyone we can. Not everyone is receptive to that, I understand. Some people are very serious and that's what they want from their artist. I can understand that too, but believe me, after 30 years tattooing, the dude knows how to achieve a masterful tattoo and chll at the same time.
How do I take care of my tattoo?
Good Question, click on "Give me instructions", (to be updated soon) and you'll be shown a copy of the instructions we hand out to our customers. You can always print it out if you want to keep it handy. I can tell you that lately we've chosen to carry a new product by the H2O company that manufactures in the USA, no less, a greaseless cream that is fantastic for the care of your tattoo without messing up clothes or bedsheets.
Can I shower after a tattoo?
I'm a firm believer of showers, they are great. Cleaning any kind of cut is good for you. If there is any residue leftover from getting the tattoo, cleaning it gives germs nothing to feed on. On the other hand you should stay out of pool water and salty beach water until at least 7 days after your tattooing.
Can I walk in the sunshine?
If your tattoo is brand new avoid sun exposure. I always tell people not to forget that your tattoo is like an expensive scrape. The skin is exposed to harm because it has lost part of it's protective epidermis, so if you expose a tattoo to sun, the sun burns your skin with nothing to stop it. So avoid sun if you work outdoors wear a white shirt to reflect the sun or a dry bandage, but take the bandage off afterwards so your tattoo can breathe and heal faster.
What kind of SunBlock should I use?
It costs a little more, but such is the the good stuff in life...I now swear by Neutrogena "weightless" sunblock. It is so completely awesome. Weightless means greaseless and it means you don't feel like your slathering yourself in pig grease when you put this stuff on, and trust me, tattoo or no tattoo you'll be so happy you got on this stuff because Neutrogena makes fantastic skin care products.
I've had this tattoo for years, do I still need to avoid the sun?
Your tattoo will last a lot longer if you protect it. Try to use sunblock if you know your going to tan or be working or walking in the sun for awhile.
Well is it True that black ink will outlast color ink as the tattoo gets older or in the sun?
Black ink has a number of things going for it. First of all it is the darkest color, and with today's inks, the black is stronger than ever. Depending on what your artist uses for his/her black ink you can actually have two tattoos side by side where one will be much darker than the other. The fact remains that a whole lot of new tattoo artists can't put color in the skin very well. It is literally much more difficult to do than black ink. Black ink is also going to have a sharper contrast with anyone's skin color, be it white, yellow or so called "black" skin. Most black skin is actually a shade of brown so black ink will be darker.
Is it true there are two types of gray, someone called one type "japanese grey" what does that mean?
There are basically two grays: one mixed with white ink, and the other mixed with an antiseptic water-based solution. The second type is sometimes called japanese grey, because it is used in the tattooing of wind bars so common in japanese sleeves or backpieces. I like to call it portrait gray because I used it mostly for that. With portrait gray you can almost get an infinite amount of tones and blending. It looks real great on any kind of so called "colored" skin, and for this reason and because it's relatively cheap to make it became very popular wtih the mexican population of East Los Angeles. The tattoo artist Jack Rudy was one of the first to popularize it with "common" folk, and thus it's use spread to the East Coast also.
How do you guys sterilize your instruments?
We have converted to using disposable tubes for every person, anywhere from 1-4 tubes for each client. While this costs us more, it's becoming an industry standard and actually reduces expsosure and cross contamination possibilities to everyone, artist and client alike. If anything like jewelry for piercing is streilized, we use what's now becoming the industry standard - the autoclave. . We also like to spore-test our autoclaves regularly to insure us that they are still doing a great job at killing bacteria, viruses etc.
Does it Hurt to get tattooed?
Some people are annoyed by this question, but it really is a valid question because what people really want to know is how MUCH will it hurt. Yes it hurts,but: everyone handles it differently . What you feel depends on who you are, wether you had a good lunch, if you got good sleep that night, etc. I feel that the stress involved in getting a tattoo is good for people. It is very much like a healing ritual in which you volunteer to endure to reach a higher goal. Some people find getting a tattoo will snap them out of a depression for a while. The human body "rewards" you with endorphins to deal with pain. So the tattoo usually hurts only for the first 5 - 10 minutes and then you either feel numb in that area or you feel very good all of a sudden. I always feel like I accomplished something really good after getting a tattoo, and that's a good feeling. Of course, being rewarded with a beautiful tattoo is an even better feeling.
