Everything you’ve always wanted to know and know and know again…
Is this going to hurt?
… Is it going to hurt the whole time? Is it going to hurt right here/there? Is this a painful design to get? Does it hurt more on the [body part] than on the [location]? Will it hurt more than the last tattoo I got?
–Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, maybe.
What is the best tattoo to get?
…What is the best tattoo to get right here? What would be cute right here? Would [tattoo image] look best if I got it with [option], or with [option]? Do you think it would look good if I add this to it?
— This question is often tricky to answer. Why? Because the basis of my answer is usually purely technical; making sure nothing is lost via contrast or composition, or results in unreadable blurs years down the road. I can offer my asthetic opinion, but my asthetic opinion is based on my artistic vision and style; what I like. Yes, I can give you my version of “Netflix recommendations”, but suggestions are all I can make. And even then, I can only make those suggestions based on what my clients let me know. Except in very rare instances, meeting a client and being able to tell what they, and all the people they will ever spend time with, do/don’t find attractive/cute/bad-ass in a tattoo design, is as easy as walking up to a stranger in the street and knowing immediately whether they are/aren’t pro-choice/anti-vegan/y.o.l.o.-regurgitating airheads. I’ve been tattooing too many years to ever consider putting my neck on that particular chopping block again.
Your tattoo is your personal statement to the world that you want to display in your skin for the rest of your life. My job as tattoo artist (or more to the point, tattoo technician) is to make whatever you want look good, regardless of what you choose to get. You want a tattoo of pickles and ice cream in a wine glass? Done! Fish in a roller skate? Great! I’ll do my best to produce the greatest fish and roller skate I can. Your job is to determine what it is you want to see embedded in your skin for life.
Do you do cover-ups?
… Do you have a book of cover-ups to choose from? What can I get to cover this right here?
— If by cover-up, you mean inject ink into skin that already has ink in it, then yes I do. In my experience, there is not much pre-existing artwork that will solve any cover-up problem, guaranteed, every time; cover-ups usually require custom drawn solutions or, at the very least, flash art with some modifications. In order to determine the best tattoo to add to your skin to hide a tattoo that is already there, you need to know what it is you would rather see in place of what you currently have.
It’s like if you rented a movie, and halfway through the movie, you decided you didn’t like it. You want to replace the movie with one that you actually want to see. Okay, so what do you want to see? Something scary? Warm, girlie comedy? Suspenseful children’s casino gambling? Romantic action gunfight? Animated kung-fu mystery? RedBox machines probably can’t read minds (yet…), so they can’t tell you what to rent. And even if the movie studio offered to write, produce and film a whole new movie just for you, they can’t spend millions on big name actors or cutting-edge CGI if you can’t tell them what you want to see the actors and CGI doing on-screen…