Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…

How not to get your ass kicked by your tattoo artist.

November 9th, 2008 by

Disclaimer:  This is all shit that has happened to me and it all ended badly.

Don’t make me stop forty seconds into a nickel-sized tattoo because you “didn’t know it was going to hurt so bad” only to come in the next day and try to get your ten-year-old-son tattooed.  When I refuse to do the tattoo and inform you that it is illegal, don’t tell me that you live by “God’s law, not man’s law”, because I have four kids, I am a former U.S. Marine, I have anger management issues, and what you’re suggesting is child abuse motherfucker.

If you are a racist piece of shit and are not absolutely sure your tattoo artist is also, refrain from spouting your fascist propaganda, it can always hurt worse.

Do NOT, when quoted a very reasonable price on a tattoo, ask your scratcher friend you ignorantly brought with you if he could do as good a job as I could.  Do not do this right in front of the tattoo guy that just quoted you that price.

Don’t ask one tattoo artist for a price and then ask another artist in the same shop for a price in order to start some sort of bidding war.  We don’t like that and it will end badly for you.

Don’t try to pass-off the symbol for (a white supremacist organization) as anything but that.  When someone calls your bluff, don’t act like you had no idea.  This just tells me that not only are you stupid but you think I must be as well.  This goes for people trying to convince me that their gang symbology isn’t what it is.  No hate, no gang stuff.

Don’t tell me halfway through your tattoo that you only have half the money to pay for it even though you knew well ahead of time how much the tattoo was going to cost.  The session will end.  Abruptly.  Also, don’t looked shocked when, after your credit card is turned down for insufficient funds, I’m not willing to let you leave the shop without first leaving me your pants.  It’s called collateral.

Do not, under any circumstances, let me find out that you did time for touching little kids.  Do not try to convince me that the kid was lying.  Do not tell me to quit yelling at you.  Do not tell me to put the hammer down.  Just get the fuck out.  You should keep some stuff to yourself.

Please, let your artist know if you’re not going to be able to make your appointment.  I won’t be mad if you have to reschedule, but if you don’t show up and you don’t call that now means I’m sitting at work with no work to do and if I’m not working then I’m not making any money and if Im not making any money then yadayadayad you get the picture.  Just call if you’re going to be late or need to reschedule okay?

Don’t make too much fun of your girlfriend while I’m tattooing her.  Don’t do this especially if she’s taking it like a champ.  Especially don’t especially do it if your special ass is NEXT okay, asshole?  It can always hurt worse.

No religion.  No politics.  No shit.

Don’t act shocked to find out that no, I don’t want to work late because you got a wild hair up your ass and you just have to get tattooed tonight or you’ll just die.  Don’t act offended that after being at work for ten hours or so that I don’t seem particularly enthused about starting another, unscheduled, piece.  Also, when you offer to pay three times the going rate to get tattooed tonight (or you’ll just DIE!), don’t expect me to not hold you to that high price, you brought it up after all.

Don’t take pictures of the flash art on the wall with your cell phone.  Don’t try to steal the flash off the wall.  Don’t take the pictures of nipple piercings out of the piercer’s portfolio to get your jollies.

Don’t try to do coke in the bathroom, nobody sniffs that much when they’re taking a crap.  Along those lines, don’t think you’re being slick by drinking booze out of a big gulp cup, and yes I can tell if you’re high right now.  It’s a tattoo parlor, not a convent, I know what fucked up looks like.

No you can’t always “have it your way” right now, this is not Burger King.

Leave the kids at home.  A tattoo parlor is an inherently adult environment involving adult situations and frequently adult language.  I love kids, have a few myself, the tattoo shop is not the place for them.  Most importantly:  we are not babysitters.  I can’t count the number of times some idiot has brought a preschool-aged kid into the shop with the intent of getting a tattoo without bringing anyone along with them to watch the child.  We won’t get pissed at the kid for being a kid, we will get pissed at you for being an irresponsible parent.

All in all, don’t expect the laws of decency to suddenly breakdown when you enter a tattoo parlor.  The closest analogy I can come up with is to think of the tattoo parlor like a louder, cooler kind of doctor’s office.  Even though your appointment was for 3:00, you don’t get pissy with the doctor because they ran a little late, they probably had something important to do.  Tattoo artists are much the same:  It’s always better if you have an appointment; We have a tendency to run late, but that’s only because we are trying to give everyone the attention they deserve and won’t it be nice to know that you’re going to be receiving that same degree of attention next?  We’re trained, licensed professionals.  Okay, so it’s a pretty thin comparison, but I think you’ll find that the best artists are the ones that take pride in their work and have given and unbelievable level of dedication to this artform, spending years honing their craft and making sacrifices along the way.  So please forgive us if we have a low tolerance for bullshit, as I’m sure we’ve all seen far more than our fair share.  I hope this finds you in good health.


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