Tattoos are an investment no matter where they are placed, but if you have your eye on a piece in an area as expansive and as front-and-centre noticeable as the chest, you have to know that you’ll be spending a good amount of your hard earned money to ensure that you’re going to get the exact tattoo you want. If the chest is where you’re set to get some ink, though, there are definitely some things to keep in mind when try to figure our how much does a chest tattoo cost.
Size = detail
First and foremost: on such a big part of the body, you’re more than likely to want something larger in scale. With size comes more opportunity for intricacies in the art, though, so the average price of a chest tattoo tends to be higher. Flame, the owner of Orleans Ink in New Orleans, Louisiana, says that “pricing depends on detail, of course, because a small name in black won’t be anywhere close to, say, a full color, highly detailed chest tattoo from the collarbone to under the nipple, or the center of the chest all the way around to the curve around the side.”
Challenges in executing chest tattoos
In addition to size and detail, Bob Haase, tattoo artist at Family Tattoo in Chicago, explained how the chest area can be more challenging for an artist, which can also change the price. “It depends on how thin the skin is. If someone is in very, very good shape and takes care of their body and their skin, it’s usually a little easier to tattoo because the skin is taut and easier to work with, where someone who is less toned or maybe bustier in the chest area will have skin that moves more, which makes it harder to tattoo and the time needed to finish the piece longer.” While many people ask: “how much does a chest tattoo cost?”, the chest is definitely one part of the body that is harder to gauge.
Great art takes time
Haase also talked about how long a chest tattoo can take, and how that can affect what you pay for your piece by a considerable amount. “The most time I’ve ever personally seen someone spend on a chest piece in one sitting was 4 hours before it was unbearable for them, and they came back for more sessions, and our hourly shop rate is $150,” he said. Add up three sessions at that rate, and that’s $1800 devoted to your tattoo.
“If someone wanted a big piece, we’d go by the hour at my shop. If it’s multiple sessions, we’re going to take 4 hours on the outline of the design one day, 4 hours on shading half of the chest one day and 4 hours another for the other half, you’re looking at 12 hours worth of tattooing, at a minimum of $100 an hour,” notes Flame. “That’s $1200, and it would probably be more.”
What’s in a name
While there is a general consensus of cost when it comes to tattooing, one can make the price skyrocket if they go to some of the more well-known, respected, and/or celebrity-loved shops or artists out there. High Voltage Tattoos, Kat Von D’s shop in LA, has a shop minimum of $200, and Kat herself isn’t even taking additional clients at this time. JonBoy, a tattoo artist whose client list includes Hailey Baldwin and both Kylie and Kendall Jenner, or Mr.K, who has tattooed the likes of Rita Ora, Joe Jonas, and both David and Brooklyn Beckham. Both JonBoy and Mr.K are at Bang Bang Tattoo in NYC, where all tattoos all start at $500 and go up from there.
This is all to say that a hugely detailed piece by a famed Hyper-Realistic artist like Steve Butcher or Nikko Hurtado spanning across your chest from armpit to armpit isn’t going to come cheap. What you put into a tattoo, including the money spent, is what you’ll get out of it, though, so do your due diligence when gauging how much does a chest tattoo cost. “A good tattoo artist should be able to tell you everything you want to know about the process beforehand,” says Flame, so make sure you’re working with a great tattooer at a reputable shop and talk to them about what you want, because in the end, the best and only way to get a specific price for your chest tattoo is from directly from your artist.