Before I begin, a few caveats.
Perhaps the artist & I just didn’t get along.
I haven’t heard anyone else complain about him. The studio is still excellent, this was a guest artist. I’m not sure I want to name either of them.
I’d seen the artist’s work on Instagram & as soon, literally as soon, as I saw that he was booked to do a guest spot in NZ I was sold.
I sent an email asking if he could tattoo me, if he had any time on the Friday or Saturday of his visit as I would be flying up to Auckland, not the easiest or cheapest thing.
I also asked if he was keen to do the kind of tattoo I was after, a symmetrical flower similar to ones I had seen in his portfolio but in bright “feminine” colours like pink and purple. I told him I was looking to get it done on the back of my neck.
He seemed to have no queries as he emailed me back and set up an appointment.
I arrived at the studio 10 minutes before our appointment time (I am punctual to a fault). The first thing he asked me was where I was getting the tattoo again. He seemed annoyed the back of my neck was so small.
He huffed about the place shrinking it down – telling me about how he would have to simplify what he’d shown me, and that if he made it too small it would look “shit.”
From the outset I told him that I would trust his instincts as he was the artist and if he had any other idea about placement, I was open to it.
After trying to put the stencil on a few times, barely saying anything or telling me what he was doing, pushing my head this way and that, we had the following conversation:
Him: I can’t make it fit. I’ve already shrunk it about 20%. If I do it any smaller it’s going to look shit. I’m not sure what you want to do …
Him: Yea. This won’t work on your neck. I’m not sure what you want to do.
Me: Uh. Well I don’t want to just leave it, I flew all this way …
Me: Ummm. Would it work as a shoulder cap?
Him: uh yea, I suppose.
So we did it as a shoulder cap and halfway through the tattoo he disappeared.
He’d just finished the outline when he put down his tattoo machine, took of his gloves, and left the room. He didn’t say anything to me or to either of the two artists in the room and just left me there. He came back, eventually.
He asked me what colours I wanted I told him “like I said in my email, girly colours, pinks, purples, turquoise, yellow, unexpected colours.” His petulant response?
“Oh. So all the colours I don’t do.”
He stormed around the studio making a big show of borrowing colours from the other artists. I was such an imposition.
It was at this point I wanted to tell him to just forget it, that I would get someone else to finish it, but I’ve never done that before. I’m pretty sure that’s something that’s just not done. I was also pretty sure I would burst into tears if I tried to talk, and I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction.
If I had any kind of hint when I’d emailed him that he would be anything other than pleased to do this tattoo? I wouldn’t have flown to Auckland. I wouldn’t have done all of this. I could have avoided this whole stinking mess.
I could have a tattoo that I just like, not one where I’m reminded of a jerk.
When he was finished he didn’t even take a photo, he barely let me look at it, wrapped my arm, told me about after-care, and I got out of there as quick as humanly possible. On the street I called Craig and sobbed.
Shortly thereafter I unfollowed him on instagram.
There’s no moral to this story, I haven’t really learnt any kind of lesson.
I guess some people are just jerks.