We are pleased to be open again to serve you in these unprecedented times. We want to preserve this by following all CDC guidelines as closely as possible. This means that we have to do things a bit differently every single step of the way, from booking to the day of the appointment. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment, please review the information below as well as our Contact Us page for full details on the current process. We look forward to seeing your masked faces in the near future!
One of the common things I hear from people when they are thinking about their next tattoo is that they have an idea of what they want but feel stuck as to where to place it on their body.
The first thing I want to say is that its ok not to know! By no means should not being sure of placement hold you back from moving forward with your tattoo idea. If you have your basic concept in mind, your tattoo artist should be able to talk you through options as to where to place it on your body.
Because placement is important there are a number of things that I consider when working with my client to find the best place on the body for their new piece of art. Below are five questions to help you think about the placement of your next tattoo and to spark helpful dialog between yourself and your artist.
1. Is the tattoo something that you want to be public or private? For example, if you get text on your arm people are going to ask you what it says. This may be great if it is an affirmation that you want to discuss and be reminded of. It may prove not so good if the tattoo is about something personal. Ask yourself, do I want to perform the story of this tattoo to strangers? If the answer is no then avoid tattooing the design in areas that are most readily seen like the wrist or forearm.
2. Will the tattoo affect your work or other aspects of your life? Although tattoos are more accepted in the workplace then ever before, stigma around tattoos is still very real. Especially when it comes to hand, face and neck tattoos, consider that depending on your profession an interviewers bias could mean that a tattoo looses you a job. I may ask my clients questions about their reasons for getting a tattoo in one of these highly visible places. This is not because I am trying to judge them worthy of getting this tattoo. I apprenticed under a tattooer (the incredibly talented Natan Alexander) who instilled in me the concept of “do no harm” when it comes to tattooing. I want to have real talk with my clients about what visible tattoos can mean for their life. If my client is young and/or not very tattooed I want to make sure that I am not aiding in them making choices that might negatively affect them. I suggest not placing a tattoo in one of these 3 places if you know that you will need to cover it up to keep your job, work in an industry that does not accept tattooing or are unsure of your professional goals. Odds are there is an alternate location that will cause you less stress in the long term.
3. How does the placement support the intention of the tattoo? Switching now from the practical to the more esoteric. When it comes to intentional tattoos, the intention of a given piece can be enhanced by placing it on a corresponding energy center. If you are getting a piece about opening to love or protecting your heart, why not put it over your heart chakra on the front or back of your body? In some esoteric models the left side of the body is the feminine/lunar/receiving side and the right is the masculine/solar/acting side of the body. Knowing this you might choose to place an design that is about what you want to bring into your life on the left hand side or put a sword or more martial element on your right. In doing so you can align your tattoos with the energetic patterns that are already present in your body.
4. Does the design fit with the anatomy of the body? This is a huge one. Just like the lines of clothing, tattoos can visually enhance curves and musculature or detract from them. The overall shape of the tattoo design should fit the body part both in size and geometry. For example, the curve of the top of the shoulder/deltoid suggests a round or oval shape whereas the back of the arm/triceps wraps diagonally and will distort a round design. Your tattoo artist is skilled in knowing what shapes will fit well with particular parts of your anatomy and may have helpful feedback when it comes to this particular consideration.
5. What is your long term plan for your tattoos? If you are getting your first few smaller tattoos but plan to get larger work in the future, don’t compromise your canvas. Placing a small tattoo in the middle of a limb or back means that you might be forced to cover up or work around the tattoo in the future. I suggest that my clients place smaller tattoos near a joint rather than in the center of a limb. For example, on the wrist or near the elbow crease as opposed to the center of the forearm.
<3 <3 <3 Gratitude as always to the history and tradition of tattooing for all it has given me and to my two best teachers, the school of hard knocks and my teacher and partner Natan. <3 <3 <3
My name is Larry Allen & I am the newest artist here at Witch City Ink. Before my move, I had known about Witch City Ink for years, both through the Boston Tattoo Convention & individual artists working out of this cool & very unique studio up in Salem, Massachusetts. When I started looking to relocate & find a new studio to call home, Witch City Ink was my only choice.
I was welcomed with open arms and have found the staff to be not only super easy to work with, but extremely dedicated to their clients & craft. New clients who are considering Witch City Ink can expect a great experience, not only because I now work here & it’s easy for me to state such a thing, but because I’ve seen their work ethic 1st hand. A combination of the art produced and artist commitment to their clients makes for a rock-solid experience.
About me & my style… If you’ve read my bio on my portfolio page or my website (lallentattoo.com), you’ll know I was, amongst other things, a former teacher. I enjoy explaining things to people & helping them understand the what, how & why of what I’m doing. I think people enjoy being ‘in the know’, especially if they are new to the world of tattooing. As far as my style, I do a lot of different types of tattoos, but I specifically like doing black & gray florals and bright, vibrant watercolor-style designs.
