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Tattoo parties gain popularity but are illegal, dangerous

Friday, Aug 30, 2013 3:19 PM
Last updated Saturday, Aug 31, 2013 2:24 AM
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Though a big proponent of tattoos, Derek Van Cleve has ink on his arms that he wasn’t initially thrilled with.

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Daniel Miller, 29, has attended about a dozen tattoo parties. Miller, who is an apprentice tattoo artist, got his start in Cincinnati where his brother is a professional tattooist and tattoo parties are popular.   EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Daniel Miller, 29, has attended about a dozen tattoo parties. Miller, who is an apprentice tattoo artist, got his start in Cincinnati where his brother is a professional tattooist and tattoo parties are popular.

A frog and a palm tree that he once wore on his right arm have since been covered. Some of Van Cleve’s other tattoos, including a parrot and a sunset, also were reworked to conceal the original artwork.

For him, the designs serve as permanent reminders of tattoo parties he attended in Florida about a decade ago.

“They’re all covered up but two, and those are going to be covered up soon,” said Van Cleve, who is days away from opening his own shop, The Asylum Tattoos and Body Piercing, on Wrightsboro Road.

Tattoo parties, which Van Cleve refers to as “practice parties,” are just as they sound. A tattoo artist, who might not be licensed, provides body art without regulation and sanitary supervision at parties that often occur inside homes or hotel rooms.

They’re also illegal.

“People are smoking and drinking,” Van Cleve said. “It’s not a good idea at all. In a shop, it’s regulated. You’re not spreading hepatitis. You’re not spreading HIV.”

The prevalence of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, coupled with easy online access for purchasing the necessary equipment and supplies, is making the trend more popular, according to Richmond County health officials and local tattoo artists.

“It’s a lot more frequent now then it used to be,” said Kenny McGee, a co-owner of Aces and Eights Tattoo in Augusta. “We constantly fix tattoos from home parties or a buddy doing it at the house. You also occasionally get people coming in trying to buy equipment from you.”

Chris French, the owner of Lucky 7 Tattoo, said he is frequently approached in his downtown shop to provide tattoo services at a birthday party or other social gatherings. As a licensed artist, French is allowed to operate only at his parlor, and he said he would never risk his reputation or livelihood by breaking the law.

French doesn’t see the illegal parties as a deterrent to business. If anything, he said, it provides job security because many people, like Van Cleve, are unhappy with the final result.

Party-goers should be more concerned about the obvious health risks at such events, said JeWayne Dorsey, an environmental health specialist at the Richmond County Health Department.

“Whoever is performing these services, they’re performing them without the proper sterilization techniques, and they may not even be knowledgeable themselves of what they’re doing,” Dorsey said. “A lot of people get into it because they think there’s a lot of money involved, so they skip the proper guidelines.”

The health department has recorded just a handful of tattoo party complaints since the county’s stricter body art ordinance went into affect in January 2012. So far, no one has been cited.

The penalty for operating without a license is a maximum of a $1,000 fine and 60 days in jail, at the discretion of a magistrate judge.

Randy Wishard, the county manager for environmental health, said he would encourage issuing a warning before giving out citiations.

“I honestly believe there’s a lot of ignorance there,” said Wishard, adding that tattoo parties often attract the underage crowd who can’t get work done legally at a permitted establishment without parental consent.

Wishard said his agency receives the bulk of complaints from licensed artists working in the industry, but the information typically comes well after a party is over.

“They can go out and knock on doors,” Wishard said. “That does little except to educate them. It does nothing in prevention.”

Dorsey said another issue they run into comes when a recipient of a bad tattoo goes to get the work fixed at a professional parlor but is reluctant to give away too much detail.

“They won’t say anything because it’s their friend, and they don’t want to rat them out,” he said. “That’s a problem for us also. Our hands are tied. What do we do now?”

Still, McGee says that more can be done to prevent the parties from occurring and that plain ignorance shouldn’t be excused.

“We have rules for a reason,” said McGee. He said he has called the health department several times to report such occurrences.

“If it’s going to be a level playing field, then it should be a level playing field for everybody,” he said. “It’s not going away because there are no consequences for it.”

