I have a few tattoos already, and I want to get a few more. I know what I want, and sketched out a few ideas to take with me. I went to a tattoo shop recommended by a friend.
Now, I'm not part of the whole tattoo subculture. I have tattoos and I love them, but I'm not one of those people who know all about tattoo artists, and have strong opinions on them. I just know what I want my body to look like, and don't care much beyond that. This is why I think maybe I just misunderstood the role of tattoo artists.
Anyway, I show the tattoo artist the sort of things I'm thinking of, one of which is a blue silhouette of a bird. He flat out tells me no, they can't do it how I want it, and offers to do it in black. I really don't want a flat black silhouette tattooed on me; I think it'd look too harsh, would look strange against my mid-tan skintone, and wouldn't go with my other tattoos, which are all in softer, natural colours.
Thinking there's a practical reason not to do a silhouette in blue, I ask if we can make it larger, or maybe do an outline in a different colour. He flat out refuses, and says they can only do it in black. He also says my blue bird would look like a bruise, an idea that I *love*. One of my other tattoos is a red flat, that I specifically asked to have looking like a birthmark, so another tattoo that could be mistaken for a bruise really appeals to me.
Anyway; still thinking it's a practical issue, I point out that his tattoo sleeve involve quite a few blue shapes and edges, and ask why that's different. He looks uncomfortable and says that the tattoo artists have to do designs they're comfortable with.
It's only when I leave the shop that I realise what he was saying; there was no reason that he couldn't do the tattoos I wanted; he just didn't like them.
I get that, as an artist, he wants to draw things he likes. But it's my body. In my mind, obviously, having my body look how I want trumps whether he likes it or not, and in his mind, I guess it's the opposite; he cares a lot more about his art than my body.
So...is it bad service? Have I just misunderstood the role of tattoo artists? Did I just pick the wrong place to inquire?:(