While treated with caution by many, Friday the 13th is certainly a lucky day for inked fanatics and tattoo newbies alike. Tattoo parlors have made a tradition of offering discounted tattoo specials to walk-in customers on these fateful Fridays, usually occurring only once or twice a year.
For those new to the tattoo world, getting a flash tattoo at a lower price can be the perfect way to start collecting new ink. Before choosing to attend a Friday the 13th special, it could be helpful to know a few things about flashes.
There are two types of tattoos: custom, which is a unique tattoo designed by the customer and the artist together, and flash, a preexisting design drawn by the artist that the customer chooses.
Flash tattoos are small, pre-drawn and colored designs that are displayed in tattoo parlors and easy to get inked in a single session. They are commonly about the size of a quarter. The customer has the option to select color or black ink, but the customization options stop there. Because they are pre-made, flash tattoo designs are usually not up for negotiation. Flashes might not be the best choice for customers looking for creative control or a one-of-a-kind piece.
Flash tattoos can either be market — popular designs that are commonly displayed in parlors — or collector. Collector flashes are rare and may only be available for limited amounts of time. Tattoo artists draw their own collector flash tattoos, which makes the designs much more unique as only a small number of customers may get them.
For special events, tattoo parlors may design a themed set of collector flashes, and in the case of Friday the 13th, the number 13 is often featured in these designs. Tattooing the number 13 to the skin has historically been a symbol of good luck — many believe that bad luck will see the existing misfortune of a number 13 tattoo and pass over the inked person. If they do not contain the number 13, Friday the 13th flash designs will most likely follow an equally spooky or taboo theme.
Former “Ink Master” judge Oliver Peck is the tattoo artist credited with the first Friday the 13th special. What started as a tattoo party for himself and his friends turned into a 24-hour tradition at Dallas Pair O’ Dice Tattoo, which has since closed its doors. “I definitely wasn’t the first person to do it, the number 13 tattoo on the Friday the 13th,” Peck said. “But, I definitely made it an event.”
Per Peck’s tradition, Friday the 13th tattoos are widely only $13 a piece, with a $7 tip. Such a price for a tattoo is incredibly low, as the cost to hire a tattoo artist is usually about $150 to $200 an hour, or $80 at a minimum. Today, some parlors stick to the traditional $13 flash, but other parlors may decide to raise the price to justify the long hours. Whatever price the parlor may be offering, it is essential to remember that tipping is always part of the deal.
For local San Luis Obispo newbies and ink lovers alike, there are multiple local tattoo parlors holding specials on this Friday the 13th:
- True West Tattoo: first come first serve, flash tats ranging from $50 to $150 from 11 a.m. to close
- Lucky Hat Tattoo: taking bookings, $55 tattoos and $25 piercings from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.