The deeper they penetrate the skin, the bigger the tears are going to be that well at the corners of your eyes and the harder your jaw's gonna clench. But if you want the tattoo to last forever, to be clean and crisp for a long time, a few hours' worth of pain is worth it. The ladies and gentlemen at Iron Age understand this, but most tattooers worth anything know this basic truth. What separates Iron Age from most other parlors is their aesthetic sense. Combined, the seven artists seem to have an advanced appreciation for the possible; sure they can do your hula girl or your butterfly -- if you're so boring and unimaginative that that's the image you want on your ass for the rest of your life -- but if you're up for it, they can create something one-of-a-kind (just like you!), or replicate exactly a design you bring in. We've seen amazing Andy Warhol bananas, William Morris floral patterns, Krazy Kat comic characters, an armband of vegetables (carrots, celery stalks and greens) and clippers bursting through the ocean. The quality of their work is paying off, too; an impending move a block east on Delmar will give them more space, and one glance at their new digs should reassure you of their quality: the two owners, Brad Fink and Mark Andrews, did all the carpentry themselves, creating a magical place worthy of a store whose wares will accompany you wherever you go for the rest of your life.