To those I have already tattooed here at Witch City Ink, thank you for your trust, confidence & gracious warm welcome to Salem. I look forward to meeting and working with many, many more of you!
written by K Lenore Siner
Many people come to Witch City Ink looking to get a memento of their visit to Salem, most often something related in some way to the Salem Witch Trials or to witch craft in general. More often than not, I find that my client has only a vague notion of what the symbol they have chosen to wear permanently on their body means, and I at times I lack the ability to clearly explain the meaning of what I am tattooing. So I’ve decided to start blogging on some of the most common symbols that I tattoo and their meanings as a way to further educate myself as hopefully interest future clients as well.
Hands down the most commonly requested symbol is the pentacle.* The pentacle is an ancient symbol used by many cultures through out time. It was used by the followers of Pythagoras, the Jewish and Christian Mystics, and the ancient Babylonians. The symbol was coopted by several 19th century Western Magical traditions and also became a central symbol to the Neo-pagan movement in the 20th century. Add to that, the inverted pentacle was adopted by the Church of Satan in the 1960’s as its official seal and Hollywood has also had its fun over the past decades using it as an image of evil or “anti-Christian” beliefs.
With such diverse history, the pentacle has many different meanings to different people. However most meanings draw from its connection to the number 5 because of its geometry. Thus the pentacle is connected to the human microcosm -the 4 limbs and the head, the 5 fingers and the 5 senses – as well as the macrocosm – the 5 elements and the 4 directions plus center. Thus it speaks to the magical concept of the macrocosm with the microcosm, or that which exists externally (in the world) also exists internally (in the self).
5 is also a circular number and a number of manifestation as when 5 is raised to its own power, it produces itself again in its last digit.
The pentacle is often used as a suit of the tarot instead of coins or disks, and corresponds with the element of earth.
In Western magical and neo-pagan traditions each point of the star corresponds to a particular element. One may invoke an element, and the powers of that element by drawing the star starting from a particular point. This is of particular interest when tattooing a pentacle for you can enhance the intention of the tattoo by being mindful to the manner in which it is tattooed. The circle around the star can be seen as a magical circle, containing the energies invoked within.
One thing that frequently comes up while tattooing is the meaning of the inverted pentacle verses one with the point up. Many people associate the inverted pentacle as “evil” because of its association with Satanism and its use in pop culture horror movies. By looking at the attributes of the points of the stars its easier to understand possible meaning and decide for yourself what, if any truth that has. The pentacle point up places Spirit at the top, with Earth ascending towards Spirit. Inverted, Spirit is ascending towards Earth. This is read either as a focus on the internal journey of finding the Divine with in oneself, or as placing carnal or “earthly” desires over those of Spirit.
So why get pentacle tattoo? When it comes to tattooing magical symbols, intention is everything. Especially with a symbol that has been used so diversely, connecting clearly to your purpose in wearing it creates the matrix in which it can function. Looking at the above correspondences a pentacle tattoo can be an intention of focusing on manifestation and physical abundance, a way to dedicate yourself to the study and understanding of a particular element or direction, a reminder of the macrocosm within the microcosm,a symbol of your neo-pagan practice or just that “witch star thing” that people wear in Salem. No one intention is better than the other and each will lead the wearer down a different path.
Thanks for reading! I would love to hear your thoughts, your experiences of wearing a pentacle tattoo or requests for other symbols to blog about – please message me at @snakeoclock
Art is Magic, wear your Magic!
– K Lenore
*There is some debate as to the difference between a pentacle and a pentagram. Some sources say that a pentacle is a physical object while a pentagram is a drawing or diagram. Others say that that pentacle refers only to a paton or magical tool that can be inscribed with a variety of symbols. For the purpose of this article a pentacle is the encircled, 5 pointed star, in any of its forms.
Its Halloween in Salem and we have been busy busy busy at the shop! To celebrate the “most wonderful time of the year” (lol!) we are running a special for small Halloween flash designs October 17th- 31st. $75 per tattoo – first come first serve – walk-ins only. Here are a few of the dozens of designs our artists have tattooed this week:
Also a reminder that our shop Halloween party will be held on Halloween night, October 31st from 7pm-12pm. Come on by, meet our artists and enter our costume contest for a chance to win a $300 Witch City Ink gift certificate!
Happy Solar Eclipse day! Here is a small selection of some sun and moon themed tattoos our artists have done. Enjoy the eclipse and safe viewing!