Comments (26) Add comment
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Riverman1
90284
Points
Riverman1 08/30/13 - 06:44 pm
9
0
Yeah, I don't want to ruin my

Yeah, I don't want to ruin my body at an unlicensed place, I should only do it at a licensed one.

seenitB4
93468
Points
seenitB4 08/31/13 - 04:25 am
6
0
Suggestion

Try it with spray paint before you make it perm..

soldout
1280
Points
soldout 08/31/13 - 04:30 am
8
0
why

I haven't figured out the why of having one. Is it insecurity or a desire to bring attention to one's self? It seems very strange to me that one would want to mark up their body. I hear some want to mark an event and maybe that's like building an idol to an event or person. Maybe it is filling a void that a relationship with Christ would fill but people do lots of things to do that. The only clue I ever hear is someone say " I got that one in a weak moment". Maybe some get one because others have them. What's sad to me is for a beautiful women to get one and when you see her the first thing you notice is the tattoo. It's like God didn't know what He was doing when he designed the body so I need to improve on it and take your attention off of it. What ever the reason, if you want people to notice the real you don't distract them with a tattoo. People are free to do what they want but others are free to form an opinion of that person based on their appearance.

Bodhisattva
6801
Points
Bodhisattva 08/31/13 - 05:25 am
10
0
What the ????

Out there somewhere? Personally, I see no need to stick needles in my body unless it's medically necessary. If that's your thing, go for it, but who in the heck is dumb enough to have unsterile needles stuck in them (outside of a junkie maybe)? Dumb, dumb, dumb. Party? Who cares? You might as well say, "Yeah, I got a little drunk and we played Russian roulette." For all practical purposes, that's exactly what you're doing. I repeat. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Graymare
3613
Points
Graymare 08/31/13 - 06:39 am
3
2
And then there are...

And then there are tattoo parties where actual licensed tattoo artists who own a local business come to someone's home and with their clean equipment. It's a great way for them to earn some extra money and get some new customers who would prefer to come to their shop. Not sure if it's legal but I've heard of a few.

nocnoc
46983
Points
nocnoc 08/31/13 - 07:06 am
7
0
All types of parties.

Tupperware parties, political parties, bachelor parties, and community block parties.

I thought things had gotten weird with Botox parties, and Sex Toy parties.

But with Private Tat parties and the increased risks of transfer of AIDS, HEP, and frequent infections that result, Go to a TAT parlor if you want TAT.

Young adults should seriously consider any Tattoo and/or the amounts of tattoo's. Because like it or not Tattoos are a societal, career/job and income limiting factor. So if you plan to go to Main Stream Business after your degree, AVOID the VISIBLE Ink Stream.

justthefacts
23832
Points
justthefacts 08/31/13 - 07:07 am
4
0
Tats-the next day

"How it got there I haven't a clue". "Wasted away again in........."

soapy_725
43947
Points
soapy_725 08/31/13 - 07:22 am
0
0
Funny how individualist become just another group. LOL
Unpublished

Funny how individualist become just another group. LOL

soapy_725
43947
Points
soapy_725 08/31/13 - 07:24 am
0
0
soapy_725
43947
Points
soapy_725 08/31/13 - 07:25 am
0
0
Every life is a puzzle. Incomplete without the GOD piece.
Unpublished

Every life is a puzzle. Incomplete without the GOD piece.

soapy_725
43947
Points
soapy_725 08/31/13 - 07:28 am
0
0
Style over substance. Our Great Society? Our downfall?
Unpublished

Style over substance. Our Great Society? Our downfall?

CobaltGeorge
170089
Points
CobaltGeorge 08/31/13 - 07:37 am
2
1
How Can Anybody

reach that special pleasurable moment when you make love with a mural?

Little Lamb
47862
Points
Little Lamb 08/31/13 - 08:05 am
1
2
Maybe

From the story:

JeWayne Dorsey, an environmental health specialist at the Richmond County Health Department, said, “Whoever is performing these services, they’re performing them without the proper sterilization techniques, and they may not even be knowledgeable themselves of what they’re doing.”

I'm sure some people are using less than perfect sterilization techniques, but it doesn't have to be that way. You can sterilize a needle in a home just as well as in a licensed tattoo parlor. The license is not a magic potion that makes everything all perfect there.

In Louisiana they license florists. In Georgia they do not. Are Louisiana floral arrangements prettier than Georgia floral arrangements?

allhans
24480
Points
allhans 08/31/13 - 09:01 am
2
0
Ugh!

Ugh!

albertoli
189
Points
albertoli 08/31/13 - 09:55 am
5
0
sad

Insecurity? Undoubtedly.

unapologetik
964
Points
unapologetik 08/31/13 - 10:08 am
0
2
These comments..tsk tsk tsk

These comments..tsk tsk tsk

oldredneckman96
5115
Points
oldredneckman96 08/31/13 - 01:42 pm
3
0
Tattoo
Unpublished

People who make flawed decisions usually belong to the same group. Drug addicts. The decision to abuse drugs, from tobacco to pot to alcohol to pills and beyond sets an individual up for a failed life in every aspect. As they spiral down to the bottom most usually past through a tattoo parlor of some sort, in jail, in town or in a dump. Tattoos are admittance to the general public that their life, as a human, is over. I like tattoos, it makes these types easy to spot and avoid.

