blujax01

Disappointed In Artist's Behavior

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I should mention that the artist in this thread is a kid (20-something) and bottom on the totem pole at an established, reputable shop. I had a forearm piece done by him several months ago on a whim and was very impressed. So in late April I contact him and send him an idea for a tattoo. He responds that it looks like it is something he can do, he is glad for the opportunity, is eager to do it, etc., he will draw something up and we can get together in a week or so. I don't hear back for two weeks so I stop by the shop. He says: "Glad you're here, I want to get an outline of the area we'll be working in so I can size it right." and grabs some paper and pencil and traces the area.

Another week passes and I see on FB that he says he has openings on Thursday, Friday and Saturday if anyone wants to schedule something. I hit him back with "I'm good anytime except Saturday from 10-3.

I hear nothing back for another day so I send him an Email and he says that Saturday at 6 PM is good. Okay, the shop closes at 6 but whatever, I confirm that I will be there at 6.

Last night (Friday) he sends an email to me telling me he double booked and can I do it Sunday at 6 PM?

I am not getting tattooed on a Sunday, I'm just not.

The tattoo is a version of "Rock Of Ages" that I snagged off the 'Net and told him that I need his input and I do not want a copy cat of someone else's work.

I haven't seen his drawing and why does he only want to do this thing after-hours? Sure, it'll take some time to do and he could probably do two or three easier tats in the same timeframe, but my money is as green as anyone else's. I'm guessing that the Rock On The Range concert is going on this weekend may have something to do with it but why not come out and say he is going to be busy partying?

At any rate, I'm finished with The Kid. In my mind, he is an up-and-comer with a real future but he has to get his act together and realize that in addition to being an art, this is a business and you don't jack customers around for 4 weeks.

I wish him luck.

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Is there are way to politely explain your concerns to him? I would want to know if I am starting to establish bad habits early in my career.

Beyond this, I feel you have enough reason to go look for another person to do your piece

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I haven't seen his drawing and why does he only want to do this thing after-hours? Sure, it'll take some time to do and he could probably do two or three easier tats in the same timeframe, but my money is as green as anyone else's. I'm guessing that the Rock On The Range concert is going on this weekend may have something to do with it but why not come out and say he is going to be busy partying?

Sounds like he just wants to fuck you over and get your money and go party!

Or.. sounds like he's nervous about doing a sizable tattoo and has been getting some guidance on the drawing along the way and maybe chose a time that his mentor is free and can give him a little coaching. If he's an apprentice (or still super green) he may be sweating it. I doubt it's some grand, money-making scheme. If you like the kid's work, work with him. Also, sometimes you have to get tattooed on days that aren't 100% convenient.

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After he had the elements for three weeks, The kid advertised three open days and I hopped on it. He ignored me for one of those days and then overbooked me?

Sorry, there is "working with someone" and then there is "chasing someone".

It's not my job to raise him.

And if he is green and waiting for a mentor to work with him, all he had to do was say so.

I gave him four weeks to figure this out and he still blew it. Adios and vaya con Dios.

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Your timeline is confusing. You say you contacted him in late April. Then waited 2 weeks before showing up. Then waiting another week, and then basically another week after that, making a month like you just said.

But it's barely just now mid May. Just over 2 weeks from late April.

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I've stayed five hours after closing due to having to reschedule someone, or taking a walk in that took too long to draw. I've come in with friends from out of town at 3:00 a.m. before. Sunday mornings and evenings are relatively common as well. It happens from time to time. People double book... people have to reschedule... tattooers get sick... etc. If he needs to work you in and not throw off any of his other appointments, after hours or a day off are the way to go. Otherwise, you move someone else, they get mad, so you have to work them back in, and move someone else, etc., etc., etc.

Also, never take Facebook comments as being booked. Go see them in person, and get your name written in a book. Also, unless you're doing huuuuge work, it's pretty standard to not see art unless you go in face to face as well. Who knows if the client will screenshot it, then go somewhere else with it because it's cheaper? Not saying you would ever do something like that, just explaining why you may not have seen it.

