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Parlour Chat: A Touch of Jaz

As promised, here the conversation between J. Bakes, who has a fab back tattoo from Black Lotus, and Jaz about what first timers should look for in a tattoo shop, how to avoid scarring, and what colors work best for which skin types. Enjoy!

“…As a tattoo artist, you have to be delicate, especially with women”
True story. I’m alone, laying on a table basically topless, with at 250lb+ man moving a needle up in down my back—and i’m the most calm and comfortable I’ve been in some time. I’m chilling in the private studio of master tattoo artist, Jaz Toeque, owner of Jaz Tattoo/Black Lotus Gallery in Brooklyn, NYC talking all types of smack, listening to a mix of Nine Inch Nails and Burning Spear and generally enjoying time to myself. Of course, tattooing isn’t for everyone, but when it comes time to get some ink, think of it with the same care as choosing a doctor—after all this is your skin and once it’s done…it’s done. With over 15 years of experience, i’m in good hands and my back piece is looking awesome, so much that I thought I’d share—Jaz took some time to answer some common questions about our purrty skin, tattooing, as well as how not to end up with “Mookie Forever” on your thigh.

Parlour: Jaz, your resume and network stretches across the globe, yet you have chosen to open your studio in Brooklyn as opposed to Manhattan? What made you stay close to home? Jaz: I think Brooklyn needs me. Black Lotus is a high profile shop, the things that we offer here are not the usual that you have in Brooklyn.

I’ve heard you stress that Black Lotus, and you especially, don’t really engage in any “flash work” and focus on custom artwork. What was to motive behind that decision?
Well I’m tired of people going to tattoo parlors and picking something off the wall and seeing someone else walking behind them that picks the same tattoo. I believe tattoos are a personal thing so everyone should have their own image – something that fits them, to show who they are. So I believe I came back to NY, to Brooklyn, to do that.

What should any woman take into consideration before getting a tattoo?
Location, location, location!

Do you have any specific techniques that are catered just for women? Do you take certain precautions?
Light hands, figuring out the best possibilities for their body and making sure they are 100 percent sure of their decision before we start the process. Doing a consultation before the appointment so we see eye to eye works best.

Are there any tips you’d give a fair skin woman versus a darker skin woman when getting tattoos and caring for their work?
Yes, definitely. Fair skin women can get almost any other color they want while dark skin women should choose darker shades of ink up to black. Another thing is location. For all women, some places may be darker than others, so we must pick locations that are lighter and will show the work better.

In your opinion, what are the key indicators of a well-run tattoo shop?
First timers should look for a nice welcome when upon entering the shop. Secondly, look for great portfolios, third, good service and delegating which artist will do what for that client. Fourth, look for a great tattoo. We stress that aftercare is a must, and at Black Lotus we give you strict instructions to take care of your tattoo.

We’ve seen some pretty nasty scaring on some chicks, what should our Parlouristas do before and after to avoid sub-par work?
Scarring sometimes depends on the artist who is doing the work, and whether they went too hard or overworked the tattoo. We definitely don’t have that practice at Black Lotus at all. Every tattoo artist in my shop is certified and knowledgeable about all skin types. Not every tattoo artist is fluent in skin and the different types and not everyone who gets a tattoo has the same skin, so as a tattoo artist, you have to be delicate, especially with women.

Check out Jaz & his crew over at Black Lotus.
NY/NJ folks, don’t forget to RSVP for Parlour x Black Lotus’ “In Celebration of Her Skin” this Saturday, Nov. 14!
Rsvp here: rsvpjaztattoo@gmail.com
Image: C. Zawadi Morris of NYTimes.com

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