Markus Lenhard over zijn werk...
lang stuk tekst, maar weer eens een leuke rant voor alle tattoo liefhebbers...
source: Lux Altera: What does my job compare to?
What does my job compare to?
I get that question once in a while...
I get a lot of other questions a lot more frequently like, "How did you learn this?", "Do you also do your own tattoos?" or "Will colors really fade?"
I got a studied response to each one of those by now. They are all legitimate questions, some requiring a bit more patience than others.
But i rarely hear "What Job compares to what you do?"
Probably because an answer to this would require a certain degree of imagination to be useful. But perhaps also because there is just not anything in particular that is obviously comparable to what a Tattoo Artist does.
I would have to dissect this a little bit if i would want to be anal about giving a satisfying answer. Satisfying to me, of course. In other words, being anal about it is not an evadable matter.
i will try to not get into a rant this time... i am a stern mofo sometimes and of course rants write themselves without any help so
"i'll try, everybody!" I might fail in which case, do take my shit with a grain of salt...
Of course if you want to rant back at me and give a chance to dismantle your disbelief for my lack of respect, i can't wait. But since this is not gonna be a rant. everyone will love me after this, of course... Can't wait.
Now on to the main subject. What would I compare this job to? I had to think hard on most of these a few were very obvious. i will start in no particular order. They are all important.
-you are in a trade that requires huge amounts of knowledge in a manifold of different subject matters. None of which is directly open or obvious to your client but has crucial effects on the quality of your performance.
-you are the go to person if people run into problems that the best friend or neighbor has no satisfying advice for or if any given advice by above subjects failed to deliver the goods.
You are very likely the one that has to be ready with a solution to problems that could be impeded by coming to you as a professional directly.
Which is a bit nerve wrecking but stupidly how all of us seem to roll: First trust those you know albeit their total lack of professional experience for the subject.
If this fails (and only fucking IF) will you look for advice by your much trusted (accusing eyebrow raise) tattoo artist or in worst case scenarios your most trusted medical doctor.
(whoops, no worries i am out of rant mode right away. Here we go)
-you are in a position that requires a responsibility of good advice towards your client BEFORE you have earned any money of those clients, who very likely will be unable to estimate the effect of the product you are selling.
Not only are you a trusted adviser but also will you, from time to time, have to give advice that could possibly harm your business and meanwhile improve the business of those that lack this same responsibility (which really hurts).
I.E.: a client comes in and has to wait for an hour until you are ready to talk. Turns out he/she wants a lettering tattoo on a very visible spot consistent of arabian letters (which are hyroglyphs for me) . My reference which he/she brings in is a PostIt with a horrible 2 second example of the most horrible clawfingered scribble i ever saw. All of which, in a language i can not read, understand speak or in any way comprehend. Me, struck with disbelief try to point out that i can not tattoo it as it is but also lack the means to repair it in a manner that would be tattoo worthy since i have no idea how you write arabian. The client, obviously confused and angry tells me that it is not of my business to judge his/her handwriting and tells me to do it anyways because she likes it as it is. I refuse and of the client wanders to find someone who will say yes...
"Can you do bio-tattoos?"
"you know those that fade after a few weeks."
"Nothing like that exists, i can assure you that"
"But i heard from all my friends that it could be done!"
"i am sorry to disappoint you, but there is no way to tattoo anything in your skin that wouldnt stay there. Anyone who tries to sell you a bio-tattoo is lying to you."
"Maybe you are lying!" takes off...
Me thinking: "I am not the one taking your money... why should i be the one who lies."
So you are in a position where you have to make decisions between good advice and good business by yourself. And this exactly is one of the main pointer that determine the professionalism and/or quality of a tattoo studio and/or Pharmacy.
There are pharmacies that will happily sell you any kind of feel good, homeopathic, herbal or plain mystical bullshit you could ever want and that doesn't do dick or is plain harmful.
Or there are the responsible one that will tell you that there is no known treatment for your disease or at least none without any unwanted side effects.
The cozy, no side effect, no inconvenient dosing schedule, no health authority, no animal testing, non chemical, non poisonous approach is just too nice sounding to dismiss... It's also too good to be true.
But that doesn't matter to most of us... We want, we get.
Always listen to the ones that don't tell you what you want to hear! The wants that will reject your money to save their professionalism.
(Whoops, did rant again or what?!)
I have to keep those a bit shorter so on the following i rely on you coming up with the connceting examples yourself which will also help me staying out of rant mode.
i know how gay it sounds but we actually do a lot of
-Cross contamination prevention
-Listen to whining and personal stories, nodding knowingly while sharing advice...
-Spend hours with people that we don't like and/or that don't like us while having to remain our highest standards of executing our job and without forgeting our responsebilities
-Trying to comfort where we can and/or want
-Vomit pouch providing in those rare cases needed (that's crossing into stewardess which is even gayer so i stick with the nurse which is a tad bit hotter, too. IMHO)
The Plastic Surgeon
pretty much another twist on the pharmacist.
-having to educate people about the decisions they make is tough if those decisions are for life. Something not many first-timers can wrap their mind around. Not to sound condescending.
-dealing with the human body as a medium for your creation is tough and challenging. It asks for a certain level of experience and can not be learned in theory. And there is always a level of risk involved that the client needs to know about and take into consideration. We are after all making changes on the appearance of out clients. Responsibility!
The Graphic Designer
no not the artist.
I don't feel that artists have the necessary distance to their work. which is required for doing good, solid work.
And by good, solid work i mean work that not only satisfies the tattooer and the "tattooee" but also has mainstream value of looking right, being readable by most people and aging well.
Design is something that is made to look good and appeals to most people.
It is tailor made for the object or purpose it is used for. Art is stiffly attached to the artist and a very egocentrical thing to toss into a tattoo.
If you are an artist that does things that have a big audience and is tattooable in a sense of longevity. Fine.
But art can be ugly and lame. Still an artist always likes what they are doing and there are always people that like the most ugly and twisted shit for personal reasons.
But something that is specifically attached to a certain taste is automatically fragile when it comes to accepting it as a body part for the rest of ones life... Time changes opinions.
This is very generalizing and i understand that there are exceptions but it's the way i feel about it. The way I define art (a personal way of execution of imagery that is directly connected to an Artist and wont conform without sacrifice to a medium it is not intended for), is has no place in tattooing as such.
Changing art into proper design without loosing it's appeal and/or style is an art form in itself so this most controversial.
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