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Yeah, I gotta say, this isn't really all that uncommon. While I've been tattooed by some who are very prompt and professional, others have just kept it more "loose" I guess. If you aren't traveling for the tattoo or anything, I don't really think it's that big of a deal.

I mean, he offered you another time slot, and for all you know, those 3 days may have just filled up quickly, or like others have said, maybe he just wanted to take more time with the drawing. Not that it's any of my business, but why not get tattooed on a Sunday if you're available? Is it a religious thing? I thought that was only for working.

Obviously it's your choice to get tattooed by this person or not, but if you really like their work then I don't think the circumstances call for completely calling off the entire thing. Did you put down a deposit? If not, that means the guy will have probably spent hours working on a drawing for you and won't be compensated for that time at all.

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Your timeline is confusing. You say you contacted him in late April. Then waited 2 weeks before showing up. Then waiting another week, and then basically another week after that, making a month like you just said.

But it's barely just now mid May. Just over 2 weeks from late April.

First contact was April 20, which is late April. Today is May 17. 27 days is one day shy of 4 weeks since I first sent him the drawing.

I'm only saying that if any of you are artists, you may lose clients if you don't tend to them. It wasn't just one thing so picking me apart piece by piece isn't going to change anything. It was the whole picture of him dragging his feet.

And Gougetheeyes, as the paying customer, I indeed get tattooed on the day I find convenient and after four weeks and nothing to show for it but a cancellation I find time to get another artist. Remember, he had the initial drawing and said he would get back to me and it was me who followed up, never him.

At the end of the day, he is paid to provide a service. In this case, he failed - miserably.

Next question: Do I contact the owner of the shop and explain my disappointment in order to allow him to give the kid a learning opportunity in customer service? After all, it is the Boss's name on the front door.

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No one likes a tattletale. Say something to the tattooer if you feel like it. Be prepared to not getting the response you want to hear, even though I do hope you get that.

This all sounds like a bad Yelp review.

I don't know what yelp is so...

I don't think of it as tattling, we're not in junior high school. We're adults, one seeking a service and another proving a service.

Look, tattooing is a business populated by artists, as is music. I was a professional musician for a decade and made a pretty good living at it. Now if I were hanging out on a street corner busking, I could play what I wanted, when I wanted and show up or not. But when I chose to make it a profession, I was expected to show up on time, clean and sober, ready to play whatever I was told to, when I was told to. It is called being a responsible adult.

Artists who get paid on an hourly basis have chosen to become workers and are expected to keep schedules and meet commitments, like any other working adult. Part of a tattoo artist's service is to assess the scope of the project, and let the customer know when it can be done and how long it may take.

I repeat - it is not the responsibility of the customer to repeatedly contact the tattooist and ask how it is coming along. If any contractor says he will get back to me in a few days and a week passes and I don't hear from him, he has failed and has lost a customer. This reflects poorly on his company and word gets around.

I really would like to hear from the shop owners - the guys tasked with keeping the rent paid and the lights on. If you have a young promising artist who has problems meeting deadlines, setting goals and staying on top of the work, do you appreciate hearing about it? Is the artist going to be "in trouble" or is it taken as constructive criticism where the incident can be used as a learning opportunity.

Or do you put up with this sort of thing? I've been getting tattooed for 20 years and this is a first for me.

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Talk to the person. And like was mentioned, if you weren't in a book or written on a schedule, you didn't have an appointment. By the time he saw some Facebook comment, 48 people could have come into the shop, of whom several could have booked all of his time. Which could lead to offering you an after hours spot, so that you don't have to wait even longer to get tattooed. Perhaps the counter guy already wrote someone in there without him realizing it, which caused the issue to reschedule to Sunday.

