Tattoo Shop Etiquette
So, you want a tattoo but aren’t quite sure exactly how it all works…
This blog is a guide on how to be a favorable client. Favorable client = happy tattoo artist. Happy tattoo artist = rad art on you! Try to look at your tattoo as a work of art that you’re investing in. You will have it for the rest of your life. It’s a piece of art you will take everywhere with you and is one of a kind. When purchasing any other artwork from an artist you would have saved enough money to pay the artist. Do the same in this instance. If you want to start a sleeve or a larger work of art, start saving now and budget it in. Tattoo artists hate when their artwork is walking around unfinished. If you plan to do a large piece, be prepared to work on it consistently until it's finished. After your first appointment, be sure to schedule your next so that the artist is assured that you are committed to getting it done.
When asking Vinny, tattoo artist and owner of Claw and Talon Tattoo, about tipping he stated, “It’s always appreciated, but coming in for another tattoo and/or referring your friends is also valuable.” Writing great reviews on Yelp, FB, Google, or other review sites, are also ways to show the love.
Vinny also said, “We love walk-ins just as much as appointments, but if you are going to make an appointment- don’t flake!” Time is valuable and artists rely on their clients for their livelihood. Cancellations happen, but if you need to cancel try to notify your artist at least 24 hours in advance, and never no call-no show. Artists are often able to re-book time if they have enough notice!
Be sure you have just the right artist for you. Come in and sit on our comfy couch and check out all of their portfolios (or peruse them online). Each artist has a unique style, and you should choose based upon what you’re initially drawn to. If you want an artist to draw something up for you remember that their job is to take your idea and use their talent to turn the idea into something that will look awesome AS A TATTOO. Often what looks good on paper, or what sounds good as an idea, doesn’t translate into this art form. The body is a unique canvas and your tattoo artist knows what will look good and what will not. Also, remember that drawing time is precious time. Artists are happy to rework designs to get them just right for you, but don’t abuse this process. Listen to their opinions and recommendations! For instance, many artist aren’t keen on doing white ink tattoos, tattoos inside the lip, or tattoos that face you. Why? Because white tattoos end up turning yellowish over time, tattoos on the inside of your lip fade extremely quickly, and a tattoo facing you is upside down to the rest of world. You wouldn’t hang a painting upside down, would you? Artists often hear, “But this tattoo is just for me.” Tattoos aren’t just for you, everyone else will see them, and they are a reflection of the artist's work. Upside down tattoos also make it near impossible to add to or work around if you decide to get a sleeve later on. Trust your artist! They’ve been doing this for a long time and are professionals at what they do.
Be prepared for your appointment: Don’t be hungover, drink plenty of fluids, make sure you eat in advance, and don’t bring an entire squad to your appointment, unless the artist gives you the OK. It’s acceptable to bring a friend to hand-hold, but the artist needs to be able to focus in order to deliver the best results, so this isn’t the place to bring the party.
A huge factor, just as in any other professional interaction, is your attitude! As Vinny commented, “The energy you give off to your artist, is the energy you will get in return.” To sum it up, don’t be a jerk and hold up your end of the deal. This ensures that not only will you get a bad ass tattoo, but you will have a badass time, and new friend! Tattoos hurt, but the interaction doesn’t have to!
In addition to being one of our favorite people/clients, Kennedy is studying art at Naropa University and has chosen to do an Independent Study on tattoo art and tattoo culture. She will be helping around the shop as well as doing research on various topics related to the tattoo industry.