What makes a good tattoo?
To find the answer to this question, we went to a conference earlier this month in Wichita to learn about the history and art of tattooing. An expert in this field is Rob Dolecek, owner of Wichita's Lucky Devil Tattoo located on Douglas Street.
Dolecek’s style is Japanese inspired, but his specialty is photo replication. He says he often sees the same designs over and over, but he prefers authentic designs. He works with his clients, sometimes with hours of consultation, to make original tattoos that have personal meaning for the client.
Rob Dolecek, owner of Lucky Devil Tattoo
According to Dolecek, some drawings work for tattoos, others do not. How the skin ages and the details of the tattoo are considerations in the overall design. Dolecek is not a big fan of text. When thinking about the approach to creating a tattoo, Dolecek says that it is similar to the layers applied in a watercolor. He starts with an outline, and then creates shading. Color is the final step.
Although he loves his current shop, Dolecek plans to move to Colorado. In Wichita, there are more tattoo shops than steady client business, producing a saturated market. It is difficult to know how many tattoo patrons there are. The state regulated Board of Cosmetology oversees operations of tattoo artists who have shops, but many artists are undocumented, working from their homes. Furthermore, apprenticing tattoo artists is a lucrative business; but these artists have no guarantees for work after the apprenticeship is over. Because of lack of steady business, some long time established tattoo artists in the Wichita area are migrating elsewhere.