Ryan Kinsella defends tattoo operation despite AHS sanitary concerns

Ryan Kinsella, whose home-based tattoo operation was recently shut down by Alberta Health Services, says he is "going to continue to tattoo."

YouTube video has Calgary man vowing to continue despite 'all the hate'

In a recently released YouTube video, Ryan Kinsella says he will continue tattooing despite Alberta Health Service's order to shut down his residential tattoo operation. (Ryan Kinsella/YouTube)

Ryan Kinsella, whose home-based tattoo operation was recently shut down by Alberta Health Services, says he is "going to continue to tattoo" despite "all the hate [he's] been getting."

Health officials publicly called Kinsella's operation "very unsanitary" on Monday and advised clients to be tested for HIV and hepatitis.

In a recently posted YouTube video, Kinsella says he's "not going anywhere" and claims he was fined only for operating without a valid business licence. 

If you're wondering how to find a reputable place to get a tattoo, here are three quick tips the CBC's Susan Holzman. She spoke to Steve Peace, owner of Immaculate Concept Tattoo, who was a guest on the Homestretch Tuesday.

1. Check the licence

Make sure the shop you're considering has a legitimate business license. 

"As long as they have a business licence, it means they've gone through the health board inspection, as well as the fire inspection," Peace said.

"It means you're up to par with all the stuff that the health board is looking for."

In addition, Alberta Health Services recommends confirming that the operation in question is routinely inspected. Individuals can do this by calling AHS Environmental Public Health at 403-943-2288 or check online for closures.

2. Look for a biohazard bin

Nowadays nearly all tattoo parlours use pre-packed, single-use materials, Peace said.

"No one re-sterilizes needles anymore. They're used once, and then they're thrown out."

Steve Peace, owner of Immaculate Concept Tattoo, shares three quick things that differentiate a reputable tattoo shop from a shady one. (Susan Holzman/CBC)

You should see be able to spot a biohazard bin with used needles marked for proper disposal.

Inside, you may also find sheets of used plastic that would typically cover the tattoo gun's cord. 

The plastic acts as a protective barrier and is removed after each sitting so that if the cord were to brush against a client's tattoo, there would be no cross-contamination between clients.

3. Make sure it has a storefront

Peace said it's important to make sure you are visiting an actual business with a separated entrance, as opposed to an operation run out of someone's home by "a guy that's just bought a tattoo machine."

"It's supposed to look like a little business on the side of your house, not come in the front door, go downstairs and get tattooed.

"There's so many tattoo shops in Calgary. There's no reason to go bargain hunting," Peace said.

"Guys in houses aren't gonna give you a good tattoo, ever. I've never seen a good tattoo out of a house. It's impossible."

A wolf tattoo completed by Steve Pearce on one of his client's legs. Alberta Health Services recommends making sure the tattoo operation you are considering has been inspected. (Susan Holzman/CBC)

With files from the CBC's Susan Holzman