We headed down to the Love Hate Social Club parlour in Notting Hill to meet with the world-renowned tattoo artist...
We met with tattoo guru Ami James, best known for his time on TLC’s Miami Ink, at an opening night for one of his shops, Love Hate Social Club in Notting Hill, London.
After watching him add some finishing touches onto a particularly beautiful piece of ink, we sat down with the tattoo artist to quiz him on some of the biggest dos and don’ts.
What is the most common tattoo that you’re asked for? Or is there a particular ink trend you’ve spotted?
Right now what’s trending the most in the shop is lettering. It’s the most common question that everybody wants to know – ‘can you do lettering on my ribs?’
Everybody wants letters on the ribs.
What’s the most painful place on the body to get a tattoo?
It differs, you know. Some people feel their ribs are the most painful. Ribs, the back of your knees… Your butt really hurts, and it’s not a bony area!
Is there a place on the body that you would recommend for a beginner? Maybe someone who’s a little nervous about getting their first tattoo?
I think you should just get it where you want to. You get the tattoo where you think that’s the placement that you want. You shouldn’t think about the pain.
Is there anything you can do beforehand to prepare your skin? For example, if you’re getting a leg tattoo, should you shave your before you go to the tattoo parlour?
I mean it always helps when they shave. The problem is, though, sometimes people that shave cut themselves. So if you don’t shave a lot, leave it to the artist.
And aftercare – what are the top tips for looking after your tattoo?
Aftercare is tricky, ’cause not everything works for everybody in the same way.
I’d say you should try and use what your artist suggests because it’s his work that he’s trying to guarantee success with. And if it doesn’t work for you, don’t insist on using it and try different ones.
What advice would you give to any young people who want to get into tattooing?
Get an apprenticeship. Find yourself the shop that will give you that chance, that break, because to learn it at home, you think you can figure it out, but YouTube isn’t going to teach you much.
Is there anything to look out for when trying to decide on a tattoo parlour that’s good, health and safety-wise?
We’re solving that. One thing I’m working on is TattooDo, which is the biggest tattoo website in the world. It’s one of my companies with my two partners.
What we’ve been able to create is a platform. It’s a global thing, a global effort by all the right tattooers to try and control the quality of them.
You can download the app and when the software updates by 2017, we will have a way to direct you to any place in the world to get the best tattoos in the country.