Dan Martin

Bad tattoo done at your shop

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This is more for shop owners and tattooist in general but I'd appreciate any and all feed back. The last few weeks I've had a few customers complain about tattoos they recieved at our shop. With one tattoo, the work was fine and the complaint turned out to be more of a personal preference thing ( wishing it was more rendered vs traditional etc. ) My diliema is that they already saw the artists portfolio and knew what style he excels at, so why compare him to someone else in the shop after the fact? Im curious how others would handle this kind of client ( with out telling him to screw himself ) On the flip side, what if the artist over stepped his limitations and tried something above his skill set? ( this time with out firing my artist )

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times have changed and there are a lot of people now getting tattooed who shouldnt be. because they are doing for the wrong reasons, that being the popularity factor. these people would never have gotten tattooed 5-6 years ago and probably looked down their noses at those of us who do have them. because they dont actually love tattoos and dont really want them at their core being. they are never going to be happy with any thing most of the time. so its important to know who you're dealing with. or like you said maybe they just picked the wrong guy for the job and had different expectations or they could have picked the right guy but did not explain thouroughly what the want. I for example approach tattoos in many different way some times i appraoch a pinup from sailor jerry's mindset and sometime i go in a chris conn direction with tighter details and what not so i a;ways ask my client how trad vs rendered they wanted. or maybe he did overstep his limitations but thats a neccessary eveil if he is ever to grow beyond his limitations. what i would evaluate is whether he is turning out consistantly good confident tattoos. we all have unhappy clients from time to time so its important to look at the big picture. talk with him and see what he thinks the problem is. if it's just a personal taste issue and its not his tattoo ability that is in question im sure y'all can figure it out. if he's just doing bad tattoos that are drawn and/or tattooed badly then thats a lil more complicated. anyway what im really saying is I just dont know.

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Well said, Bart.

There was woman working in my shop who only wanted to render images brought to her by customers. She didn't want to draw ANYTHING. Her portfolio did not reflect that at all to customers as they saw these really nice, rendered portraits or statues or whatever. Since we refer people to portfolios so they can choose who tattoos them, MANY people wanted to get tattooed by her. When asked who they wanted to do the job, many people picked her based on her portfolio. The next question is "What do you want to get?" "A script name," they often answered- not knowing that she could take a perfectly good portrait and fuck it up with her version of a script name because she didn't care enough to learn lettering well enough to make it match her renderings. It was not uncommon for her to Google "Fancy Script" when she could get away with it.

In this case it was a matter of a tattooer who didn't care and some customers who in a lot cases just did not know what they wanted. This of course, did not keep them from giving unfavorable reviews of my shop and their experiences online. She no longer works with us and it changed the environment in our shop for the better.

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we let the customer choose the tattooer by the portofolio either but i think a lot of people dont really see what matters. i think "artistical uneducated" people sometimes cant really judge if the tattooer can really do "their" tattoo. i let our shopguys guide the customer to the right tattooer without really recommend anybody.

i think in a busy shop with serveral tattooers you always have unsatisfied customers, and i totally agree with bart that some people dont know what a tattoo really is and should not get tattooed. these people will be unhappy either way.

if something like that happens in my shop i talk to the tattooer, the customer and take a look at the tattoo to judge who made a mistake at first.

i think the tattooer has the biggest responsibility, because he should consider to pass the customer to another artist if he is not sure if he can do the right job

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I recently had someone in my chair getting some celtic knot work or something tribal ---not sure- but he said that he looked in my portfolio and was impressed by one of my portraits or something realistic which is he chose me??????

Go figure that motivation.

So if someone chooses a traditional artist to do their portrait they can only expect a "traditional" style portrait. Or if they look at a portfolio full of photorealism and get a Sailor Jerry style pin up they are bound to be disappointed. I say that the responsibility lies with them. Perhaps the tattooist should explain what is self explanatory.

Remember when Chris Conn auctioned off his time? I dont believe he said what he wouldn't do- just that it wasn't in the best interest of the winner of the auction to choose something out of his genre.

in his own words of course ( which I don't remember)

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Thanks for all the insight. I think it's been more the customer not conveying what they want and or knowing. we've thought of making a disclaimer sheet for customers explaining that an appointment booked months away is because we have other projects ahead of them and are not taking two months to draw their tattoo, and haven't started the second they drop a deposit! ( some people are clueless ) so maybe I'll put something in there too as to what to look for when they pick an artist. Sometime I wish people would just sit down and shut up like I did:)

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Dan, before I came into your shop, I spent lot's of time online going through the Myspace page gallery (the site was down for a bit) and communicating with Kevin Poon through FB to get a Sailor Jerry ship. I picked him because I like peppery whips, his traditional looked solid, and the tattoo came out excellent. But that wasn't some crazy custom piece-it was tried and true flash. Bart, I actually sat next to a girl who was getting about to get tattooed by you in July at NYAdorned. She wanted a cardinal and you broke out several different types on her right there. I was really impressed by that level of research on your part. As a customer, I feel like the responsibility lies on my part to do the research if I want something 'just so'. But I wouldn't ask Jack Rudy for a new school color bomb, either = )

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