fuckhead

Does personality/attitude/lifestyle matter when choosing a tattooer?

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Couldn't find a thread that quite fit this topic so thought I would throw it up here for discussion...

My last couple of experiences have been with walk-in-loving street shops that employ several great artists. At each shop, I've gone in with the hope of being tattooed by a particular artist, but I've ended up being tattooed by someone different than I had originally gone into the shop to see. In both instances, I went to the shop and looked through the flash while trying to get a "feel" for the shop and looking at portfolios and seeing who I think might be most adept at doing the sort of tattoo I want. While there, I witnessed these two artists (both at different shops, mind you) acting like complete jackasses and generally giving me a really uncool vibe. I ended up going with a different artist, in each case a highly competent and great tattooer but one whose portfolio and style I liked ever so slightly less just because I didn't want to get a (maybe) slightly better tattoo but have a bad experience that I will remember that tattoo by.

Thus, do you think personality of a tattooer matters? If someone has a reputation as an impeccable artist but a total asshole (not just "gruff" or whatever, like that story about Scott going to Bob Roberts' shop and being bounced right the fuck out, but just an overall douche) would you want work done by them? If you're straight edge would you get tattooed by a great artist who also happens to be a drunk or drug user (not sure how often these categories overlap, but, hey!)? Does the final product outweigh the experience of getting the tattoo put on? Any other factors you consider outside of the finished product when choosing a tattooer?

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I think personality/attitude is very important. I will take a less than perfect tattoo from a great person before I take a world-class tattoo from an asshole. Anyway though, I think their personality shows in their work to the extent that I wouldn't be attracted to an assholes artwork...at least I don't think.

Short answer -- personality is very important to me. The experience and memory of the moment is going to outlive the crispnesss and vibrance of the tattoo, I think...

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Once upon a time, in a land far, far away...

Well, actually, it was Chicago.

There was only one tattoo parlor, and if you wanted to get some work done, that was where you went.

Since there was only one, it was almost always crowded, and if the Squids had Shore Leave from Great Mistakes, there could be a line of Dixie-Cups all the way around the corner into the alley. Because of that, sometimes you didn't get the warm, friendly greeting and the cup of fresh-roasted coffee when you walked in. You told the man what you wanted, paid him, he tattooed you, and you got the fuck out.

Wasn't ALWAYS like that, but many times. Figure in to the equation that the shop was in what was then the ghetto, and you got even more negativity going. I was getting tattooed by Dale Grand when the shop was at 922, and he had this nice S&W .357 sitting on the table right next to the inks. A banger-type comes in, starts asking about getting some crosses put on his hands, and is told "we don't tattoo the hands or face". He starts to get lippy, then realizes that the tattoo machine has been set-down and the hand is now on the S&W. He left, we continued our convo.

Back then-the seventies-there were times when the tattooer and tattooee would go out back and burn one off, or whatever. Maybe only one would.

Point is, if the work is what you want, get it and don't worry about the rest. If you can have a decent relationship with the person working on you, great, if not, as long as the work is good, tuff shit. I know this is going to be hard to believe, but there were some people around in the seventies and eighties who alleged that Dale wasn't the easiest guy in the world to get along with...but watdafuk do they know, they've said the same and worse about me!

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Personally speaking, in the final analysis. it's all about the tattoo.

That's all you will be left with long after the memory, about the experience, fades.

It's a bonus if getting the tattoo is a nice experience, but for me, its not a deal breaker.

Edit- I said it's all about the tattoo but.....

Saturday week I have got an appointment with Doc Price in Plymouth. Doc has been tattooing since the 1950's. I'm not getting a tattoo from him because he's the best out there but because he is part of tattooing history in the UK. He tattooed a pal of mine, in the 1970's.

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I wouldn't get work from an ass-hole, but I have to trust someone to let them work on me and I don't trust ass-holes, regardless of their reputation. I don't get the whole walk-in thing myself. I decided on who I wanted to do my work and went from there. I just wait for an appointment. But then I'm an anal-retentive, obsessive-compulsive, over-thinking ass-hole, so that may have something to do with it.

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I think a good attitude is important. Makes a great tattoo a great experience. It's possible to be professional and fun at the same time. (without coming across as a jack-ass or too serious). PMA!

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I wouldn't get work from an ass-hole, but I have to trust someone to let them work on me and I don't trust ass-holes, regardless of their reputation. I don't get the whole walk-in thing myself. I decided on who I wanted to do my work and went from there. I just wait for an appointment. But then I'm an anal-retentive, obsessive-compulsive, over-thinking ass-hole, so that may have something to do with it.

Me too, on all of the above.

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While I could give a shit if I ever became friends with the artist, I would also never get tattooed by an asshole or one of the "rockstar" types. In my opinion getting tattooed is a business transaction and should be handled as such. When I deal with work clients sometimes we end up getting along and grabbing a few beers, which is nice but not required. This being said, I have only been tattooed by one person that I would never go back to again because of the general attitude I got the entire time. I always felt uncomfortable, like I was a nuisance the whole time. On top of this he talked about customers in the shop (me included), but he never got it that I could understand the language he was speaking....not cool (a few comments were justified).

