ShawnPorter

Are bad tattoos our fault?

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I think about this all the time; someone shows you a really jacked up tattoo and waits, beaming for your praise. For the most part, I used to say "nice one" or something noncommittal, but I've increasingly had less of a poker face and have been getting called on not liking their tattoo.

When they ask what's wrong... I've been telling them.

Is not letting a friend know he/she is wearing garbage (on a technical level, not an ideological level) tantamount to encouraging them to get more crap work?

Or should I just be polite?

Thoughts?

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I am with Deb. If someone asks me to recommend a tattoo artist I do. If they ask me about an already existing tattoo then I smile and nod my head in as positive a manner as I can muster. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. If they start paying me to be a life coach then I will start giving them the truth.

Most people can't tell the difference anyway. In fact I am beginning to wonder if I can tell the difference. In the last year I have started to use (I fucking hate this term, but it is the proper one so I will use it) social media, and it is having a negative impact on the way I feel about certain tattooers and their tattoos. There are a couple of guys in particular that I used to love their tattooing, but now it does not move me at all. I am not sure if it is the tattoos or the way that these people come across on the internet, but either way I have stopped liking their work. It really makes me wonder if I really liked their work before or if I just recognized their name and was influenced by that recognition.

Anyway I have gone way off of topic. Ignorance is bliss. This is especially true when you have a great big shitty tattoo covering your forearm.

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If it is someone that likes their bad tattoo, I usually say "Well I've seen worse" with a grin, I'm not lying and they usually aren't offended. If it is someone wanting an "touch up" on a tattoo that is an epic fail, then I explain in as polite a way possible that a cross-eyed monkey with glaucoma and Parkinson's disease could have done a better job, but I can fix or cover it no problem.

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I'm with Deb. I was at my Doctor's office yesterday, and his assistant started discussing tattoos when she was taking my blood pressure and saw mine. She showed me her latest, which was some mediocre script, so I nodded and smiled. She asked who had done mine, and I told her. She mentioned the artist who had done hers, a local with a pretty poor reputation, saying "He's CHEAP" as if it were high praise. If price is the prime motivator, and she's happy with the work, who am I to say it's crap?

Now, if anyone asks my opinion on said artist before going top see him, I'll happily inform them that his work sucks donkey balls and you get what you pay for.

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If someone is talking to me about tattoos, it's usually because they've seen mine, so I make a point of telling them where I got them and who specializes in what. I think specialty is an overlooked point here- most good artists can do everything, but if someone was looking for Japanese work in town, for instance, how could I not mention Trevino?

Sometimes it's not about just a good artist; it's a matter of the right artist for the job.

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and she's happy with the work, who am I to say it's crap?

This is pretty much how I think about people's tattoos. If one likes the tattoo he have, it shouldn't be my problem if I think otherwise. I never ask anyone's opinion about my tattoos simply because I don't care other's opinions. My tattoos are mine and for me, not to a girl next door.

I happen to like tattoos which aren't looking like they were ripped off from some kids' coloring book - or even worst, from the latest tattoo mag. I like my tattoos looking rough. Like they were made by some bad ass M.F. using guitar strings. Treasure for me, trash to some... Peace.

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This is pretty much how I think about people's tattoos. If one likes the tattoo he have, it shouldn't be my problem if I think otherwise. I never ask anyone's opinion about my tattoos simply because I don't care other's opinions. My tattoos are mine and for me, not to a girl next door.

I happen to like tattoos which aren't looking like they were ripped off from some kids' coloring book - or even worst, from the latest tattoo mag. I like my tattoos looking rough. Like they were made by some bad ass M.F. using guitar strings. Treasure for me, trash to some... Peace.

I am interested in seeing these rough tattoos

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Sometimes this is effective without being impolite: say the tattoo is a terrible phoenix or something - say "oh cool, I like phoenixes. I saw an incredible one the other day done by [insert awesome artist here], since you like phoenixes you should check it out!" but, you know, less lame sounding.

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I have a few friends who are in the "I only like tattoos that don't look like tattoos" group. They keep getting awful blobs of scabs drawn on them, but they're overjoyed. I just say something like, "Wow, who did that?" as I don't want to hurt their feelings. (In fairness, they also hate mine).

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smile and nod, i tend to joke around about everything so i find something to joke about rather than actually answer the question of how their tattoo looks. usually, i just tell them it sucks because they didn't get it from me, so that i can feed my babies (even if it's a nice looking tattoo). if someone really wants to pin me down on my opinion in regards to their tattoo, i ask if they like it? and if so, who cares what anyone else thinks. and if they are unsure about it, then they already know that they aren't happy with it.

i did have a waiter while taking our order, take his shoe and sock off and put his foot on our table and ask what i thought of it...i said "awesome, i'm just glad you were able to get it up on the table so i could see it real good before the food got here" i didn't even look at the tattoo but would've said anything to get his sweaty foot off the table

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My first tattoo wasn't the best so I bite my tongue typically, but living in a tourist town you see more than a handful of shit tattoos during spring break. Sadly enough, people are more interested in cheap tattoos rather than quality and would pay for shit just to have a tattoo.

Side note: why is it that people without tattoos feel the need to tell you all their prospective tattoo plans out of the blue once they see yours?

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My first tattoo wasn't the best so I bite my tongue typically, but living in a tourist town you see more than a handful of shit tattoos during spring break. Sadly enough, people are more interested in cheap tattoos rather than quality and would pay for shit just to have a tattoo.

Side note: why is it that people without tattoos feel the need to tell you all their prospective tattoo plans out of the blue once they see yours?

I do say I found it is hard to find anyone tattooed that doesn't have at least one bad tattoo. Unless you're lucky like @Iwar

I think that people like shitty cheap tattoos better most of the time due to either two things.