Alas, you’re probably reading this with an eye roll, tapping your tattooed fingers on the table wondering when you’re going to hear the end of this debate. Answer: never. Because equal chances are that you’ve seen some really, really cute pictures of perfect finger tattoos on Pinterest or Instagram and are looking to get one yourself (see header). Whether it’s your first tattoo and you just like the look or you’re working on a full body suit, the do’s and don’ts of finger tattoos are always a good topic.
The truth of the matter is that finger tattoos are a gamble, at best. Take a moment to think about your hands. How much you touch with your hands each day, how little muscle and/or fat you have on each finger, how much work they endure in an afternoon. Though tattoos are permanent, your hands don’t have the thick layer of skin needed to hold the ink in, resulting in a tattoo that “falls out”- i.e. a fresh tattoo that can look sloppy, unfinished, or look years older than it is. Another common downfall of a finger tattoo is a tattoo that is “blown out”, or where the ink doesn’t hold in the spot and expands under the skin, turning your nice clean line into an ink blot.
This does NOT mean you shouldn’t get what you want. Many people decide on this tattoo and love the result. We tell you this because with the rise of social media and with celebrities popularizing the finger tattoo trend, many aren’t aware of the risks that come with this sort of tattoo. You should always go with what you want, it’s your body, just don’t be surprised if you come across an artist or shop that don’t do this or try and talk you out of it. As much as it’s your piece it is also the artist’s reputation, and no one wants you leaving the shop with a bad tattoo!
Last week we talked about the all important, yet often neglected, pre-tattoo care. This week we’ll be addressing its twin, the after process.
We appreciate that every artist has different suggestions for aftercare. And that’s to be expected! Each artist has a technique comfortable for them, and every body is different and thus has different needs. That being said there are a few well known moves that will greatly help you in your healing process:
- Keep the dressing on your tattoo given to you by the tattooist for at least 2 hours Your tattoo is, frankly, an open wound when finished. Like any cuts you want to put a bandage on it at first to protect it until you get home.
- Remove the dressing and wash down the area with warm soapy water. Do NOT scrub or soak the tattoo & pat the tattoo dry with a towel and leave uncovered The reason you don’t keep your fresh piece covered for very long is because you want it to scab as soon as possible. The scab helps lock in the color, so any damage to the scabbing will affect how well the tattoo looks when it’s healed.
- *Apply a lotion to the tattoo up to 3 times a day & wear loose clothing to avoid irritating the tattoo So here is where we start to verge from our helpful info graphic. Here at Witch City Ink we recommend a light, scent free lotion (our artists are also big fans of Hustle Butter) whenever your tattoo is feeling tight. For those with sensitive skin, a small amount of A&D can also be helpful. But extended use of either product will affect the scab forming and thus potentially harm your tattoo. If you are using A&D you should only use it for a couple of days, and for lotion you should use sparingly for as long as needed.
- DO NOT PICK OR SCRATCH at the scab of your tattoo. This will make the healing process longer, disfigure the tattoo, remove the ink and even cause infection. Seriously, just google what an infected tattoo or a poorly healed tattoo looks like when you feel the urge to itch and you will stop itching real quick.
- Avoid swimming and being in the sun during the healing process At the end of the day the healing process is all about taking care of the delicate scab that is covering your new tattoo. Keeping a scab submerged in water or baking in the sun will only cause serious harm to the scab and thus to your piece.
- It will take around 7-10 days for your tattoo to heal, sometimes longer depending on where the tattoo is. Personal anecdote to explain this one- when I got a small tattoo on my wrist, it formed a scab within a day and was all healed up within the week. My thigh piece though, which is much larger and has color, took almost a week and a half to heal and was still tender after that. Every body is different.
- After the tattoo has healed continue to keep your tattoo out of direct sunlight. This will prevent it from fading. This last after care instruction is a universal truth! Sunlight is death to tattoos, new or old. All tattoos fade to a degree over time, but give your piece the fighting chance it deserves with sunblock and coverage during those sunny days.
Everyone has questions about how to best take care of their tattoo but few people realize how important the pre-tattoo steps are. We love this graphic from BuzzfeedDIY that illustrates the best steps to take before you even get in the shop.
Of course each shop and tattoo artist will have different ideas on whats best for you and your tattoo, and at the end of the day you know your body best. But these are all steps we strongly recommend that will help you get through your tattoo session like a champ!
Well, 2016 has been a fun one but I think we’re all grateful for the holidays and the start of a new year. We are definitely grateful for everyone who has supported us this past year and are eager to give back! We want to show how much we appreciate your business and also your trust in creating beautiful pieces of art by having a very special sale this week: All of our Gift Certificates will be 20% off!!
We hope you will take advantage of this once-a-year special, to give the gift of beautiful body art to your friends, family, and of course yourself. Gift Certificates can be purchased online, in the studio and over the phone: 978.744.9393.
We are truly grateful for you all and hope you have a wonderful holiday season!!