Flash, for those of you who don’t know is what tattooers call the designs on the walls of a tattoo shop. Flash is cool. Its how you know you’re standing in a tattoo shop and its an important part of setting the stage for a proper tattoo experience. Flipping through the designs and imagining what they might look like on your arm or wondering who on earth might want such a thing is part of what getting a tattoo is all about, even if you aren’t actually considering a design from the wall for yourself. Every other day I have some one ask me if people actually still just walk in and pick designs from the wall, with condescending high-horse superiority in their voice. Yes, people still do. Although just barely, and honestly its a shame. In the last 10 years I have done tens of thousands of tattoos across dozens of different subjects. Hundreds of zodiac symbols, hundreds of fancy script names, hundreds of flowers, cherubs, crosses, koi fish, tribal do-dads, maple leaves, looney tunes characters and literally a thousand live-love-laughs. The art that the vast majority of the tattooed public wants is not unique to its owner, and that’s a fact…and there is nothing wrong with that. If anything it proves that certain things are classic and universal. A rose tattoo is every bit as essential and timeless as a pair of blue jeans. A well curated flash collection is peppered with designs that have real history, and choosing a design from it certainly doesn’t make you any less creative or individual than it would by printing off an image from the first page of Google image search.
I fully support the decision to bring in printed reference from the internet with you when you’re planning on getting tattooed, but please understand that eight out of ten times the images from the internet will not make suitable tattoos. Blurry images of photoshop illustrated designs rarely make good tattoos because they were never intended to be on skin in the first place. Where might you find such a collection of suitable-for-tattooing ready-to-go art? try the wall at your local tattoo shop.