What part of the body hurts the least, what hurts the most?
The arm is the absolute easiest, the genitals would probably be the most, but since we don't tattoo those.....Areas where you have lots of muscle will absorb the needle better and as a result hurt less. The places that hurt more than usual are areas of either high nerve concentration, errogenous zones like inner thigh or areas right over bone like the ankle. Certain areas that hurt a lot like the ribcage usually are chosen by those with more experience. But if it's your first tattoo and you are nervous stick to the arm or leg. Really though I think people should get them wherever they envision the tattoo looking good regardless of pain, because once it's over you live with it for your ever, which might be a long time.
So, Arms and legs hurt the least?
Definitely, I'd be covered head to toe if everything was as easy.
Well what hurts more the outline or the color on the tattoo?
The outline typically, almost unanimously hurts more. Physiologically the outline needle typically goes in deeper, and the outline needle is shaped like a point, whereas the color needle is shaped like a small brush. The color needle therefore is interpreted as a blunt force. On the other hand because of endorphin release the coloring comes later in the pain cycle. Usually after about 3-4 hours endorphins wane, and even the color will seem painful. Also a very large tattoo where multi-sessions are involved there may only be color left to do on the tattoo, and thus the body has nothing to compare it to.
So I can get high or drunk to deal with the pain?
Wow, what a bad mistake. That question always reminds me of people who say they drive better when drunk. Alcohol makes your surface blood vessels dilate, which means you will bleed more and that means it will be harder to have ink spread evenly in the skin. People who are drunk I find can never stay still while getting tattooed. This is incredibly annoying, trying painting a straight line on a moving car for example, almost impossible. You want straight even lines you have to stay still. The main point however is that we want you to be a 100% with us when your being tattooed so you are happy with all your decisions later .
Are Tattoos addictive, why does everyone have so many?
Honestly, most people do end up getting more than one. I personally don't see anything wrong with that. A lot of people feel off-balance with just one tattoo. In my opinion there are three major rewards to getting tattooed.
- "Runners high" or endorpins after enduring something stressful like getting a tattoo or running 4 miles.
- The feeling of accomplishing something, enduring stress towards the higher end of a beautiful design on your skin forever.
- Attention from people, especially your own peers, in which the tattoo is appreciated for it's beauty or "coolness" (and don't underrate the sexiness factor).
Can tattoos be removed?
As much as I dislike this question, I have to admit there are definitely tattoos worth removing. Before we get into it however I have to say you shouldn't get a tattoo if imminent removal is on your mind. Almost every method of removal leaves some trace scar tissue. The best method is laser removal in which a laser vaporizes the ink particles in the skin. Old methods usually involved burning or abrading the entire area, definitely messy. If you like tattoos I suggest you look into getting a coverup from someone competent. Laser removal usually requires many sessions and the fees add up usually 3-4 times what a coverup would have cost.
If I have dark skin can I still get a Tattoo?
Absolutely, almost all of the artists at Rising Dragon have experience tattooing dark skin. The most important thing to understand is that the style should be adjusted for the design to be bold and show contrast well, especially if the person is very dark. In general I encourage having a large design tattooed on dark skin becauses it's easier to decipher the image. Believe me there's nothing more disheartening for a person with a new tattoo than to have all their friends wondering "what is that on your arm?"
But, Can people with dark skin get GOOD tattoos?
Notice I phrased the question like I did. If your artist knows what he/she is doing they will take into consideration just how light or dark you are.If you are light caramel colored than you can have black & grey ,red,orange,blue & green. Moderate colored skin I use black & grey & red. Red combines with brown skin beautifully. Really dark skin I say you should stick to black and shades of grey. If you look at my darkerskin page you'll see that that limitation doesn't stop anyone from having a beautiful tattoo.
How much does it cost to get a tattoo at Rising Dragon?
