We have had an influx of clients coming in wanting their first tattoos to be things such as micro-script on their fingers, or wings coming up on their necks onto their faces. With the rise of showiness of social media, there are more and more people who want highly visible tattoos, without first dipping their toes in the water of what life is like as a part of this world, or the consequences in life that come with it.
It is a long held point of contention between artists and the public, with many believing the artist should do whatever the client wants. But you may not realise that many tattoo artists feel they bare the burden of the sometimes naive and short sighted decisions that some clients make that will potentially, one day, cause them issues.
The tattoo artists in Sydney have been tattooing for years, most of them in many different shops, within many different cities across the globe. They have seen it all. Most studios, including us, have policies against face or neck tattoos for good reason. A good artist will discuss it with you and explain the issues and explore different options with you, and will be happy to turn down potential business by refusing to do a hand or face tattoo.
But what’s the big deal, I hear you ask?
First and foremost, it is a moral dilemma. Tattoo artists know of the pubic scrutiny that goes hand in hand with highly visible tattoos. It will often impede your chances of successful employment in many industries, perhaps open you up to judgement and ridicule, and ultimately, your tattoo artist carries the weight of your decisions upon themselves as well. There is also the cultural aspect in some countries where it is absolutely unacceptable and you would be unable to cover these areas up. Its not to say that these types of tattoos are never done in our studio. If you are already heavily tattooed (and don’t really have other space to utilise) or are a tattooer yourself, we are more than happy for you to come in and discuss options with us.
Secondly, it is a quality issue. Especially when it comes to your hands, this is an area of your body that is most used in everyday life. You really can’t get away with “resting” your hand to let is heal properly. Practically every job, (think office worker, mechanic, labourer, dish washer) requires the active use of your hands. The skin here also constantly sheds and is much thicker than other areas of your body, which makes applying the tattoo and the healing of your tattoo even more problematic. Any decent artist will guarantee their work and provide free touch ups, when it comes to hand tattoos this is basically unavoidable. It is pretty much guaranteed to fade, blur or just completely fall out. Whilst our artists are happy to give free touch ups when necessary, this isn’t just offered as a courtesy, this is a guarantee that the work you have gotten from us is the best, and it is actually pretty rare for clients to even need to come back for a touch up. Properly applied and properly healed tattoos should not require further work, and as such to guarantee our work with such confidence, we avoid problematic areas.
Keep in mind, when you walk around with your new piece of body art, you are basically a walking advertisement for the artist who did it. When you walk out the door of the studio, the artists’ reputation walks out with you, and every person who sees it will base their opinion of the artist by the work they see. If you have a messed up tattoo, it’s the artist who gets the blame for it.
So, what to do?
Discuss it with your artist. Usually, we are able to come to an understanding of why it should not be done, and find a suitable alternative. But if you’re absolutely determined to get this tattoo, you will be able to find an artist somewhere who is willing to do it. Just ask yourself, if an artist is so willing to take your money and not care about the consequences for you, what kind of quality of work are you going to get? Try to choose all your tattoos (and artists) wisely, and as always, only half of the work is done when the tattoo is complete, it is always up to you to then heal it perfectly!