Every single field has a certain courtesy code to ideally be followed. Something may be deemed obvious by the general population but there’s always people who forget. Politeness, simple social skills and an open mind can take someone very far, whereas not utilising them may lead to misunderstandings and dilemmas. One of my favourite quotes is: “The customer is king when he/she acts like one”.
I have to admit that I have gotten so lucky with my clients: 99% of them are fantastic, awesome characters with exciting ideas. Without their personalities and stories, I wouldn’t be half the person I am today. Still, some individuals that come to me have asked questions and made statements that not only have been impolite but outright offensive. This post is to educate and expand your horizon, not to be taken too seriously. 🙂
Yyyoo, tat plz xD !
Let’s start at the very beginning: writing to your chosen tattoo artist. Although most of us understand using simple logic that writing to a stranger should imply full sentences and leaving out the slang, I have gotten my fair share of MSN friend chat type messages. I personally lose all respect and desire to work with a person who writes like a 5-year-old. If the client doesn’t have professional respect for the artist, why should the artist have it for the client?
What’s your price list, I can’t find it anywhere.
It’s possible this is truly new info for some, so I can’t be outright angry at this, but to be fair it’s still a little rude. Since tattooing is an art, it all depends on how long the draft takes, if any changes are required, number of sessions etc. The approximate price can be given once the client has sent some sort of source of inspiration, description of desired placement, whether they want it black-white or coloured and have given an idea of size. The initial price estimate may still change later. Many artists will give a project-based price.
I know for sure that this tattoo shouldn’t take longer than 2 hours or cost more than €100.
Wait, what? Who is offering this service, you or me? It’s alright to ask for an approximate price and time cost, but to start dictating them yourself is not acceptable. Imposing restrictions upon a tattoo artist will guarantee a less than ideal end product.
What do you mean I have to wait 2 months? My friend would get me an appointment tomorrow! Plus he does it for 7 times cheaper!
I never pressure any client, but to this I always say you’re welcome to go to your friend for the tattoo. I find it funny when someone doesn’t understand that when the waiting list is long and the price higher than average, then maybe that means better quality? It seems that it is incomprehensible for some that a tattoo is not a pressed stamp, but a complicated and artistic concept. Not to mention it being incredibly offensive – as if the artist isn’t worth the waiting list and prices!
It’s a separate subject when someone finds the price too steep for their current situation. It is entirely okay to say that it’s not possible to pay the sum at the moment: tattoos are a luxury and not a necessity. In fact, it’s smart to save up and do it when all other needs are met and under control. But please refrain from being impatient and letting a random shady dude on the corner leave your skin permanently damaged just because “he only charged a tenner”. For a tenner, you’ll get more than just the tattoo…
I know I gave you complete creative freedom with the design but it isn’t what I wanted.
I’ll be honest, this is the one thing that grinds my gears the most of all. Neither me nor any other creative out there is a psychic. I repeat: I can’t read my clients’ minds! Thankfully, it happens very rarely but when it does, I feel like crying from rage. I put 101% of my original and creative ideas into every single one of my designs. If someone gives me creative freedom, they will undoubtedly get a piece like no other. When I’ve finished my picture and share my big creation and idea with the client and then get a reply that it’s not at all what they wanted, does that sound motivating?
It’s fine to not give your artist complete freedom to do what they want: most clients will send sources of inspiration, mention their favourite colours or details that they definitely want on the design. That will most likely lead to an end result that both parties are happy with. Please do your homework and figure out beforehand what is important to you in the tattoo.
Redo this and that and I don’t like that and turn this around and…
Don’t misunderstand me, most artists are down to make changes to a design after the initial draft but there is a very big difference in what that process is like. It’s important that the design is a cooperation between the client and the artist, not the result of constant dictation from the client. However, it’s perfectly okay to ask if a shade or detail would fit.
Sometimes people have awesome ideas, sometimes I’m not too sure about them and at times there are awful ones. In all three cases I always explain my reasoning to the client. Should I not like an idea, I do not wish to argue about it forever: if you don’t trust your artist’s taste and professional experience in composition and compatible tones, why did you turn to them in the first place? During my rookie years and wanting to obtain as much experience as possible, I often gave in to a client’s bad ideas and it led to them not being happy with it either. Either trust the professional or leave it be.
The point of this one is not saying anything at all, meaning the date and time for getting the tattoo has arrived and who isn’t there is the client. No replies to messages or calls. It’s fine to change your mind or not be ready for the tattoo, it’s fine to get sick. Let me know! The worst possible idea is leaving a pissed tattoo artist waiting for you. Estonia is very tiny, these stupidities are not a good idea. I have had clients send me a message the morning of, telling me they’re sick. I understand – these things cannot be planned in advance. It’s also okay to change your mind: the tattoo is only there for the rest of your life and your artist can’t force you to do anything you might regret. We’re right there with you! But not if you leave us stranded in an empty studio. This goes for all fields of customer service: the doctor, eyelash-nail-eyebrow technicians etc. It’s our precious time you’re wasting and there is always a person who would’ve gladly come in your place.
I hope nobody took this too personally: information is meant to educate and be taken note of. Communication, especially in the artistic community, is never black and white. I simply find that tips and reminders for politeness will never be redundant.
Do you have any questions regarding the tattooing process?