Kristy

I need some advice

Recommended Posts

Hi guys!

I am new here but have been lurking and reading stuff here for a good year or so.  I have learned so much here during my lurking.  I am glad to find a decent resource for info and have it coming from differing perspectives.  

I have a 3 tattoos so far and plan on adding more over time.  One of the 3 is a work in progress.  I need some advice on what to do.  I have been working with an artist for a bit who has MS.  He has some great pieces in his portfolio, I have seen his work in person as well and it was just awesome.  I was referred to him by a friend who has some really nice work from him too.  His shop is great and the other artist there does exceptional work.  So I feel exceptionally bad about this.  

I began work on my idea with the artist in very early in the year and had a scheduled date with him mid April to begin.  I am a lame fan girl so my idea for this was a kinda of Misfits/Samhain/Danzig tribute.  I wanted to incorporate the logos into 2 moths and build from there.  I should have probably got the idea while trying to set a formal consult with him.  I mean, I am totally all for giving the artist free reign on my end.  I prefer it since I am no artist.  I showed him my thoughts and he bounced a few things off me to gauge what I was thinking for the piece.  I specifically said no to a couple of design set ups I wasn't fond of for the piece.  When I came back to see the designs he came up with 3 days before my appointment he had just used the ideas I had vetoed.  I spent some time refining things a bit with him and the apprentice and waited to either see the mock up the day of the tattoo or like the night before.  I got the next design the night before and I liked it enough, but, again he had used one of the ideas I had outright said no to because of a sizing issue.  I figured we could fix that the next day.  Having MS, he had a health crisis the day of my appointment and cancelled (it was for good reason.)  He was out for 3-4 weeks.  It was bad on his end.  When he started tattooing again I waited a week or 2 and booked something out 6 weeks. 

Cut to the week before the appointment, again, like 3 days before the appointment itself.  I call up to confirm the appointment and remind him that the design he had sent me for the last one needed some work (I had also given him a heads up about this when I booked 6 weeks ago) and ask if he wants to meet beforehand or just redraw the day of.  He gets very testy with me and essentially says he isn't back full time, hasn't got the mock up done yet (not a problem) and that the only people he was taking right now were people "who wouldn't stop bugging him".  He then says that he will just use MY mock up idea and we can go from there.  I assume the outright jab at me "bugging" him and his crabby attitude was him having a bad day.  Fine.

The day of the appointment I show up and he has things set to go, but starts off right away on how the MS is kicking his ass today and has a really crabby piss poor attitude.  We just get to work.  I know with his condition he can't always get as much done as fast as some artists.  I have had work from him before.  It hasn't affected his work from what I can tell.  No worries on my end.  The purple carbon line drawings looks right.  The placement is good and we start.  About a 1/2 hour in I can tell he is having issues, but he isn't talking about it and I don't want to press.  I just let him take breaks as needed.  He goes full balls to the wall on one of the Moth designs and "finishes" that one.  He hasn't even done the line work on the second moth.  He calls the apprentice over, gives him a light grey wash and changes the setting on his machine.  He tells the apprentice to do the line work as a place holder.  I just need to schedule another day.  He leaves.  

The next day it becomes obvious that the moth the artist had finished had problems.  There is already significant blow in areas. After 2 weeks color fell out a bit (which is not a concern as one can just go back and fill that) but the line work is revealed.  I wanted to cry.  It was shaky and uneven.  It was double lined in areas and just not good work.  I know why he didn't do the line work on the second moth right away.  He couldn't physically do the more intricate line work.  I already had a time set to finish with him that week so I figured we could address it then  He has the apprentice call and cancel due to more issues with his MS.  I get in a couple of weeks later in a stroke of luck and he finishes the rest acknowledging there will be significant touch ups needed.  He is in better spirits this time and not having obvious issues.  The quality is improved on his end from what I can see with very close inspection of the line work.  As the second moth begins to heal it is obvious that while the line work was much more steady and the color is holding better it is still not up to par with his previous work.  At a week out, bleed encroaches into the design.  I am 3 weeks out and many details are lost to that bleed right now.

I scheduled the touch up work before I left last time.  I am really unsure that the piece will come out well after a touch up from him now.  I think the big MS health crisis for my artist messed up his dexterity more than he is willing to admit.  I know he will stand behind his work and touch it up and do his best to take care of me, but he is a really prideful individual who is rather prickly about his disease.  He will not respond well to any discussions about the work.  I know it.  I really don't want to burn the bridge at this shop, but it seems like a no win for me. The piece is at a point right now where it can be salvaged.  It means a lot of white and grey will be needed when that was not part of the design but it can be done.  Do I cut my loses and go elsewhere?  Do I let him try and fix it and take the chance of him really messing it up more?  I feel horrible because he was such a good artist even with his disability for so long.  I just got the crappy timing of him having his condition deteriorate right for this piece.  I need some advice from people who have had something happen like this or who are in the industry to help me out.  I don't want to be a jerk.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems to me that you've answered you own question already. IMHO, you shouldn't let anyone work on you that you don't have total confidence in - this is permanent (unless you would either cover up or laser...but if that's already in your thoughts process then, again, you know the answer). The further you get into completion, the harder it will be, most likely, for another artist to recover your intent and expectations. I understand your concern about his MS and his ego, but look at it this way. Wouldn't you be having these same thoughts if it were another artist without health concerns? Would you continue on with any artist you don't think is capable of delivering the design and quality you expect?