Mainly, talk to the person about your concerns, hang your angry customer hat at the door, and listen to his issues or concerns. Perhaps most importantly, IF YOU DON'T HAVE YOUR NAME IN A BOOK, YOU DON'T HAVE AN APPOINTMENT. And if you don't have an appointment, your drawing probably isn't getting worked on, unless it's large and involved.

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I have never come across an artist who actively keeps me up to date with how things are going. If I want to see any drawing ahead of time it's my responsibility to contact them and ask. In saying that I've never had any artist draw anything up for me too far in advance if it's not a massive piece.

Sure you could contact the boss but in all honesty I'm not sure they would do much more than think you were being a bit of a difficult customer.

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Chill, dog. S'all good. Scheduling can be rough, especially for some kid who has no idea how to be that kind of serviceman. If hes just having trouble getting you into the shop, but hes doing good tattoos on you, then just try and make it easy for him to get you in. A tattoo is prolly worth waiting a couple weeks for anyways.

Youre holding a 20 year old to adult standards? Come on man.

I'm also sure Jesus would look the other way if you got a cross tattooed on the Sabbath.

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I don't know what yelp is so...

I don't think of it as tattling, we're not in junior high school. We're adults, one seeking a service and another proving a service.

Look, tattooing is a business populated by artists, as is music. I was a professional musician for a decade and made a pretty good living at it. Now if I were hanging out on a street corner busking, I could play what I wanted, when I wanted and show up or not. But when I chose to make it a profession, I was expected to show up on time, clean and sober, ready to play whatever I was told to, when I was told to. It is called being a responsible adult.

Artists who get paid on an hourly basis have chosen to become workers and are expected to keep schedules and meet commitments, like any other working adult. Part of a tattoo artist's service is to assess the scope of the project, and let the customer know when it can be done and how long it may take.

I repeat - it is not the responsibility of the customer to repeatedly contact the tattooist and ask how it is coming along. If any contractor says he will get back to me in a few days and a week passes and I don't hear from him, he has failed and has lost a customer. This reflects poorly on his company and word gets around.

I really would like to hear from the shop owners - the guys tasked with keeping the rent paid and the lights on. If you have a young promising artist who has problems meeting deadlines, setting goals and staying on top of the work, do you appreciate hearing about it? Is the artist going to be "in trouble" or is it taken as constructive criticism where the incident can be used as a learning opportunity.

Or do you put up with this sort of thing? I've been getting tattooed for 20 years and this is a first for me.

My $0.02 as a business owner myself (in an unrelated professional field) I can say that I have miss-judged my workload, other clients (who already paid me) have canceled/screwed up my schedule, my dog gets sick, my car gets a flat, or whatever. Remember these are people too. I also don't hand hold any of my clients (some of which are very large companies or acronym government organizations. Sometimes it comes down to bad luck or simply miscommunication, or more often lack of communication. One thing I've found with business owner to business owner interactions is we all realize the other 20 hours a day, we have our other lives to live. That being said during work time nothing ever, ever runs 100% flawless.

A good point was brought up if you dropped a deposit. While I never say it, a customer that didn't plop down some cash already is still a potential. Do you know how often clients engage with the 101 questions, then just drop off the face of the earth? Way more than I would like. A lot of those times I am left with a bunch of work I did with nothing to show for it. This is disappointing and also costs me money. While I was dicking around with Mr. 101 questions I could have been doing paid work for someone I know has the cash to back up the questions, and most of those times I am wondering why the hell did they just drop off the face of the earth. Did I insult them, did I miss a meeting?

As mentioned by @BrianH I have also passively avoided clients I know are just dead ends or difficult to work with. I have a "client" that has so far asked 1000 questions, a million "ideas", etc but has yet to execute one. I no longer pick up the phone when he calls, ignore his voicemails and barely read his emails. He has wasted way too much of my time to bother responding. Even if he was to go ahead with paid work, I know his method of operation and it would be a time suck. Why do x10 the work for the same pay I get from clients that are no nonsense types who have reasonable expectations.

