So, you want a new tattoo. You heard through the grapevine that So-And-So Tattoos were the guys to go see. You muster up a little bit of creative spunk and start planning out what you want. You may even go so far as to draw the entire tattoo yourself… you know, just to make sure it’s EXACTLY as you plan. You’re ready. You call your buds to meet you there. You hop in your car. You’re off to the Tattoo Shop!
There are some things you need to know. These things will keep you from looking like a fucking retard during your tattoo experience.
A.) You may be an award winning illustrator, but you are not a Tattoo Artist. Your “sweet drawing” is probably going to undergo severe changes to make it tattoo-ready. There are different considerations for art that is intended to be used as a tattoo. We push the gamut from time to time but tattooing is a time honored tradition. There are guidelines to what can and cannot be done that our forefathers placed forth to us. What looks good today may not necessarily look good 10 years from now. So trust in the fact that we know what we are doing before you go throw a tantrum and march on down to the next shop. Which leads me to the next topic…
B.) Get work done from a REPUTABLE SHOP! Not a fucking kitchen. Not a tanning salon/restaurant/hybrid-ass tattoo shop. Make sure the artists do clean, solid work. Look at their portfolios. Make sure they are certified in Blood-borne Pathogens, First Aid, and in some cases (if required) CPR. If the tattoos in their portfolios look bloody, chewed up, glossy and painful - stop what you are doing and shop around for a bit before you jump off the deep end and get yourself a colorful scar. That shit is wack. For real.
C.) "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten" - Benjamin Franklin.
You want your tattoo “HOOKED UP“? The answer is no. I can’t walk in to a Harley Davidson and demand that I get a Bike half off just because I feel like I deserve it. This isn’t our fucking hobby dude. This feeds our children. This pays our bills. This is our job. So if you can’t respect that - keep on truckin’ cause we’re not hearing that shit. We work hard and put ourselves in the direct line of fire for a lot of dumb shit to be where we are today as successful tattoo artists. Your inability to pay for something that is priced fairly is a slap in the face to what we do. Save your money… and come talk to me when you got your math proper. But you probably won’t because now that artist that quoted you is an asshole because he didn’t show you and your boys any love. It’s cool. Blowout Ink is down the street and I heard you get raffled into a Hepatitis C giveaway after every tattoo.
D.) You get a better tattoo from the artist of your choice if you give him/her the idea, and let them have fun with it. In some cases you even get a more lenient price (since that seems to be such a factor to everyone these days) because now your tattoo is going to be fun to do, and not a pain in the ass like the lady before you that came in and wanted 13 initials inside of her roses on the insides of her thighs.
E.) You received a tattoo. A tattoo is a service. Just like getting your table waited on at a restaurant, or getting your nails and hair done… just a little more permanent. You ask, “Should I tip?” - You can answer that question for yourself. And then re-ask that question to yourself again when you got hooked up because the tattoo you got was rad. Showing a little gratuity on a job well done doesn’t hurt anyone… and some people don’t forget.
These are just a few of the gripes that my colleagues and I have with our angle of the industry. I figured I’d let the unknowing future potential client understand that there are ways to prevent themselves from sucking… as well as the clients that have sucked before, and needed a chance to redeem themselves.
Thanks for reading.