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McKnight Gallery Knoxville, TN

Frequently Asked Tattoo Questions

Tattoo FAQ :

Are Tattoos Safe?

As long as you go to a reputable shop or artist that follows all recommended safety precautions, tattoos are perfectly safe. Most importantly make sure you're fully honest about any medical conditions you have.

Personally we go above and beyond the current industry standards expected of tattoo artists. As of writing this we are the only shop in the state that utilizes independent 3rd party testing on tattoo ink brands used in our studio. We’ve also developed our own cross contamination prevention system in collaboration with Dr. Donna Fraser DDS. Our methods now align with those used in surgical environments in addition to the stringent requirements set by local health officials.

All of this ensures your personal safety and health for the life of your tattoo. You can be sure that no harmful chemicals or carcinogens are being injected into your skin, thus making sure you don’t have any health issues down the road from the permanent ink. (See Our Testing Results Here)

We provide a full aftercare starter kit for every client that walks out of our doors, this includes wraps, tape, an aftercare pamphlet and our favorite ointment. We will never wrap your tattoo in food-grade saran wrap!

Do Tattoos Hurt?

First and foremost pain tolerance is very different for everyone. With that said —yes it does hurt. But not that much! Some have compared it to a “constant cat scratch."


But, the truth is people would not be coming back for tattoo after tattoo if it hurt that bad. Most of us don’t like pain, but the tattoo and the new love it gives you for yourself along with the pride associated with wearing it, far outweighs a short moment of pain here and there. Please refer to our chart below to compare what most people believe are the easiest vs most painful areas to have tattoos.

Tattoo Pain Chart Knoxville

Can I Numb The Tattoo?

Our answer is YES! Many artists have different opinions on this, but here we encourage anything that will make your experience a more comfortable one. More importantly if you believe that the pain of a tattoo might make you more wiggly or impatient, use numbing cream. Most artists would greatly appreciate anything that helps you sit still for the procedure, as this helps them do their best work. In our experience the brand most popular with our clients is “Painless Tattoo Brand” you can find their website HERE .

Remember to follow the directions of the tattoo numbing cream. Typically this requires you to have a heavy amount of the cream on the area to be tattooed, do this an hour prior to the start of your session and be sure to cover with plastic for best absorption.

How Do I Prepare For My Tattoo?

Please do not drink alcohol or use any blood thinning or anti-inflammatory medications such as Aspirin and Ibuprofen within 24 hours of your appointment. Please avoid excessive sun exposure at least 2 weeks prior to your appointment, this also goes for at least 2 weeks after your appointment.

Avoid wearing heavy fragrance or deodorant. We also recommend that you wear loose fitting comfortable clothing. Make sure you aren’t wearing anything that will limit access to the area being tattooed. 

How Much Will My Tattoo Cost?

When it comes to tattoos, you get what you pay for. All of our artists charge a rate unique to them, so you can visit their page for more information. There are plenty of people tattooing out there that will charge very little. But, look for quality, reputation and safety standards first and foremost. You never want to haggle over the price of a tattoo. It is very disrespectful to any artist in any industry. Besides, we can’t tell you how many times people walk into our shop saying “But I got this one for $40” and leave. Then come back a few days later hoping to have it fixed. We are always happy to help but beware, as this will cost you even more in the long run! Think of it this way, it’s a piece of art you'll wear every day for the rest of your life.

Do I Tip My Tattoo Artist?

Tipping is a really nice gesture and it’s always a way to get your artist to remember you. But, there are no solid ground rules for tipping how there are in the restaurant industry.

Can I Bring Friends?

We ask that you limit the amount of visitors to only 1 extra person. If you’d like to have more visitors with you for the tattoo, please message your artist and see if they are able to accommodate them. 

What Should I Get? And Where?

This is all a matter of personal taste. You can get whatever you want, and whatever your artist is willing to do. Your only limit is your own imagination, even better give your artist a rough idea and let them do what they do best. As for where you should get it, just keep in mind what you do for work and the type of social circles you are in. You might want to consider placing your tattoo where it can be easily covered up with normal clothing.

What Is the Best Time of Year to Get a Tattoo?

