one of several i have. this one is in honor to my best friend i lost 5 years ago. they let doves go at his funeral, so i have the doves carrying his initials, with "wish you were here" on my side, as in, wish you were still by my side. look at it every day and think of the good times i had with my friend. still helps me cope with his death to the day. that is 1 reason why i get them.
I'm not familiar with Mafia Ink at all, but the girl who checked me out at Wal Mart says her boyfriend's brother works there. Yep, that's the extent of my knowledge of Mafia Ink. I avoid new places, though, unless they have people I know there, and I don't know anyone from Mafia.
Jaded Angel has an artist or two that are completely worth your time and money, but in my experience, they are a bit flighty, and inconsistent. If you get Bob to do your work, you'll probably get a pretty good tat.
Lasting Impressions isn't bad. Have nothing really bad to say about them, just don't really have anything good to say about them. Probably get your ink cheapest there, but you'll be getting cheap ink.
The Assylum is... well, it's what you've always gotten from Hot Rod. He's a heavy hand, so he'll hurt you like a sonofab, but you'll need a touchup in a couple years anyway. I've never been comfortable going there due to pricing issues and personal issues. I don't know any of the people that Hot Rod brought in to replace Mump and Hugo, but considering how good Mump and Hugo are, it's hard to imagine he upgraded rather than downgraded.
My two cents :)
There is some good work, but the web site is horrible.
A lot depend on what style of tattoo you are looking for, those guys are very good at colored detailed pieces, checkout knappy at mid-air for comparison, http://midairandink.com/nggallery/pa...um-8/gallery-2
or my buddy Adam Clark at Bigfoot
In a lot of ways, the answers I've gotten from people indicate that having a permanent reminder actually does help with the grieving process. You're marked for your friend, and now you know that that friend will never be forgotten. A final step, like errecting a memorial with your body. The active grief is over (and I can't stress the spiritual aspect, the cathartic aspect, of the pain of the process), and now it moves to simply never forgetting the fallen part of your life.
I can't speak for everyone, and not even from personal experience, but these are the answers I've gotten more than any other.
I know that I'm thankful that my tribute to my parents got inked onto me before either were dead. I fully expect that they will help in the grieving process once I have to go through it.
don't know if i'll ever get over it. terrible story, not gonna go into that, just tragic is all i will say, but of course, anyone that young who dies is gonna be tragic. most of the time it brings a smile to my face, as i'm smiling right now thinking about him. sure there are sad days too, but i think i would probably have those regardless of the ink or not.