Sunday, October 18, 2009


I love tattooing. I love the art, the challenge and the rush it gives me, and  I am eternally grateful to the people in my life who have helped me get into tattooing, whether it be financially, or the people who let me tattoo them when I first started, or even my friends who totally believed that I could do it, even when I wasn’t sure of it.
That being said, there are a lot of misconceptions about tattooing, at least where I am tattooing at now, so I figured  I’d  take advantage of this blog, which I rarely use, to dispel some of these myths and kind of vent to everybody about things you do that drives me crazy, and is sometimes is just plain offensive to your artist.
First off, I am pretty much done doing flash tattoos, its keeping me awake at night knowing that at least once a day I put a tattoo design on someone that  1000 other people in the world have. I have a style that I do, that I like, and that’s what I specialize in. If you’d like to bring me some flash or pictures, as a reference, or to show me for some ideas, that’s awesome, that’s what I like, someone who’s done their homework and isn't just going to pick some random tattoo off the wall. Come on people, challenge me, be creative and use your minds and pick a tattoo that means something to you. I’m tired of doing tattoos that don’t fit the person. A tattoo is the perfect  way to express your individuality, however, be yourself, because a tattoo isn’t going to make you something your not.
Second off is pricing, my pricing is totally based on the client and the piece. A lot of tattoo artists charge by the hour, however, I feel its unfair to the client and  limits my creativity. After all I am  doing a tattoo which will be on you for life, neither you nor I wants to feel hurried, so I don’t charge a hourly rate. I usually just charge by the piece and what I think it would take if I charged roughly $80-$120 a hour, which is way under the normal hourly rate, call your local artists and test me.
Like I said before, I go by the piece. If you have a budget let me know I will work with you as much as possible, but this might limit the size or potential of the tattoo.
Which brings me to the next issue:
Obviously, I’m not going to charge someone who comes to me once a week the same as someone who I’ve never tattooed before, so don’t come at me with a price I gave someone else as a reference for what your tattoo will cost.
“So how do I get you to draw me a tattoo,” you ask?? Well, the best way is for you to come into the shop and get a personal tattoo consultation from me. If your not local, I can do email consultations. During this consultation, you bring me all the reference material you have, and you will sit down with me and pretty much explain to me, in as much detail as you can, the tattoo you would like to get. I will tell you what I think about the piece and make some suggestions.  If I have the time that day, I am always down to do a tattoo. However if I am booked the day of your visit, I will require a deposit  for the drawing and the appointment. This just makes sure that your serious about your tattoo, and I will put that money towards the price of the tattoo, plus, its only $50.
The day of your appointment I will show you what I drew, if you don’t like it, be honest, I have tough skin and  I can make whatever changes you need the day of the tattoo, no sweat, however afterwards, yeah, its going to be a little tougher. NOTE: If you cancel your appointment , or if you’re a no show, or over 1 hour late for the appointment, you lose the deposit. My time isn’t free, and I’d rather not spend my time drawing things that I’ll never get to tattoo, when I could be working with another client. I will not allow you to leave with the artwork, until the tattoo is complete. I do not draw for artist, nor do I appreciate other artists tattooing my work. I am available for guest spots and am going to try and hit a few large tattoo conventions, all dates will be posted on at least a few months before.
I will do touch-ups only for 6 months after you receive the tattoo. If your tattoo needs a touch-up you will know with-in the first month, and its included in the price of your tattoo. I do not touch up tattoos after 2 months, nor touch up tattoos due to fading caused by sun or tanning beds. If you are dark skinned my vibrant colors might not be as bright on your skin tone.
Aftercare: After one hour remove the wrap/bandage. After removing the bandage, wash your tattoo with warm water and liquid anti-bacterial soap firmly (make sure all blood and ink has been removed). Pat dry with a clean towel. Wash with liquid anti-bacterial soap and wrap with seran wrap before bed. In the morning remove the wrap. After removing the wrap, wash your tattoo with warm water and liquid anti-bacterial soap firmly (make sure all blood and ink has been removed). Pat dry with a clean towel, and apply a thin layer of A&D ointment 3-5 times daily. Do this for 48-72 hours. After tattoo begins to flake off (like snake skin). You may begin to use non-scented lotion. Rub lotion completely into skin. No swimming, hot tubs, sun or soaking in a bath tub for 2 weeks. DO NOT pick at your tattoo, and be sure to apply SPF 50 to tattoo after healed when in the sun or tanning bed. Please, DO NOT listen to friends, family ,co-workers, etc. on how to care for your new tattoo, they are not artists and can mess your whole tattoo up. If you have any soreness, redness, or concerns please contact me, all my info is listed below.


