Tattoos come in all shapes, sizes and colors but the quality of artwork depends on the artist who is placing the design. Tattoos can show how a person feels about a family member or have artistic, cosmetic or sentimental meaning. Either way tattoos are a growing trend surging across the United States and world.
Darik Dang, of Oakhurst, is part of that growing demand and prides himself as being a highly talented "body art" artist.
Recently, Dang has opened a tattoo shop called Bloodline Tattoo Company located at 40713 Highway 41, behind Todd's Cookhouse Bar-B-Que.
Bloodline opened on Sept. 1, following the acquisition of Dang's blood-borne pathogen certificate and the necessary licenses and permits in accordance with Madera County regulations and new state laws.
Since opening, Dang has seen a steady flow of customers and is already booked through mid-October. Dang says he is excited and optimistic about the success of his newly acquired studio.
"I'm really happy to be doing this for a living, it's something I have always had a passion for," Dang said.
With tattoos becoming surprisingly popular in recent years and amidst foreseen problems working in other shops, Dang decided to embark on the journey of opening his own studio.
Born in Portland, Oregon to parents Denny and Kim, Dang spent most of his life around art. His parents were hobby artists and practiced specific art techniques like pencil art and oil painting.
Dang says he has been drawing for as long as he can remember and regardless of what people said he knew he wanted an artistic career.
"I would always draw on my school work and homework. I drew whenever I had a chance," Dang said.
While attending Rex Putnam High School in Oregon, Dang found himself drawing every opportunity he had and by the age of 16 completed his first tattoo, on himself.
"I used a electric shaver, a filled down guitar string and a fork," Dang said.
Since then Dang has rid himself of such improper techniques and has worked for more than 11 years perfecting his love for art in the form of tattoos. He has spent 8 years as a professional artist working in four shops and creating thousands of artworks over the years.
A new California state law, which took effect on July 1, 2012, has dramatically increased the safety and awareness of tattooing. The Safe Body Art Act requires tattoo studio owners and operators to abide by certain criteria to ensure the safety and cleanliness of tattooing in California.
It requires owners and operators to annually register with the county, obtain annual blood-borne pathogen training, provide documentation of Hepatitis B vaccination status, obtain specific health information from clients, obtain "informed consent" from clients, receive annual health and safety training, and agree to at least 25 other provisions.
The new law regulates tattooing, branding, body piercing, and permanent makeup. It also states anyone under the age of 18 is prohibited from getting tattooed regardless of parental consent.
The cleanliness and professionalism of tattoo artists is prevalent in television shows like L.A. Ink and Ink Master (Spike TV). These shows, along with others, demonstrate the safety of tattooing and have reduced the negative stigma of body art, as well as promote the rapid growth of the enterprise and network of inked individuals.
Jennifer Biscaglio, of Oakhurst, who has nine tatoos on her body, feels tatoos are a great way for a person to display something they are passionate about and to express themselves.
The wolf on her right thigh took three, three-hour sessions with Dang and she is so happy with his work, she's going to have him do more.
"I've decided to have him (Dang) add a family of wolves under the big wolf," Biscaglio said.
She said Dang has a 'soft touch' and the wide-spread belief that getting a tatoo is very painful, is over-exaggerated.
More and more doctors, nurses, mothers and grandmothers are getting "inked" which is prevalent in a report issued by Pew Research Center in 2007 finding 40 percent of those aged 26 to 40 have tattoos.
Dang, who loves doing portrait tatoos and considers himself a neo-traditional artist, says he loves art and couldn't see himself doing anything else for a living.
"I'm living the dream," Dang said. "I'm doing what I love and it's hardly even work to me."
As the demand for tattoos grows Dang wants to assure people tattoo parlors are not the scary, dangerous places people once thought.
Dang said one problem with a lot of tattoo artists are their inability to adapt, something he prides himself on being able to do.
"It's (tattooing) changing and evolving so much...you have to keep up with the evolution of the industry or you will fall behind," Dang said.
Dang, who has numerous tattoos himself, has spent the last decade designing and placing tattoos all over people's bodies as an artist in someone else's shop. Now he will venture into the realm of shop owner and operator.
Tattoos at Dang's shop are priced by job depending on the colors, detail and size of the desired art and can range anywhere from $60 to $1,000.
Details: (559) 683-2566.