The tattoo client has changed a lot over the last 10 years or so; back in the day when tattoo shops were more mysterious, clients were aware of their own ignorance. Now, due partially to television shows like “Best Ink” and “Inkmaster”, many clients have a false sense of discernment when it comes to the art and process of tattooing.
Don’t get me wrong – I believe the change in variety of clientele has been great for our industry – it’s exploding. People who in the past would never think of getting tattooed are regulars at their local tattoo shops and traveling far and wide to visit their favorite artists. In response to the vast emergence of new clientele, I thought I’d impart some dos and don’ts for your tattoo experience – some simple tips that come to mind.
*Do your research. Pictures and reference material are helpful tools to align the vision for both artist and client. Make sure to show your artist any material up front – this will save time and keep you both on the same page.
*Don’t roll deep. It’s not cool to bring a bunch of friends to watch. Most artist work better with less distractions and no one likes people lurking over their shoulders as their working.. (Some exceptions apply).
*Don’t bring your kids – unless a special arrangement with you artist has been made. Why? Tattoo shops are not child proof – shops maintain high sanitation standards, but careless little guys can get themselves into some mess if not thoroughly looked after. Also, loud children can cause serious distraction, disrupting concentration of both artists and other clientele. Lastly, some tattoo shops are full of R rated entertainment – profanity ridden story telling and naked flash art are all part of the experience.
*Don’t try and haggle. Your last tattoo cost $30? Any respectable artist will gag when they hear you bragging about how cheap your last tattoo was. Cheap tattoos are an insult to the serious tattoo community, to artists, and to yourself. In most respected tattoo shops, artists have spent years honing their craft and adding value to their work – cheap artwork and cheap artists are an insult to the industry. Besides, being cheap with a permanent decision is ridiculous. You wouldn’t try and negotiate the price of a fine dinning experience that lasts a few hours….So why try and haggle a mark that lasts a lifetime?
*Do landscape. It’s a good idea to have some foresight and shave the area you’re getting tattooed. Its never a problem to shave our clients but its a thoughtful move to do your own yard work – your artist will be impressed for sure!
*Don’t be an idiot. If your artist gives you his professional opinion and it doesn’t agree with your preconceived pintrest notions, try to have an open mind. Filtered, photoshopped pictures are one thing, experience and expert opinion is another. Listen to the professional.
Wrote by Luke Wessman for Inked : The Gentlemen’s voice