By the time I sat down at Josh Hoffman’s station to have two tiny stars added to my temples in March of 2010, I was already what most folks would call heavily tattooed. Despite having my hands, palms, neck and throat tattooed and being gainfully employed, Josh felt it was still prudent to remind me that these little stars, small by most standards, were technically on my face and I needed to be sure that I was ready for that sort of public exposure.
Josh and I had known each other for over a decade by that point; he had a pretty accurate take on my character and my ability to deal with potential employment issues and he still made sure to reiterate how important it was to think about the possible effect getting these two tiny tattoos would have on my life. A reminder of the Professional aspect of being a professional tattoo artist.
Five years later and the tattoo scene is still evolving in ways that the old timers would never imagine. More folks than ever are getting tattooed- heavily and more visibly- and with the influx of new clientele comes seasoned artists having to draw a line in the sand with what they’re comfortable tattooing. As commercial artists they should have every right to take a stand when asked to do a design that they feel won’t reflect well on them (see: Drew Grant and the It’s always Sunny tattoo) or that may have negative consequences to the client (see: No, you can’t get a fucking neck tattoo, Jane Marie) without having a spotlight of InternetOutrage(tm) aimed in their direction.
Increasingly, culture bloggers (imagine journalists without degrees or any formal training, then add a liberal portion of entitlement and inflated sense of self importance) are using their readership- 1000% greater numbers than our humble Occult Vibrations- to ‘call out’ artists who had the audacity to say ‘no’ to them, attempting to publicly shame them and take business out of their pocket. It’s a win/win- the sites they work for get great click-bate ad revenue (because we as a tattoo community can’t help but go to the sites and comment) and the writers get further internet exposure which is perfect for an attention seeking personality type.
I had written a pretty wordy response to Jane Marie’s article when I saw the above image on Virginia tattooer Nick Bryant’s Instagram. Suddenly all of my rambling was rendered moot- Nick had said everything I was trying to get at proving yet again that a picture is worth 1000 words.
You can see more of Nick’s work over on his IG: Nick Bryant.
Make sure to FOLLOW him for more awesome.