This all being said, I don't know the whole story so I am simply putting down some of my own thought processes. So until I get the story from the shop/artists side, I am making no judgement calls.

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So if I understand your story...

You approached the guy with your tattoo idea. He said, "Yeah, cool." You didn't leave a deposit. You didn't make an appointment.

You went to the shop and he traced your arm, showing he had every intention to do your tattoo. You didn't leave a deposit. You didn't make an appointment.

He posted on Facebook that he had an opening and you wrote back. Maybe you were the first; maybe you were the hundredth. A lot of tattooers who post on FB and IG still want you to make appointments via email, phone, or in person. And when in fact you did email, lo and behold you got one.

Too bad he had to reschedule. It happens. Maybe he had an out-of-town client who couldn't rebook, who knows? In any event, he offered you another slot, twenty-four hours later, after regular shop hours, meaning he went out of his way to accommodate you.

Get a tattoo from the guy or don't. Some artists are worth waiting for. I haven't been getting tattooed for twenty years, but I do understand it's a unique business -- not like buying a T-shirt at the mall.

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I have one tattoo and I'm planning another one this week. I arranged both over email (both live far away) and neither of them asked for a deposit. I have a question, am I supposed to volunteer a deposit? I figured if they wanted one they would request it. It would be hard to do over the internet though unless they take Paypal. If it's a local and I see them in person should I offer a deposit?

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Talk to the kid. Be stand up. Maybe the "learning opportunity" comes from you speaking to him directly and possibly getting any misunderstandings resolved, and reestablishing the good relationship you seemed to have had. It's easy to imagine all the probable wrongs that someone has directed personally at you (and I am using the royal you), when usually that's not the case. Just ask what happened, express your concern and go from there. Or walk away and do nothing. Otherwise you kill a relationship by being a dick. The world has enough dicks.

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Conversations about the design went on through 4/29 when I said: "I'm ready when you are." Then I hear nothing more. No "Come in and schedule it". No "I'll look for an opening in my book." NOTHING

Friday 9 May I stop by and he does the trace saying: "Give me a couple of days and we'll schedule something. I AM PUMPED TO DO THIS." No request for a deposit, no mention of putting it on a calendar. I say nothing about how much time this is taking. I am being patient, so far. After all, he said to give him a couple more days. Then I hear nothing for yet another week. If I had contacted him how many of you would have been on the "quit bugging him" bandwagon, eh? Be honest. He seemed to need time and I gave it to him.

His FB comment on May 13 at Noon: "I have openings this week and weekend if anyone would like tattooed. Call or email..." Okay, this is my BIG CHANCE!!!

My comment on FB on May 13 at 12:30 PM, half an hour latter his post: "I'm ready when you are. Email incoming."

My Email on May 13 at 1PM: "I work Saturday from 10 AM to 3 PM. Anytime Thursday or Friday morning, afternoon or evening or Saturday anytime after work is fine by me." No response for two more days.

My FB comment on May 15: "Josh, did you get my email. Check your Spam filter, I'm ready when you are."

His email on May 15: "Thanks for the heads-up on the Spam. How about Saturday May 17 at 6 PM?" Me: "Fine."

His email on Friday May 16: "Double booked... etc..."

Now wouldn't you be a bit frustrated at this point? And JimStanley, as to "holding a 20 year old to adult standards" what is the current cutoff for babying Millennials??? He is old enough to father a child, he damn well better be acting like an adult. And as far as your religion comments: KMA:cool:

Now that that is out of my system, he emailed me this morning: "Would you be free Wednesday at all? I'm off on Thursday but could come in for you if Wednesday doesn't work."

I thought long and hard about it and decided that maybe, just maybe, since it is Sunday and all, I can give him another shot at it.

My email back to him within an hour: "I am available Wednesday morning, afternoon, or evening. Let me know what time to be there. I'm stoked. Giddy Up!"

Aannd, I haven't heard a peep out of him all afternoon.

We'll see...

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