1. They don't know better. I was in this boat at one point. Cheap, crappy tattoos are way more previlant than good tattoos.

2. People are cheap and/or are doing for a fashion statement. In their mind its like picking up a pair of (insert brand) jeans for cheap. These are the same people that usually question why do I buy a 10 dollar bottle of chimay instead of a "thirty pack of natty ice".

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I do say I found it is hard to find anyone tattooed that doesn't have at least one bad tattoo. Unless you're lucky like @Iwar

I think that people like shitty cheap tattoos better most of the time due to either two things.

1. They don't know better. I was in this boat at one point. Cheap, crappy tattoos are way more previlant than good tattoos.

2. People are cheap and/or are doing for a fashion statement. In their mind its like picking up a pair of (insert brand) jeans for cheap. These are the same people that usually question why do I buy a 10 dollar bottle of chimay instead of a "thirty pack of natty ice".

That's true, you gotta learn some how. Unfortunately my first tattoo was big and can't be covered, but it has been reworked and I get a heap of compliments on it now, but there are areas that I look at constantly that bug me. It's been all uphill since though so I can't complain.

Yea it bugs me when price is even mentioned as a concern in relation to a good artist/tattoo. You're not paying for something that'll just be replaced next year. But it's not me or my body so it's not my problem.

Haha, that probably explains why they make 30 pack keystones available to go along with their cheap tattoos

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I am interested in seeing these rough tattoos

Here ya go, rough is pretty mild for these two. The back piece owner is very happy so why would I critique? Because I have spent my entire adult life trying to lend credit to the trade and art of tattooing and am qualified to do so but ultimately the meth head who owns this is very happy which illustrates that "tattoos can be as unique as the individual". And this abomination was done by a graduate of the "Tattoo School" in NY that charged more with their 2 weeks experience than I would have with my 32 years of constant study and dedication, and somehow I "needed" to see and comment with "what I thought?" when this guy bounced in to "show and tell", WTF?!

The second abomination is on the upper thigh of a lady who was happy with the tattoo but wanted the guns fixed, the skull fixed, the hat fixed, the rose fixed and wanted the lettering to be more legible in the hat....This is to say that the lady was happy with the tattoo but wanted the tattoo totally "redone but better", so the psychology is that the lady didn't want to admit to herself that the tattoo was jacked up, admit she had made a bad decision nor did she wish to divulge who the "tattoo artist" was. Now lets consider that she went to get the brakes fixed on her car and when she left after the payment for the services rendered the brakes didn't work, wouldn't it be proper to warn her friends of the brake shop that did the work? But the accepted norm today seems that people are compelled to defend their actions even if they are wrong and then there are those who live in the bliss of ignorance.

This is nothing new, so many times we encounter people asking "what we think" of something that doesn't require much more than a six year old to tell them that it's not "good", in fact a "pleasant reply" would be "If ya have to ask then I don't need to tell ya".

So often we see these designs coming to our shops but now they are strolling in from shops that proclaim to be professional and I have to call 'em as I see em' . Often I apologize to them as I feel somewhat sorry for them, short changed by some scammer that is working harder at burning down the overall rep of the trade and art of tattooing.

Ultimately, if they are happy with crap then let them sport crap but the general pop needs to get more educated that good tattoos can't be found on craigslist.

I know that with some here I'm preaching to the choir but in this day and age when every 29 seconds a kid in a trailer court becomes a tattoo artist and the garden variety customer of theirs is giving referrals to the masses creating the illusion that underground unlicensed tattooing is "better" and that learned professionals tattooing above ground are the scammers is like peddling bad smack on a playground.

So to recap, those people who don't see any diff, let them eat cake, and for those who seek honest answers need the advice and opinion of a professional and sometimes blood tests. After 32 years of tattooing I could go on forever with all the stories I could tell of people coming in from shops above ground that were told the redness and granulomas of what was a staph infection "was normal" indicating the tattoo hut was either uneducated or didn't give a dam, this effects the reputation of tattoos and the realm of the professionals whom ultimately become the whipping post's of/for their actions.

Sorry for the rant but when the scratchers outnumber the professionals 20 to 1 they can and do create a false representation of true professional tattooing. We all witness daily the faces of those who don't and may never understand anything more of what we are discussing than what they have to pay for "believe" in tiny letters scribbled on their wrist and the truth is in the fact that this will never change and there will always be those whom are very proud to have a Taz waving the rebel flag holding a can of beer with a misspelled name tattooed on their chest at their trailer park bar-b-que.

Sorry again for the rant but this thread made me feel like posting.

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I've been chomping at the bit to get a tattoo for the last 3 years. But that doesn't mean I'm going to go and get work by someone who has a short waiting list. When I signed up to this forum I thought I might get stick for not having any tattoos, and then I remembered that I could have a dozen tattoos by now, if I was prepared to go to bad artists. Instead, I am a month away from getting some work done by Valerie.

I will never understand the desire for bad work because it is cheap. I'm not sure I can really blame the artist too much - nobody is holding a gun to the heads of the people who keep these tattooists in business. It's all about supply and demand, I guess.

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Waiting lists aren't what I consider. Competent tattoing is. And depending on where you live you can get a badass "walk-in" tattoo.

Understanding what makes a good tattooer and a good tattoo is much more important than a waiting list in my determination of who to see.

That being said, I would be stoked to be on Valerie's waiting list!

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Long list does not always equate to good work

Absolutely. My point was that after finding out how long the list was for a handful of tattooists, I opted for Valerie anyway. If I simply wanted some tattoos quickly for the sake of having tattoos I could have got a walk-in by any number of tattooists where I live.

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