Just a quick post this time, dear readers!
We’ve all seen hilarious and terrible tattoos on the internet and nearly peed ourselves laughing at them. I’ve cried laughing at someof them (Sorry folks!) Some are downright awful, and we simply chuckle and thank our lucky stars that they weren’t inflicted on us!
While doing my apprenticeship I still laugh at them (tee hee!) but I also look at them with a bit more of a critical eye.
Mixed with the hilarity of another’s misfortune is the bitter fear of ever creating such a tattoo myself.
Now, of course I will never tattoo sunglasses on someone’s face or cats instead of eyebrows, but I never want to give someone something they might one day be unhappy with.
When I started tattooing I perhaps naively worked away under the open-minded (Or ignorant) opinion that everyone has a different sense of humour, everyone likes different things, and that one day I’ll probably be asked to design or work on something I won’t enjoy as much as other projects or maybe a design that I disagree with. It’s a given! We all have days at work that aren’t great, and as we’ve seen on the internet some people have terrible ideas.
This issue was introduced to me in an odd way- it was a design that I liked and not something I thought would offend or upset.
(For privacy I won’t post the actual image but ones that are similar!)
It was me and some colleagues who designed the tattoo after looking to make a flash sheet on word play- It was perhaps a little tongue-in-cheek, even dark but that’s the sort of humor I love! It’s maybe for this reason that I didn’t think much more about it.
Soon a lovely lady popped in to get that specific tattoo and I was all too happy for someone with the same sense of humor as me to get it! Hooray! We got on swimmingly, of course!
It was after I’d done the tattoo that I was asked about the thought behind it. I had simply liked the design and thought it was fun, but It was put to me that others might find it offensive or not appreciate the sentiment behind it. This specific tattoo was not very offensive or a bad design, It suited the lady and matched her other tattoos extremely well, seamlessly really, but it was right that this was something I think about in future-
We’ve all suffered loss in our time, and know someone who no longer wanted to live, which is of course what this tattoo was evocative of- I hadn’t thought about the prospect of it hurting people or even being a reflection of the person themselves on wanting to get a design that could be seen as both sad or simply dark.
Maybe you could say that what we have on our bodies is much like our clothes and of absolutely no business to anyone else? But is it not the job of the tattoo artist to steer and guide people to a better design, or something that will look good, promote happiness and age well? I think so- so it would stand to reason that it is also our job to encourage people to get positive tattoos and not encourage negative designs that will stay with people for the rest of their lives… no?
I have always preferred sad stories, morals, darkness in a story, the idea of learning from my mistakes and gothic literature, so i don’t see issue with someone wanting something tragic on their bodies as long as it offends nobody and they’ve thought the design through- It’s my bread and butter! It’s what i do! I’ve seen a million gore tattoos, and even explicitly sexual ones, so who am I to decide for someone? That being said it was something that really made me reflect on my designs, and what I draw for people, especially what I agree to tattooing, and there have been incidences since where i refuse people or encourage them to change the design entirely for what I believed was better.
What do you think? Is it none of the tattoo artist’s business or do you think more of a stand should be taken everywhere in this sort of issue?
Just some softcore examples below, enjoy!