The shop has a minimum charge of one hundred dollars. All artists do custom work and charge about 180-200an hour. The rate in New York for top-rated artists is $250/hour, so we are still slightly below that, although I definitely consider us top-rated. Some artists in New York are even higher, like Paul Booth of Dark Images, charges as much as $400/hour. We are good and fast at the helm of the needle so while $180/hour might sound like a lot of money you WILL see the difference. More commonly we quote a price for the tattoo itself if it can be completed in one sitting. If we feel it will take more than one session to complete a price is set per session until the tattoo is completed. And don't forget you're not buying a bag of chips, or sneakers that might be the same from one store to the next. so choose your artist not based on price, but based on his/her work.
How does someone "become" a tattoo artist?
WhooWhee! What a doosy of a question. I will have to provide a short answer or a book of words. It is my humble opinion that the best tattoo artists are people inclined to prolific drawing. And I said drawing, not painting or sculpting. The discipline of linework in tattooing derives nicely from a skill like drawing. I would say apprenticing is unrealistic for many of the people who feel they want to become tattoo artists. There are no formal schools available. The artists who offer apprenticeships charge anywhere from $5000-$20000. This seems reasonable to me considering the time and personal attention necessary. Other artists expect 100% devotion and you work off your apprenticeship by doing all the dirty work in the shop. Most artists I know have a tough time being someone else's underling. A teacher of this kind of art must be on top of everything you do and that includes improving drawing skills and people relations. learning under the guidance of an experienced tattoo artist or two is absolutely the best way to avoid hurting people putting their trust in you and their skin in your hands. I don't offer apprenticeships in my shop because I don't have the time to properly devote to the person and I don't feel right asking for payment.
I feel personally responsible to only let the best people touch my clientel.You must draw very well and have good social skills to work at Rising Dragon. It's impossible these days to become a good tattoo artist if you can't draw, especially considering the high demand for custom work.I think most apprentices these days are friends with a good tattoo artist and have proven themselves as artists in other media. They pay off their apprenticeship by taking a very small percentage of the tattoo fee.
What does "Rising Dragon" mean?
There's a good question that is actually not a F.A.Q. Oh well, I felt you should know. Rising Dragon symbolizes a quest for reaching a higher personal level of self "perfection". Perfection being impossible to achieve, the dragon is always "rising" and not "risen". Dragons for me mostly symbolize passion. Although I've been tattooing for fifteen years I still have a passion for creation. I think it's wonderful that there are people out there who have enabled me to make a business out of something I love to do.
How long have you the staff at Rising Dragon been Tattooing?
Wow, Everyone at Rising Dragon has been Tattooing 10 years or more, (except Wendi and Jason, at 6 years)
To speak for myself (Darren) 30years! And I can hardly believe it! So much has happened. 25 Years for Horisei, 16 years for Paolino, , 12 for guest artist Jace from Madrid.
How can someone be a better Tattoo Artist?
If you're already tattooing and your not sure what's going on, or you want to improve yourself, I suggest the following:
- Draw any chance you get. Whenever possible make a complete drawing for a custom tattoo. Go all the way with color and shade and do 2 or 3 different drawings if you can. This way you work out the possibities on paper and you don't end up wishing you could have done it differently.
- Go to Tattoo Conventions or other shops and witness how other people do things like set up their shops or showcase their flash or portfolios. Warning: be very cordial with other tattoo artists because they sometimes bite.
- Expose yourself to other art experiences, not just tattoos all the time. It's very refreshing and good for the mind and soul to experience different things. If you even get to practice a different art medium like say painting you may free your soul and register differnt shapes and compositions you may be able to apply to tattooing. Whatever you do make your second artform something nowhere near as stressful as tattooing. Something with less rules and more forgiving of "mistakes".
- For God's sake try to stay humble. Art on skin can be very impressive, especially to people who can't draw on paper. But if you let all the compliments get to your head you become complacent with yourself and you don't try as hard. And remember --- there is always someone out there that can tattoo better than you so be humble and keep learning.
Do you tip a Tattoo Artist?
Now there's a good question. In a perfect world I wouldn't tip a waiter or waitress because I HAD too. The service should be better than just "good enough" which is what you get in most places. If a tattoo artist has gone out of their way to make things good for you, or really set you up with something sweet, than by all means. What's typical? $10-$20 bucks or about 10% of the cost.
Darren (The Dude) of Rising Dragon Tattoos, NYC