My recommendation would be to find an artist in whom you can establish a solid working relationship and who is capable of meeting your (realistic) expectations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah.  I am getting the sinking feeling that I posted the answer with the lack of confidence in his current ability.  I would have walked from another artist.  I would have totally noticed this with another artist too, I just was giving him the benefit of the doubt because I am not an expert, artist or a perfectionist and I know that small flaws occur with almost every tattoo.  (I also feel those variations/flaws to some extent is what gives tattoos their character.) 

I just don't want to be that person who freaked out and ran to another artist before giving it a fair shake.  I feel like a crappy person doing this.  The guy I am working with on this is the shop owner.  Is there a tactful way to handle this with the owner that would allow me to come back to work with the other artist there or am I just SOL? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here are some pics.  Both moths suffer from bleed especially around the head.  The index fingers on the Misfits moth and finger tips have all but disappeared.  The wing details on that moth to has become very asymmetrical with the bleed.  The Danzig moth has all but lost one of the poorly placed legs and the blood along with some line work entirely.  Am I overreacting and nitpicking?  

FullSizeRender (4).jpg

FullSizeRender (2).jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The fact that it is healing makes it hard to fully see how it's going to look...and you are correct that no tattoo is perfect and we all tend to over -scrutinize our own work. But, if this was mine, I would not be at all happy with the work being done. I would definitely be looking for someone who might be able to either save or cover the work.

Of course, there are other more experienced folks here who can chime in, as well.

Only you know what's possible with the artist. The bottom line is this is your body - art you will wear forever. Personally, I would be looking for another artist/shop.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, SStu said:

Honestly? Hard to believe any shop owner is letting that person tattoo anyone. 

He is the owner.  

Well that makes it easier to decide on my end.

Edited by Kristy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeow. There is a fair amount of full black areas on those, so re-working and/or covering options will be limited. We might be able to point you in a decent direction. Do you want to hang with that same style? and where are you located?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Kristy,

It's hard b/c you know that your artist has some medical issues but ultimately, you are the customer. I'd explore other options. I think that you are certainly empathic to his situation (which means you are a good egg) but you don't "owe" him anything. Be kind, professional and move on.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

11 minutes ago, SStu said:

Yeow. There is a fair amount of full black areas on those, so re-working and/or covering options will be limited. We might be able to point you in a decent direction. Do you want to hang with that same style? and where are you located?

I am in the NE WI area.  

I know. Not sure on the style.  A rework might work with a bit of a trash polka leaning since that has some of that heavy black.  I am not overly picky.  Inspiration on the artists end is cool by me.  I am open to referrals.  I also have a consult set with an artist in the area who has successfully worked for significant stretches in NY city and Miami to see if anything can be salvaged.   

Edited by Kristy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, Gingerninja said:

Hey Kristy,

It's hard b/c you know that your artist has some medical issues but ultimately, you are the customer. I'd explore other options. I think that you are certainly empathic to his situation (which means you are a good egg) but you don't "owe" him anything. Be kind, professional and move on.

 

Thank you as well!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel bad for the guy, but knowing what MS is, I can't believe you let someone that has the disease work on you. Not to mention the fact that he kept using parts of the same drawing you kept saying you didn't want to use. I feel bad for your artist, but as @Devious6 said, it's your skin. I'd rather have somebody with hurt feelings that a bad tattoo. NOBODY should be tattooing if they aren't capable of laying down a straight line.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I was able to get a consult with this guy tonight between tattoos.  I mentioned that he worked in Miami and in NYC for several years before ending back here in Green Bay.  I can see his work is solid and adequate not the best but able to work across styles.  He said the stuff here is older but he isn't big on updating his portfolio these days. Thoughts?

https://www.facebook.com/pg/SkinnyBuddhaTattoo/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1110580315651511

 

SStu-

Marquette is about 3 hours from us- however I graduated from NMU there and love the area.  I am always itching for a reason to get back.  I can check them out.  The online portfolios are simply awesome!  I have some property in the Grand Marais, MI area (2 hours from Marquette) and have several days off up there towards the end of August. Perhaps a road trip is in order.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're going to wear the result forever. Don't be in a hurry. Save up some $. Go up to Marquette (and/or a couple others) and visit the shop(s). See if they want to tackle such a project and what your options might be. 

If that were mine, I'd be willing to make 5-10 road trips to make it right. Anything less then a stellar tattooist is likely going to leave you with a bigger problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you guys again for your advice!  I really needed the prodding to feel ok about moving on.  I had the consult last night which I felt good about and I will trek around to other places recommended on the forums here until I figure out how to make this piece better.  Plus I will likely pick up on how to better vet out an artist along the way.

I will also be poking around here for fun and learning.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That makes a lot of sense.  

3 minutes ago, thyes said:

Good to hear! One thing I keep hearing again and again is the importance of actually seeing pictures of healed tattoos when browsing artists. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.