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One of the things that you can't always know at street shops is what the dude is going to be like...if ya make an appointment with 'em you can get a feel for their personality, but portfolios online hardly give you any real idea of what the artist is going to be like personality-wise. That said, the artist I went to for one of my tattoos focused on me and giving me a nice experience while the co-worker just made a string of racist/sexist/homophobic jokes and largely ignored the dude in his chair.

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I like the shop I use for mainly that I like the artists who are down to earth people that listen to what I'm going after and they do their best to fulfill my wishes. Are they the best artists around? Probably not, but they are well-respected and do a nice job all the time. I've sat in the chair in other shops with flakes for artists and that back and forth thing wasn't there. I basically sat there like a piece of meat. I go where I feel comfortable.

CG

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Attitude is very important to me, and I have less tattoos because of it. I've grown to dislike tattoos as I grew to dislike the person that did it for me, and I've definitely avoided getting tattooed by coworkers because I didn't get on with them. I think that the entire experience should be a good one. I'm not into dealing with people who feel their owed a respect that they don't themselves give to others. So because of this, I really only get tattooed by people that I have personal respect, as well as being amazed by their work. It's better when the entire package is nice.

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Attitude is very important to me, and I have less tattoos because of it. I've grown to dislike tattoos as I grew to dislike the person that did it for me, and I've definitely avoided getting tattooed by coworkers because I didn't get on with them. I think that the entire experience should be a good one. I'm not into dealing with people who feel their owed a respect that they don't themselves give to others. So because of this, I really only get tattooed by people that I have personal respect, as well as being amazed by their work. It's better when the entire package is nice.

I completely agree. There are several really awesome tattooers who do incredible work--one in particular that I really wanted to get tattooed by at one time--who I have no interest in getting anything from based entirely on how they've treated friends of mine that have worked with or been tattooed by them. If I was starting over with no tattoos at all, I might not be as concerned with it, but knowing that there's a limit on how many more times I can get tattooed makes me really want that "whole experience." Which isn't to say that I expect anyone to be my best friend...I usually don't talk a lot when I'm getting tattooed, so I'm okay with relative silence, so long as they're not a dick or spouting of homophobic/racist/otherwise offensive shit.

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Sometimes you might not realize how much of an asshole that person is until you're in the chair and half-way through a tattoo. Won't go into details because of the names involved, but suffice to say I saw an ex-gf of mine come home all upset because of how much of a dick this well-known & respected guy was and trashed another tattooer friend of ours the entire time he was tattooing her. Neither of us saw that beforehand. Sometimes you just dont know until it's too late.

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i think getting tattooed by someone that has a cool personality and is enjoyable to have a conversation with can really make or break an experience. i've been tattooed by a couple of dudes that were really cool and awesome to shoot the shit with. only once have a been tattooed by someone that wasn't super talkative; he was a jerk or anything, but not very chatty, but that's ok. the dudes that i've been able to have a conversation with pretty much through my whole appointment made for an awesome experience.

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Sometimes you might not realize how much of an asshole that person is until you're in the chair and half-way through a tattoo. Won't go into details because of the names involved, but suffice to say I saw an ex-gf of mine come home all upset because of how much of a dick this well-known & respected guy was and trashed another tattooer friend of ours the entire time he was tattooing her. Neither of us saw that beforehand. Sometimes you just dont know until it's too late.

Sadly this is people in general. In my line of work I have ran into shitty people that you don't know about until halfway through. 20/20 hindsight

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i think getting tattooed by someone that has a cool personality and is enjoyable to have a conversation with can really make or break an experience. i've been tattooed by a couple of dudes that were really cool and awesome to shoot the shit with. only once have a been tattooed by someone that wasn't super talkative; he wasn't a jerk or anything, but not very chatty, but that's ok. the dudes that i've been able to have a conversation with pretty much through my whole appointment made for an awesome experience.

for some reason i can't edit my OP

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I'd certainly have to avoid artists who have a drug/alcohol problem (hopefully I'd find out about it prior to ink touching skin), but I'd be more tolerant of an asshole if I knew his work ethic was impecable. Hell, 2 of my favorite musicians (Zappa and Miles) were both apparently supreme jerks in more ways than 1 - but I still love their art.

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i know lots of people care mostly about having tattoos from guys who are hot shit at the time, or just care to be at the hot shit shop

i don't really care about that, i prefer to have an enjoyable experience, hear some good stories and have some laughs...i'm lucky that i know of a place that i can do that and still get a great tattoo.

i'm also lucky that all the dudes i've been tattoo'd by have been pretty ok guys.

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this thread will only work if people start naming names. I would only get tattooed by people I like personally. Im almost full up so those remaining patches of skin are very important to me.

For naming names of people I've been tattooed by or have been around that are cool and good tattooers:

Regino Gonzales

Stewart Robson

Thomas Hooper

Kiku

Troy Denning

and the list goes on but there is a few

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