Charges laid in Canadian tattoo studio closure.

A tattoo studio owner in Edmonton,  Alberta, Canada who’s studio was ordered closed by local health board in 2009 has now made industry history after pleading guilty to about a dozen charges including one count of obstruction, eight counts of failing to maintain records, and one nuisance count.

Zipp’s Tattoo and Museum was shut down by Alberta Health Services last year after undercover inspectors responded to complaints of tattoo services being offered in deplorable conditions. Inspectors found filthy, dusty surfaces, used needles and tattoo tubes and inappropriate, outdated sterilization equipment.  Since there was no documentation of client files and sterilization records, a public notice was issued for anyone who was tattooed at Zipp’s to be tested for pathogens.

Provincial Court Judge Ferne LeReverend told Zipp’s owner, Eric Anderson, that his disregard for the health of his clients “shocking” and slapped him with fines totaling $12,880. This was the first successful prosecution under the Alberta Personal Services Regulation.

David Vidra, Body Modification industry Educator and CEO of Health Educators Inc applauds Alberta Health Services and commends Alberta’s health inspectors for their close involvement in Alberta’s local industry.

“It’s a shame it had to come to a lawsuit like this,” says Vidra in response to charges, “Education is  available to artists.  This does not only affect the artist who was charged but every artist in our industry  and the public.”

Health Educators offers relevant education for body modification artists across the board and encourages studios and artists to keep up to date on industry standards. Health Educators is one of the only body modification industry specific companies offering education to artists and full studio evaluation and setup on a global level. Vidra urges artists and studio owners to educate themselves constantly so the body art industry can continue to be viewed by the public in a positive light.

Let’s hope this message strikes a cord to basement scratchers and professional artists alike that lack of education and safe studio set up are vital to keeping the body art industry a legitimate trade and that those negligent few will be made an example of.
Clients seeking safe body art should be supporting artists who have taken the time to know how to use the required equipment and aseptic techniques to run a safe studio.

23 thoughts on “Charges laid in Canadian tattoo studio closure.

  1. I’m sure the people harmed could file a class action lawsuit for more money and compensation if they haven’t already. The problem is that some judges won’t grant anything if the people didn’t ask about sterilization etc…

  2. the charges seem kind of light. this seems like the kind of charges they would bring to a restaurant with rats problems…

  3. “Zipp” did my first tattoo ten years ago.
    I walked in, said “I’m 15 but my sister is here with me and…” and he interrupted me with an “I don’t care, sit down” and that was that.
    He was never mean to babies though, you should all know that. It’s probably b/c he didn’t let kids into the shop. He yelled at my sister for bringing her son, sleeping in a car seat into the place and told her to “get that thing out of here”.

    Oh memories…

  4. I think it’s pretty dispicable for a tattoo artist to think it would be right to cut corners to maximize profit PERIOD. They’re supposed to be artists who appreciate the health of their clients and should be respectful that these clients are giving them their skin as an eternal canvas to display their art. And now maybe more than a handful of those trusting clients may be walking around infected. Those charges are way too light in my opinion. He quite possibly ruined the health of many people and that is not excusable..

  5. The fact that Alberta Health Services did anything is hopefully a good sign. It may be likened to a restaurant with rat charges, but aren’t restaurants more monitored than tattoo shops are in Alberta?

  6. This is awful, but in my opinion the people who were clueless enough to get tattooed there in the first place without checking it out have no right to file a lawsuit.

  7. Inkstar is right. The regulations do little to nothing to stop scratchers and hacks who don’t work in licensed (as in a business license, not a license to tattoo/pierce etc) shops. Unfortunately we’ve seen it repeatedly in Ontario where a shop is caught again and again with not keeping sterilization records or even bothering to test their autoclaves yet they continue to operate with little repercussions. Depending on how busy the shop is, that fine could be nothing more than a weeks worth of profit for the owner. Considering how many people could have been contaminated, it does nothing to cover their medical costs if they contracted a life changing illness such as hepatitis.

    It’s a shame this will probably do nothing to change the business practices of shops across the country. The only way to really change things is by educating clients on best practices since they’re the ones at the most risk. They are the ones who can truly force shops to step up their sterilization practices in order to stay busy by deciding where they spend their money wisely.

