When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in the Summer of 2017 we were deeply affected by the images on social media of the displaced Houstonians and the pets they had to leave behind when evacuting. We couldn’t imagine having to part with our furry friends and decided to hold a benefit for the Houston SPCA. After running down a list of possible fundraisers we decided to do what we do best: make tattoos. We decided on a flash day, but wanted to mitigate the issues we had with previous flash days Flash days also give us the opportunity to raise funds while showing customer appreciation by offering tattoos that dip below our $100 shop minimum.
The term tattoo flash refers to the traditional hand panted designs done on an 11×14 sheet of paper. When tattoos were considered a part of the seedy underground in the 1920s and 30s, they were often done illegally in bars and barber shops. The artists could display the designs that they had available to tattoo, but could still take them down if law enforcement decided to break up the fun, and be “gone in a flash.” More recently, flash days feature pre-selected tattoo designs that artists draw, arrange to be displayed. Often, since the preparation and draw time is nonexistent, many artists will offer flash designs at a discount.
In 2011 we did a “303” flash day with Denver-themed tattoos, to shower Denver Pride, and offered over 300 different designs to choose from.We had run into a two main issues that continued with every flash day over the years. The first issue was that the customers would seem to gravitate toward the same design and artists would tattoo that same image over and over. The second issue was that clients were often so overwhelmed by the pressure of deciding what they would get, that they wouldn’t get tattooed at all.
We decided to go way below our $100 minimum and charge $60 to spark interest, but there would have to be a catch. We wanted to make sure that the people who decided to participate would help us make the experience fun and light-hearted and that the artists wouldn’t get bored tattooing the same designs all day. We drew inspiration from The Price Is Right and Wheel of Fortune and bought our very own game wheel! The artists drew small pieces of flash that would normally be priced between $150-$200 to go on the wheel and offered them for $60, but we were still unsure of how clients would respond. It was a hit! The wheel became a staple for our clients that are true collectors, the clients want to make a difference, and the clients that are looking to get a little crazy on a budget.
A Few Things To Know Before You Come in To Spin
- The wheel tattoos are done on a first-come, first-served basis, so get her early and plan to wait on a Saturday. As with all walk-ins we can only predict wait times once you’ve walked into the shop. This also means we cannot book appointments for these tattoos
- The shop only accepts cash!
- The first spin (per person) is $60
- Disappointed with what the wheel landed on?- after your first spin you can pay $20 to spin again. Each re-spin is $20 and the sky is the limit!
- No picking artist or the design
- These tattoos will only be done on limbs and they are designed to be in full-color
- Tips are very much appreciated!
We donated $1,620 to the Houston SPCA and $800 to the LGBTQ youth center, The Center on Colfax in May of 2019. We felt the same urge to help when we saw footage of the Australian Bushfires, the idea of helping was barely discussed before the artists began drawing Australian-themed tattoo designs and offering to donate all of the money they received to help the displaced animals of Australia. We’re on our way to raising a few thousand dollars to donate to the WWF Australia Australian Wildlife and Nature Recovery Fund.
The Test Your Luck Tattoo wheel has become a permanent fixture at Think Tank Tattoo. As long as we’re open and have artists available to tattoo the wheel is available. So come on in and test your luck!