Although you can get a tattoo any time of the year, your skin gets a lot more abuse during the summer months between swimming, sun, and just being exposed to the elements more. Relatively fall and winter time is really the best season to get a tattoo.

How Long Before I Can Swim With My New Tattoo?

Typically we always say wait 1 Month before taking a bath, swimming or getting into a hot tub. This may vary depending on the speed of healing. DO NOT swim in any natural bodies of water before your tattoo is fully healed, this can lead to life threatening bacterial infections. Showering is ok!

Can I Get A Tattoo If I'm Sick?

Getting a tattoo when your immune system isn't at 100% is a terrible idea. It is also very inconsiderate to bring your illness into the tattoo studio and risk passing the germs onto others, particularly your artist. If you have an appointment, please call and reschedule for when you're feeling well again.

Is Tanning OK When You Have Tattoos?

It might be really tempting to get some rays during the summer months or hit up the tanning salon, but the facts show that over the years this will ruin your tattoo. With that said, we understand you have to live your life. At the very least use sunscreen on the areas you have tattoos.

I Just Got a New Tattoo on My Leg - Can I Shave?

It will take some time for your skin to heal enough for you to shave again and it can vary from person to person. We usually recommend waiting at least 1 month before shaving or submerged bathing.

What Is The Process Of Getting A Tattoo Start To Finish?

We're glad you asked! Here is the typical process from start to finish when working with us.

1st - You’ll Want To Start With An Idea: It doesn’t have to be exact, just an idea your artist can run with. Some like to bring in reference images of other tattoos they like, others like to just throw a bunch of ideas at the artist and let them figure the rest out. 

2nd - Think About Placement: You’ll want to have a general idea of where you want the tattoo, sometimes this changes once you meet with your artist. Our goal is always to create a tattoo that fits you best and flows with your body perfectly.

3rd - Find Your Favorite Artist: This may be the most important part, most artists are capable of many styles of art but you always want to pick the artist who’s work resonates most with you! If we don't have an artist that is skilled in the style you want, there are many other great artists in the city that we can point you towards.

4th - Book Your Artist: Now that you’ve done your research it’s time to schedule a consultation. Just visit the Contact Page with everything you know, fill it out and submit. We can accommodate both in-person and phone or text consultations, whichever you prefer.

5th - The Consultation: A consultation is really just a casual conversation with your artist. This is a great time to get a feel for each other, to see if both of you are on the same page and get along well. From there you will talk about the ideas, best placement, how long the wait will be and anything else important to the process. Never feel pressured to book at a consultation! Feel free to go home and think about everything, tattoos are very permanent and the process should never be rushed.

6th - The Tattoo: On the day of the tattoo take a shower so you have nice clean skin, eat a big hearty meal prior to your session and bring a bunch of high energy snacks with drinks. This keeps you going strong throughout the process. You want to make sure you aren’t fidgeting or moving too much as this will negatively affect the art.

7th - Dealing With The Pain: You have to accept that getting tattooed won't be a comfortable process. Distractions help, stress balls, headphones with your favorite music or audiobook, bringing someone to talk to while you’re getting it done. If you ever feel overwhelmed just ask your artist for a break, they like to take breaks also and we never want you to feel uncomfortable asking.

8th - Aftercare: Thats it, you’ve got a tattoo. Now you’ll want to take care of it properly so that it heals great, your artist will run you through everything in person, along with giving you a starter kit including everything you need. You will receive non-stick wraps, tape, ointment, soap and an aftercare pamphlet to take home and use. For a more in depth look just visit our aftercare page HERE

Are You Hiring Or Looking For Apprentices?

 Yes! We are always looking for amazing members that bring new color and light to our team. With that said, be aware that we don’t typically bring on artists with traditional views on the industry, to work with us you have to be willing to learn and change when better information and techniques come along. We always push to experiment and perfect everything we do, not only for our clients health and safety but also our own.


We also draw a hard line when it comes to negative people who like to talk down on others in the industry. Tattooing is an amazing career and one of the few you can make a living as an artist, we do not take this lightly or for granted. For this reason we never condone hate of others doing their best within this industry. It's our belief that we should lift others up, collaborate and help them improve every chance we can. Contact Us if you have an interest in joining.

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