I am not usually one to keep my mouth shut. I am not usually one who let’s others shut me down. Yet, yesterday, this is exactly what happened and I am struggling to deal with it in a productive and “let it go” kind of way.
It all started out quite well – I had waited (or perhaps procrastinated) almost 2 years to finish my tattoo – so yesterday was a big happy day for me. I had been to the studio a few times before and always loved the welcoming friendly service from the staff (and yesterday was of no exception). Unfortunately, walking out of the tattoo shop, that feeling had completely turned around. I should have said something, I should have trusted my instinct and said fuck this, but instead, I let myself be talked down to and treated like the work I was getting done was irrelevant. The artist was disinterested in the work (I admit it was a simple addition).There were no questions about the backstory or history of the work, (for those who know me, it is a piece with a story, tho many would not consider it an epic piece – it is not a sleave of flowers or abstract swirls, no thematic style or extravagant detail – but each stroke of ink means something to me and that – imo, is more important than having a generic looking piece of ink on my body) ….
Any attempt at communication with the artist was shut down quicker than the words could come out of my mouth. Everything I asked for (which REALLY wasn’t much) was disregarded as not possible or ‘wouldn’t work’. I am not sure why I continued on with the appointment – part of me felt pressured, I felt like my voice would be challenged (or ignored – perhaps I didn’t want to cause a conflict….) nonetheless, I approved the stencil, the placement, the sizing and the fonts, but I wasn’t … happy …the fonts were not quite right, the sizing was bigger than I had wanted (and not in a cool its bigger sort of way like my last one), the placement was a bit squishy w/my existing tattoo, and worse of all, I got no joy out of the process like I usually do (the interaction – what there were – with the artist were terse and condescending) and this morning, the day after, I feel a slight tinge of regret. There is nothing inherently wrong with the addition to my tattoo – it *is* what I asked for / handed the artist on paper – but I was hoping to engage with him, to talk it through get feed back and work through perfecting it together – it is what I have done for the last 3 tattoos I got, and I always walked away much happier than I would have imagined.
Don’t get me wrong. I am happy that it is done. It looks good, the work is crisp/sharp for the msot part, I did approve it before the needle touched down (unfortunately, I can see I will have to go back for touch ups already as a few strokes/lines missing in the coloring) — but I am sad that I am not over the moon that its done. I am sad that I am not staring at it excitedly, but instead looking at it critically – but most of all, I really regret not waiting to go the artist who did the original work – even if he did move well out of town.
And so today, I am struggling with how to reconcile regret. I don’t regret getting a tattoo, I sort of in some sad way regret how it turned out. I wrote requesting the contact information for the studio manager, hoping to at least express my disappointment in a productive manner. The lesson I did learn was no matter how good a tattoo artist’s portfolio is, if he is a dick, walk out before you let them permanently ink you. The client/artist dynamic means a lot more than I thought it did. I knew right off the bat that I was uncomfortable. I should have trusted myself. Lesson learned. Now to figure out how to let go and be happy with the (now not finished – as I need to add something to balance the sizing) product.