GiantsAllDay
10242
Points
GiantsAllDay 08/31/13 - 01:57 pm
0
3
Oldredneckman, Judge much?

Oldredneckman,
Judge much?

InChristLove
22481
Points
InChristLove 08/31/13 - 02:22 pm
1
2
"Tattoos are admittance to

"Tattoos are admittance to the general public that their life, as a human, is over."

Odd, I have 2 small tats, worked since I was 16 years old, been on the same job for almost 30 years now and make just under $25 an hour. Own my own home, my vehicle, and a camper. Raised a family where my children are responsible adults, never been in jail, used drugs, or abused alcohol (say abused because I'm sure my sons have tasted evil spirits behind my back) and both graduated high school, one went to college, and for the life of me I fail to see how my life is over or should be classified in the same group as drug addicts. Seriously, oldredneckman96?

GiantsAllDay
10242
Points
GiantsAllDay 08/31/13 - 04:03 pm
1
1
ICL

+100

oldredneckman96
5115
Points
oldredneckman96 08/31/13 - 08:20 pm
2
0
Tattooed
Unpublished

ICL and GAD, really, one or two tats and you belive the thug you meet in the alley is your buddy? Go ahead, take one home for lunch. Every snake you see is not posionious, go ahead and pick one up.

spotted_assassin
67
Points
spotted_assassin 08/31/13 - 11:48 pm
0
1
My life is over, because of my tatt...huh?

oldredneckman, I have currently 10 tattoos and am looking to get more before it's all said and done with. I have never had any run-ins with the law, and am raising a Duke-tip scholar! How are you coming to this conclusion that tattoo means my life is over? Please elaborate.

InChristLove
22481
Points
InChristLove 09/01/13 - 06:11 am
1
1
oldredneckman96 "one or two

oldredneckman96 "one or two tats and you belive the thug you meet in the alley is your buddy? "

Huh???

Where did I mention thug or say anything about a buddy? You said "Tattoos are admittance to the general public that their life, as a human, is over."

And I responded to THAT comment......never mentioned thug, never mentioned bringing anyone home for lunch, never mentioned having one for a buddy.

corgimom
36455
Points
corgimom 09/01/13 - 07:24 am
1
1
Anybody dumb enough to get a

Anybody dumb enough to get a tattoo at a tattoo party deserves what they get.

It ranks right up there with the dummies that go to silicone parties and have Billy Bob Whazit inject their bodies with silicone- and then wind up with a disaster.

boomhauer
650
Points
boomhauer 09/01/13 - 08:33 am
1
0
Ugh, I can't stand tattoos. I
Unpublished

Ugh, I can't stand tattoos. I don't have one and never will. Why would anyone want to do that to their body, especially women. Oh, and I'm not fond of body piercings either, it's just unhygienic.

But hey it's a free country, so if you want to look like an idiot so be it.

JRC2024
9918
Points
JRC2024 09/01/13 - 09:02 am
0
0
If you want on, get one. I

If you want on, get one. I have a niece who has several who is a nurse and the hospital makes her cover them and a nephew who is a pharmD and very smart. Can't say I like them but their decision. Both of their parents were really upset.

LillyfromtheMills
14018
Points
LillyfromtheMills 09/01/13 - 10:49 am
1
0
The Ones I got in prison

Are much better than the ones you get on the street - hehe - ICL - I'm proud of you - I've never had the inclination to get a tat - what are yours?

Darby
28313
Points
Darby 09/01/13 - 12:28 pm
2
0
Can't belive I agree with Bod on anything....

"Personally, I see no need to stick needles in my body unless it's medically necessary."

.
but he's right as rain on this one.

Darby
28313
Points
Darby 09/01/13 - 12:31 pm
2
0
Flash forward....

seeing these fools trying to get a job in some occupation other than a small, fast food or similar establishment.

Now creating their own "employment crisis".

InChristLove
22481
Points
InChristLove 09/01/13 - 01:46 pm
0
1
Lilly, happy to say mine were

Lilly, happy to say mine were done by a professional in a sterile environment. They are personal and in a location on the body that no one can see them unless I choice to have them seen.

Darby, not sure who you are referring to "fools" but choosing to get a tat or two hasn't hindered my career advancement or employment opportunity. You'd be surprised who all has tats that aren't visible to the public but you have a right to your opinion. Just doesn't mean everyone with a tat is stupid or a fool.

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