Where is your shop?
I work at Xdream Xpressions Tattoo Studio
17 Hampton Park Blvd
Capitol Heights, MD 20874.
It’s a short drive from DC, and is accessible via Metro Blue Line, the closest stop is Morgan Blvd.

What are your hours there?
Wed- Thurs 1:30 - 8 pm
Fri- Sat 1:30 - 9 pm
Mon 3-9 pm

Do your have a shop minimum?
Yes, the shop minimum for tattoos is $50, and $40 for piercings.

But “blah blah ink”  is cheaper, why so much? 
I don’t compete with any other artists or shops. My price is my price. If you don’t like it go ahead and pay someone else do your tattoo. My work is worth more then I charge And if the price is that big of  a issue, I don’t want you as a client anyways. Nothing is more offensive to a artist when you try and put a price tag on what you think their art is worth to you.
That being said, I understand we’re in a recession, and times are hard. If you are working with a budget, please, just be up front with me in the beginning, and let me know what your working with, so I don’t draw a sick $500 piece and your working with $60 bucks. So many times, I’ve asked someone what their budget is like and everybody always says “oh, no budget, man,“ so I draw the sickest tattoo I can, only to find that its too steep for Mr. Moneybags and then they’ll try and haggle with me, just so you know, that’ll get you kicked out of my chair.
All I ask is that you just be honest with me.

Will you do my tattoo party?
Hell no. No amount of money in the world could get me to do another tattoo party. I totally believe they are ruining the industry, at least here, is more then likely adding to the blatantly rampant AIDS problem in DC.  Honestly, if you go to Youngstown, Ohio, where I started tattooing, and said something about a tattoo party, they wouldn’t know what you were talking about, and probably would look at you like your crazy. TATTOOS ARE MEANT TO BE DONE IN A STERILE SHOP ENVIROMENT, not on a hotel room table, which hasn't been cleaned since who knows when?!

What would you charge me for “blah blah” tattoo?
Its nearly impossible for me to give a accurate tattoo price quote over the phone, Myspace, Facebook, Twitter etc, so I don’t even try.  I draw nearly every tattoo I do custom for the person and I would have to see the area to be tattooed. The best thing I would say is to come in for a personalized tattoo consultation, that way I can know for sure what I’m getting into and we can start on the sketch and make a appointment to get your ink started.

Would you draw me a tattoo and send it to me?
HELL NO. All my artwork that I draw, I tattoo. You actually think I’d let my artwork leave the shop for someone else to do? I will commission some art, however, I barely have time to draw someone's tattoo and your better off coming to me for a tattoo.

Do you do Piercings?
Yes, I do piercing as well. My piercing prices follow below:

Ears (lobe) $25
Nose $40
Eyebrow $40
Lip $50
Labret $50
Navel $50
Tongue $50
Nipple $60 or 2 for $100
Septum $70
Industrial $75
Hood $100
Labia $100
Ladder $100
Prince Albert $150

Do I need an appointment? 
No. I take walk-ins. But it’s always best to schedule an appointment, to make sure that I am available.

How do I make an appointment? 
Call the shop: (301) 333-1236

How much are Touch-ups?
I stand by all my work, and sometimes tattoos need touched up, especially large scale color pieces. If you think your tattoo is going to need a touch-up please get a hold of me within 6 months, and I’ll be sure to get you scheduled for a touch-up, it will be included in the price of your tattoo, however you may have to pay a small sitting fee for the shop.

Do you do Apprenticeships? 
Um, perhaps? I would have to be very impressed. If you have a serious art portfolio, and a real drive to learn how to tattoo, get at me.

What is the best way to contact you?
The best way to get in contact with me is to call the shop on a day that I work.  You can also email me:


Thanks guys,
Bobby Rotten

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