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Flaming Gun Tattoo Studio, where magic happens!
Flaming Gun Tattoo Studio
Member Name: Stephoohla
Flaming Gun Tattoo Studio
Date: 23/11/09, updated on 23/11/09 (586 review reads)
Advantages: Excellent service, friendly staff, high quality tattooing and very hygienic
Disadvantages: Difficult to get an appointment booked, fairly expensive
Flaming Gun Tattoo Studio, as suggested by the title, is a tattoo parlour. It is located in Colchester, Essex, and is easily accessible from the surrounding areas: Ipswich, Chelmsford, Clacton, Braintree, etc. It is in Colchester town centre, right in the heart, and is a medium sized shop, with two rooms (one being the reception, one being the tattooing room), all painted in black and red, which are the shop's colours. The logo, Flaming Gun in italics writing, is also in black and red and easy to spot.
The shop is owned by Julie Clarke, a tattooist, and Kai Edwards, the piercer and shop manager). There are a couple more members of staff, another tattooist called Martin, and an assistant, Karen. They are Health Department registered, which gives the customer peace of mind when considering this parlour as a place to get their tattoo or piercing.
So what makes this different from any other tattoo studio? I came here for my first tattoo last year. I was nervous, and when I walked in, far from feeling intimidated as most tattoo virgins do, I was put instantly as ease by the friendly woman behind the counter. I had to give her my design that I wanted, and she discussed a few things with me, and really made me sure that it was exactly what I wanted. One thing I noticed in particular about this place right away was that they are very reluctant to tattoo meaningless tattoos. Everytime I've come here they tell me to really think about my design and make sure it really means something to me.
Flaming Gun have loads of artwork on the walls in their reception - mostly of tattoos they've already done, and a few pages of designs and patterns that customers can choose from for a tattoo. Flaming Gun never seem to just tattoo you right away without thinking about a design thoroughly, and they have a poster on the wall that tells you they will never just tattoo any design you've picked off their wall or you've found on the internet, they'll always edit it a little to make it personal to you and unique from any other tattoo. Of course if you design it yourself that's a different story as it's one of a kind anyway.
There's a nice atmosphere in the shop, and all the staff are really friendly, especially Martin and Julie (they are both really talkative and chatty which takes your mind off the pain when they are tattooing you!).
One unfortunate factor of this tattoo studio is that you do need to book months in advance most of the time as they are so booked up. Julie is the most busy tattooist, and she actually doesn't take bookings anymore as she's got half a year completely full already! Instead you just give her your artwork and she'll give you a call months down the line when she's got available slots. Unfortunately, this is the price you pay for a bloody good tattoo artist! Not many people will wait that long for a tattoo they want and instead go to a different place of lower quality, but each to their own. I had heard a lot of good recommendations of Flaming Gun before I went there, and had seen lots of artwork done by Julie and Martin, which was amazing, so I decided I'd rather wait a few months and get a truly amazing tattoo done. So if you plan on getting a tattoo done here, I recommend booking as early as possible. You will have to leave a deposit with them, just for their security that if you don't turn up then they don't lose lots of money. The deposit varies depending on how much your tattoo costs altogether, but is normally between 25% and 50% of the price of the whole tattoo.
The first tattoo I got done was a logo of my old band on my arm. It measured about 3 inches by 1 inch, and was green and black. I laid down a £45 deposit a month beforehand, then paid £45 more on the day. It took just over an hour.
My second tattoo was some Mario characters on leg. Deposit of £90, £90 more on the day, and this took 3 hours.
The tattoo I am currently getting is of a guitar and amp and the background, which takes up the whole of the top of my arm. It's been estimated to take around 8 hours! I've already gone for 3 hours and have paid £180 for that (£90 for deposit, £90 on the day), and am going back twice more for the remaining hours. It is costing me £60 an hour for the rest of the time I am tattooed for.
Most big tattoos are priced by the hour in Flaming Gun, whilst small tattoos that can be done in one sitting are generally priced in one go, but this is something you need to discuss with the tattooist.
With this tattoo I'm getting now, the guitar and amp one, I didn't actually know what I wanted the tattoo to look like. I wanted Martin to do my tattoo and he advised me to bring in photos of all the features I wanted, and he'd put it together. I brought in a photo of my guitar, amp and a quite sketch of what I wanted the background to look like and left it with him. Three weeks later I got a phonecall, and was invited in to view my artwork. At this point I either tell him I like it then wait for my appointment to get tattooed, or I tell him what I don't like and the tattooist will go away again and edit it to my liking. At this point they really encourage you to tell them exactly what you don't like about their artwork so they can get it spot on, which is good because sometimes you can feel guilty turning them away lots if you don't like their work! Luckily Martin got my design perfect first time round so I didn't need to do that.
The shop in general is really clean. Quite a lot of tattoo parlours can be dingy and grimy, but Flaming Gun keep their place light and airy. It's quite minimalistic which helps keep it a lot more hygienic too. Everytime I've been there the artist has let me see them take brand new needles out of packets, so I know they've been sterilised, and all the other equipment is brand new out of packets too (obviously apart from the gun!) like gloves, etc. They clean your arm thoroughly before tattooing aswell.
The seats you sit on whilst getting tattooed are comfy. They are plain black leather, with cling film wrapped around the bottom where you feet sit, again I assume to keep everything clean.
Once you have your tattoo done they also wrap your body part in cling film to keep it safe from outside dirt and muck, which is good because a few other places I've been to haven't even bothered covering it up. They advise to keep the cover on for 2 hours and then you must take it off and give it a wash.
The tattooists are great at putting you at ease about the maintenance and care of your tattoo, giving you advice about how to clean it and to use a particular cream on it called Bepanthen (this is normally used on baby's bottoms for nappy rash but is excellent at healing tattoos). They also say you can come in at any point if you have any questions.
Flaming Gun also sell quite a few different things, mostly tshirts, cigarette merchandise like lighters and cases, earrings and ear stretchers (scary looking things!) and also tattoo aftercare products, like Bepanthen. Quite a few of the things are fairly expensive, but it's nice to have a browse if you're in the shop already.
The tattoos they produce do hurt, before you ask! No, this is not a magical tattoo shop where they get kittens to lick your tattoos on for you rather than sticking a needle in you thousands of times a second. Going here, your tattoo will hurt as much or as little as wherever else you'd go, but with this place, quality is key, and they will go the extra mile and spend the extra time/service making sure you are satisfied.
Flaming Gun offer excellent service, from tattoo design, tattoo production, right through to tattoo aftercare. They really care for their customers and want to make sure they do excellent tattoos.
P.S. I had a comment saying they weren't sure where it was... for anyone intending on going there, or trying to find it, it is located in a side road off Head Street, where the Odeon Cinema is. The actual road name is Church Walk.
Summary: If you want a quality tattoo I recommend this place