  8. vareinc: Can you please elaborate on why “the new bme galleries suck !!”? They provide several different viewing options from the same 16 thumbnail “quilt view” (just like the old galleries) to individual views with the option to click the next arrow in either direction without having to click back. You can choose 3 different sizes to view the thumbnails. Each piece of media now displays significantly more information about the media than previously before as well as being able to identify multiple mods in each piece of content. You can leave comments on them as well.

    In addition to all of that there are now 3 different levels of viewing, including a work safe mode for people browsing from work. You can be totally logged out and see tons of free images per category. You can sign up for a completely free account which will let you view more than double the amount of images that you’d be able to see for free on the old site or you can log in with your submission based or paid membership. Everyone who has ever submitted content has an account on the site where they’re able to combine all of the email addresses that they’ve submitted from in order to manage all of their content in one place. You can update information as well as manage your submissions. It’s really been a huge process pulling all this information together from across several log ins and accounts that used to be required from the old series of sites in order to manage everything in one place. We’re working step by step in order to get it down to having one log in.

    Photos, Stories (formerly Experiences) and Video are now integrated into one browser, instead of being on two totally separate sites allowing you to find photos, stories and videos relating to the mods you’re interested in viewing. Experiences will be relaunched soon to incorporate an entirely new concept which will further drive the cohesion of all forms of media available through BME.

    I can’t make upgrades or fix things unless I get more information than just “the new bme galleries suck !!”. Please help contribute to BME by leaving constructive criticism that can help influence change and the direction of the growth of BME.

  9. Actually, Alberta Health Services is setting the bar across Canada for upping the enforcement for regulation of body art studios.

    Just two months ago, at least seven basement scratchers in Calgary were uncovered and shut down by inspectors and local authorities – their names published in the papers and clients advised to seek testing. They’re definitely beginning to make an example out of people who are putting the public at risk.

    Our local Health Officers keep in close contact with my studio, Dragon FX (my shop) is a training center for Concordia University where Environmental Health students spend a day in the studio environment to learn a hands-on approach in what to look for in setup and procedure.

    Alberta’s tattoo and piercing clients are becoming more savvy in what to look for in safe studios. Whereas every legitimately operating body art business must comply with the minimum standards (spore tested autoclaves, appropriate record keeping, etc) more and more of them are asking not only if we comply with these standards, but if the staff using the equipment is sufficiently trained to use it. That’s where studios like mine are choosing to bring Health Educators in to provide relevant training to all staff for the public’s peace of mind. Clients can and should demand these higher standards of their artists.

  10. I sortof agree about the galleries, I don’t dig them much either :[ they just aren’t very user friendly.

    hopefully everyone effected by this is able to recieve proper compensation. That is, if there is such a thing as proper compensation when it comes to ones health.

  11. I sortof agree about the galleries, I don’t dig them much either, once you have seen one body modification you has seen them all. When every orifice has been pierced, tattooed and branded. what’s new? A walk down Main Street is of more interest than the new galleries, from a body modification perspective. What no innovation.

  12. I still don’t see 12k as enough of a fine for putting thousands of people and their families and significant others etc at risk. The health costs from a Hep outbreak or any other kind of illness outbreak are astronomical.

  13. 12k in the eyes of most tattooers I know would be enough to put them WAYYY into the hole – and maybe think twice before being a lazy, filthy, ignorant artist. .
    The fact that there were charges and fines handed out is groundbreaking so far since there are such minimal standards to begin with. It’s very easy to cover your ass in this industry and educate yourself enough to keep yourself and your clients healthy and safe.

  14. You know, part of me hopes that a former “client” of his will step forward, having contracted something really serious as a result of his neglect, and charge him.

    I mean, I wouldn’t wish HIV on anyone, and something like that would be hard to prove…. but it would definitely serve him right for endangering so many people.

    Thank GOD that Whyte Ave has a couple really fantastic studios on it.

    Actually, I’m really glad that Edmonton in general has some great studios and awesome artists =)

  15. I must agree with Lexci here guys; 12k (or nearly 13k) sure is a lot of money for most tattooist. And in a way.. no matter how high the fine would be, it would never be high enough for all of those unlucky enough to have come across artists like the one in this article. But the mere fact he IS getting fined surely is groundbreaking, and I hope this will help future cases and artists to stay on the right track.

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