Editor’s Note: This story was updated for 2021. These sales are no longer active.
Friday the 13th is supposed to be unlucky, but some tattoo shops have made it all about affordable ink by offering $13 tattoos. Customers can choose from a flash-sheet of designs, which are small and usually follow the macabre-theme of the day. If you’ve never gotten a tattoo before, it’s an affordable way to try it out. Or maybe you’ve gotten a ton, and this is an easy way to fill in spots you’ve missed.
According to the VICE article “How Friday the 13th Became Black Friday for Tattoos,” what started as a gimmick for one tattoo shop has become a country-wide phenomenon. But not all shops are in favor of the tradition, with a few even claiming it’s bad for business.
Erik Angelini of Cryptic Ink in Louisville said his shop will never participate because it does only “quality, custom pieces of art … not cookie-cutter tattoos. I’m not running a factory here.”
“You can guarantee that for that amount of money, the artist really doesn’t care what he’s putting on you, and is most likely trying to grind it out as fast as possible just to be able to make any kind of income to pay bills and survive. My customers want the best quality art they can get, and they understand that comes with a price,” he said.
But Karen DeVore of Art & Soul Tattoo in Louisville said the goal of the day is to express customer appreciation, and “the idea that a tattoo artist with over 20 years of experience who always provides the finest quality tattoos, would turn a right about face and suddenly tattoo a poor piece because it is Friday the 13th is absurd.”
“Friday the 13th has the same artists, the same brands of supplies and the same care and craftsmanship as the rest of the year. The quality is not lower because of the day. The main difference on Friday the 13th is that we have select sheets only, and the designs are small. Folks who attend Friday the 13th tend to be our regular customers who want to hang out at the shop. It is an opportunity to meet and greet and talk with each other,” she said.
So at the end of the day, we trust you, the reader, to be able to make your own decisions. Here is a list of local tattoo shops offering specials on Friday the 13th. Almost all are more expensive than $13 this year, and because of COVID, we can’t blame them.
Note while some shops won’t be posting their flash sheets online, you can always view their previous work online to get a sense of each shop’s artistic style.
Art and Soul Tattoo Parlor
1679 Old Preston Highway N., Ste. 22
Art and Soul Tattoo Parlor’s Friday the 13 tattoo slots are mostly filled, although there is still hope if customers don’t confirm. Tattoos are a minimum of $80 for a tattoo around the size of a softball or smaller. Message the shop to inquire about appointments.
Brother Raven’s Tattoo & Art Emporium
11509 Shelbyville Road
Brother Raven’s Tattoo and Cincy’s Blue Magic Tattoo Lounge are teaming up to offer $20-$50 tattoos, cash-only. Choose from over 180 different designs. The $20-$50 tattoos are black; more vibrant tattoos will run you $20 per color. There are no limit or placement restrictions. Spots are first-come, first-served. LRS102 will be on site, too, for giveaways and a live broadcast.
Pale Moon Tattoo
2209 Charlestown Road, New Albany, Indiana
Pale Moon Tattoo is getting into the Friday the 13th tattoo game for the first time. Its options are a little pricier, ranging from $60-$120. Available tattoo designs range from witchy to horror. Two artists will serve walk-ins, while four artists are taking appointments. Visit palemoontatoo.com to schedule.
Skin City Tattooz
4519 Bardstown Road
Skin City Tattooz is offering $20 flash tattoos from noon to 10 p.m. on Friday. Choose from eight different sheets of designs, to be posted online soon. Tipping isn’t required, but appreciated, the shop says.
Stay Gold Studio
4116 Flintlock Drive
Stay Gold Studio is offering both $13 tattoos and $13 piercings this Friday the 13th. Available tattoo designs include flowers, a candle and a lemon. Included piercings are: nose, tragus, conch, flat, midway, rook, forward helix, snug, helix, nipples, daith and industrial. Septum piercings are double the price. The special is first come-first served, and you can’t request a certain artist. The shop opens at 11 a.m.