Modify Your Thinking - Artists and OSHA training

9:00 PM Anis Widayanti 0 Comments

This Friday the 13th Annual Lady Luck Expo, supported by M.O.M. Productions and Absolute Tattoo,  sets up shop at the Circus Circus Reno Hotel and Casino in downtown. 

Several national and international artists will come from as far as Canada, Massachusetts, Florida and as close as your back door here in Reno, ready to ink your skin. 

Tim Azinger, event creator and producer of the Lady Luck Expo said healthy tattoo standards are a huge part of his practice and of  the artists who participate in the Lady Luck Expo.

"Part of caring about tattooing is caring about our customer's safety as well as our own," Azinger said. "That is the direction that tattooing is taking and we want to do everything we can do to provide a sterile event." 

Artists who tattoo at Lady Luck had to submit an application to the health department and get a temporary license to work at the convention. Besides working directly with Washoe County to go by their set guidelines, Azinger also offers local artists the opportunity to improve their game. 

Kris Lachance of Safe Art Works hosts a seminar for local and visiting artists to attend before the Expo begins. She's been doing it for Azinger for 13 years. This year, the event is called  "Modify Your Thinking," a Bloodborne Pathogens Seminar. 

Offered  to professional tattoo artists and piercers with an opportunity to be OSHA certified, Lachance enjoys her trips to Reno and sticks around to enjoy the Lady Luck Expo for herself. 

"I love coming to Reno," Lachance said. " I love the show, It’s an amazing show. It's very well organized." 

And for tattoo artists nationwide, 

 "I wish more would invest in educating themselves with industry specific classes like this." 

Lachance bought her own tattoo shop, Splash of Color & Piercing Studio  in '97, and at the time, there were no industry specific standards in Michigan. Interested in raising the bar and bringing more credibility to the industry, she looked at the medical and dental fields and took what applied  to fit the tattoo and piercing industry.  Lachance started working with David Zidra of Health Educators, Inc. for 17 years but three-years-ago she branched out on her own and created Safe Art Works. 

Lachance wants to bring professional artists together in a unified voice to raise the bar and level the playing field. 

"When it comes to sterilization and infection based control, it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, if you’re not educated properly, you're making an assumption," Lachance said. "There are no federal regulations for tattoo practices, no standards, anyone can open a shop. Standards are minimal for the amount of exposure we have to blood and body fluids." 

 While Lachance is passionate about equipping tattoo artists and piercers with material that will bring healthier practices to the industry she also hopes to make really clear  that the purpose of her Seminars is not to limit or hinder freedom of expression but to build a strong base to practice art from.

 "It has nothing to do with stifling anyone artistically," Lachance said. "You will be able to practice longer and do more artistically if you have this training." 

Those in the industry know that "scratchers" may enjoy creating art on your body from the comfort of their living room, but they aren't known for doing it safely. 

Professional tattoo artists typically maintain some measure of health standards to protect both the artist and the customer from infection and disease.  Without respect for safe practices, the industry has been tainted by lower standards since exposure to bodily fluids can cause viruses and bacteria to spread if not handled correctly. Knowing how disease is spread and avoiding exposure is an important part of the entire experience for  professional tattoo artists.