Tattoo and piercing salons in Ames

Mariah Wellman

For some, getting a tattoo in college is considered a rite of passage. Students from all over get tattooed in Ames, and many tattoo artists come to Ames to work. Getting a tattoo can be a big decision, and knowing where to go and what to get can be very important.

Emily Veach, a tattoo artist and manager at Heroic Ink on Douglas Avenue in Ames, has been with the shop since they opened four and a half years ago. The shop offers custom tattoos and professional piercing.

“We also frequently give life advice you shouldn’t follow,” Veach said jokingly.

Deciding to get a tattoo is different based on the person, and Veach said she tells people to only get something they are willing to look at and talk about for the rest of their lives.

“I have seen many people get ‘trendy’ tattoos and these people frequently come back for changes or covers,” Veach said. “I am not saying you shouldn’t get a really cool piece you see online. Just try and find a way to put a personal spin on it or get the artist’s advice to make it more unique.”

Tattoo artist Berry Schnetter has been with The Asylum in Ames for four years. Schnetter said he thinks one of the most important things to do before getting a tattoo is researching both the shop and the artist.

“Do your research — look through artist portfolios and get to know your artist. Take their advice and be willing to spend the money,” Schnetter said. “Remember, it is a permanent work of art on your body. If you can’t say you are 100 percent sure you want it, then you shouldn’t get it.”

Getting a piercing can also be a popular activity in college. Both Veach and Schnetter believe getting your piercing done professionally is the best option.

“Piercing seems like it would be simple and have no danger — this couldn’t be more incorrect,” Veach said. “I have seen people who needed to be cauterized after having a vein severed, people who develop cauliflower ear like a wrestler and seen people with severe staph infections.”

Veach said your skin is the main defense your body has to protect itself, and anything that compromises that barrier does put you at risk.

“Keep [the piercing] clean and keep your hands off,” Schnetter said. “Touching the area around it with dirty hands is just as bad as touching the actual piercing.”

Veach said if she had to give students one piece of advice, it would be to check out a salon, even if they are just thinking about getting a tattoo or piercing.

“The tattoo and piercing industry has changed a lot in the last five to 10 years,” Veach said. “If you have never been to a shop, feel free to stop in and just check it out, and if you are somewhere that makes you uncomfortable, just leave.

“Many people think to get a tattoo, you have to go to a shop that is dirty or rude. This is not true. There is a shop out there that is perfect for you and don’t settle for anything less. Getting and having a tattoo is one of the most personal things that you will share with the world, so spend the extra time and money to do it on your terms.”