How to pick the right tattoo artist

Getting a tattoo is a lifetime committment, so before you decide to get the tattoo you've always wanted take the time to find the right person to do the work.  You will be much happier in the long run having spent a little time to do some research, the following tips are things to consider when picking an artist and shop.

1. Can the artist provide you with a portfolio of their work?  If yes, is any of their work custom pieces or is it all flash?
2. Does the artist have any pieces in their portfolio similar to what you are looking for? For instance, if your looking to get a portrait done, is the artist capable of doing them and doing them well?
3. Is the artist's work area clean and organized?
4. Is the potential artist friendly?  Does he listen to your thoughts and ideas to know exactly what your looking for in a tattoo?