In order to answer that it would depend on personal preference and taste. “Flash” often has a negative connotation in our industry, which is unfair.
To clarify, many accomplished tattoo artists produce their own flash sheets that they sell at conventions and online resources to customers as well as other tattoo artists. Tattoo artists often collect other tattoo artists flash sheets just as they would any other type of art. Many tattoo artists were painters, illustrators, etc. before they were trained tattoo artists. This background and experience of painting and design usually work to their advantage when designing a custom tattoo piece for someone. Therefore flash sets designed by tattoo artists are generally the best choice over some internet sites whose designs are mass produced and whose designs are not “tattoo-able”. Many tattoo shops cover their walls with a wide variety of flash art. This usually is considered a “flash shop” or street shop” where the artist do not create custom work and tattoo the exact design you choose . A custom shop will work with the client and their ideas to create an original piece of art. Our shop caters to both types of clients. We have a small amount of flash that clients use for reference if they walk in and have no idea for their tattoo, but the majority of our clients want our artists to create an original piece so it is unique, regardless of size. It is an artistic challenge and very rewarding when ideas come to fruition in a cohesive design for clients.
The direction you choose on your tattoo is all personal taste. Some customers love the novelty and fun of random “spur-of-the-moment” tattoos. We have had clients blindfolded until their surprise tattoo (picked by a friend or spouse) is revealed, leading to some pretty funny moments. On the flip side of the issue, many bring in folders full of reference and have dreamed of their tattoo for years. Whatever the method of thought on your tattoo, remember a few things. Even though the internet is full of tattoo designs, not all can be tattooed without alterations to make it a design that can be tattooed and will hold up with time. Many designs are too detailed and cannot be tattooed “as is” at a reasonable size. Some images are better left as artwork and not tattooed. If you bring in your own drawing, whether drawn by you or a friend, the same scenario applies. More than likely your artist will have to refine the drawing or re-work it to make a nice tattoo. Whatever the situation, be open to the advice and recommendations of your tattoo artists, it is their profession by trade. Choose an artists that fits your taste, vision and style of tattooing you prefer. You and your artists should come to an understanding and be able to help you achieve the tattoo you desire together. Ultimately, it is your tattoo, but your artist is there to guide you.
Be open minded, creative and have fun. In our business weird, wacky and creative are the norm. We hope you enjoy your tattoo for years to come and that your experience in our studio brings many smiles.
The flash photos shown are by some of our artists in the studio. Phil Luck’s collection of flash is available on his websitehttp://www.luckycharmtattoo.com/ for purchase. Mike Biggs artwork is available at the following website http://causticimagery.com/