Well I’ve had a few really nice weeks. I was a bit under the weather and depressed about it, so I went to see an awesome acupuncturist. My energies are now flowing more freely and my doctor (yes the acupuncturist is a refugee from an established western medical practice) has tuned me into a new approach to dealing with the stress of tattooing. LOVE. I have been tutored in the art of openness and and caring in a more detached way. Letting go of the ego and just being the best tattooist I can be without attachment to outcomes. So far my stress levels have been much improved. I’ll let you know how it goes. I could probably keep this up for a long time if idiots would quit coming into the shop. Just kidding.
I had a customer recently. Well actually I’ve had him on and off for a couple years now. When he initially came to me he wanted to start a quarter sleeve of koi, frogs, lilies and other water images. I had the normal discussion with him about designing the entire thing and then starting it with a coherent plan. As so often is the case, it went in one ear and out the other. The client insisted that he had a vision and that he wanted these particular images, in sizes that were very small. After once again extolling the virtues of large size subject matter and secondary background, I came to the conclusion that he was not going to listen to reason.
I learned long ago that as a professional tattooist, my job was not to be the “art police”. Ultimately, it’s about the client and his/her needs, not mine. So I did a few very small tattoos on his arm, knowing that I was painting myself into a corner and would later have to deal with it.
Sure enough, since that day, I have added several other small images around the first few, added a small amount of background, and covered up some of the original pieces. Each time this client comes in, I have the same discussion with him about design and a well planned out tattoo, and each time he ignores me and gets a few small additions. He always thanks me and compliments me on my artwork (not that I would call it mine) and tips generously. I know that to my aesthetic, it could be a much better tattoo, but apparently his “vision” has been slowly coming together. I guess it’s true. Everyone gets the tattoo that they deserve.