By: Regina Bullock
If you’re into tattoos like I am, then you understand the importance of both a good tattoo artist and a clean shop. Tattoo parties may be convenient because they are cheaper, but nothing beats the experience of a having a tattoo done in a nice shop. I’ve been to three different tattoo parlors and there are two that I would definitely recommend. They are Darkwave and The Painted Bird. Both are easily accessible by T and have quality artists.
Darkwave is located in Roxbury, a few blocks away from Dudley station. At first I was skeptical because of its location. Usually you have to go outside of the city for good tattoos. Darkwave was one of the first tattoo parlors in Boston. When you walk in, you know they mean business. The decorations of shrunken heads and other dark looking artifacts add to the Darkwave experience. The artists each bring something different to the table as far as their specialties and styles, so no matter what type of tattoo you are looking to get, someone there will be able to do it and do it well. As far as cleanliness and professionalism, Darkwave passes with flying colors in my book. Each booth is private and very clean. Another thing that’s great about Darkwave is that they give really detailed before and aftercare instructions, as well as A&D ointment for free. Darkwave also specializes in piercings. I got my first tattoo done at Darkwave and it was definitely a good experience. It cost me $80. I thought that was a little pricey considering that all I got was a letter, but it was worth it. Darkwave accepts walk-ins.
The Painted Bird has locations in both Medford and Somerville. I highly recommend the Somerville location. It's a short bus ride away from Lechmere station. The staff was really friendly and made you feel right at home. When I realized that my initial tattoo idea was going to be more expensive than I thought, they worked with me to design and size my tattoo according to how much I wanted to spend. My artist even drew out different variations of my tattoo idea to improve it and keep the cost down. They also specialize in all piercings. It’s super clean and the atmosphere almost makes you want to go get more tattoos just so you can hang out there. The Painted Bird gets bonus points from me because they offer 1 free touch-up of any tattoo that they do. Their website answers all the questions you could have about getting a tattoo before you even get there. They are pretty reasonable with their prices. I got my last tattoo there. It was more elaborate than my first, but I only paid $100 for it.
My latest tattoo from The Painted Bird
I had another tattoo experience that made me really appreciate the quality of artists like you see at Darkwave and The Painted Bird. I had a job in Quincy and there was a little shop on the corner. In an impulsive moment, I decided to get a tattoo there one day after work. About a week later, the tattoo faded so bad you couldn't even see it. After a year and shedding a few layers of skin, the tattoo is now visible, but if I want it fixed, I have to cover it over completely because the letters are so cramped. I learned my lesson about going to little hole-in-the-wall spots for a tattoo. If you are looking for quality tattoos without having to troop to the boonies, I recommend you check out either Darkwave or The Painted Bird. The artists are great and they provide quality services. Both of these places meet the hygienic standards of tattoo parlors. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
2129 Washington St.
Roxbury, MA 02119
The Painted Bird
622 Somerville Ave. #1