yes, i was late, so now what?

Now, I am going to discuss something most artists hate to admit. Bad Days.

We all have them. Once in a while everyone wakes up on the wrong side of the bed, breaks a nail, has bad hair, steps in dog shit, car won’t start, etc, etc. Most people go to work, hang tight, and eventually the bad mood fades. Not so for tattoo artists.

Our work’s quality depends upon our ability to be friendly, be focused, and be creative. If your juices aren’t flowing it doesn’t really matter how much we might usually like you or your tattoo art…it just sucks to have to smile when you’re having a bad day.

I think most artists work throughout the bad days-they just stuff it in, try to forget it, bottle it up…I see a lot of work that isn’t as good as the artist’s usual work, and wonder…We all have bad days. For a tattoo artist that can mean that someone is wearing your second-best effort for the rest of their life.

My usual solution is to try to call in sick. Or something to the effect-I take extra time away from work, I reschedule people, I stay away from tattooing until the mood passes, and then I come into the shop with a fresh perspective. This is usually in my client’s best interest. More often than not I feel bad, or guilty about rescheduling people. This makes me try harder with the artwork. Makes me try harder to hurt them less. Makes me try to make up for them waiting so long. Also I’m no longer in a bad mood. I’m happy to be there, my creativity is more available to me. This makes my work better in so many ways-I’m willing to take a littl elonger to get it just right-to try something new that will improve the finished product. Also my drawings just seem to turn out better with less effort when I am in a good mood about being at work.

Some people get very angry about this shuffling. I mean, I understand. The day you’re supposed to get tattooed is a big deal! You took off work, you skipped a class, you cancelled plans…and there you are, happy, excited, nervous, ready to pay big money that took forever to save up…and the artist’s not ready? Or asks if it’s ok to change the day or time? I have been there too, on that side of it. I am a tattoo artist, but I am also a tattoo client. I have tons of work. I have been bumped, rescheduled, canceled on, all of it. And it sometimes upset me.

I guess I’m just talking, wasting time and space here by saying it, but try (like I try) to keep in mind that you definitely want your artist bright-eyed and eager to tattoo you. If that means waiting a few more days, it usually is better to go ahead and wait. If it means that you will get better quality work, then it is definitely worth the wait. The experience of the process of getting a tattoo only lasts a little while, but you’ll be looking at the art forever. . .

Also remember that your artists is, indeed, human. We get tired, burned out, have surgery, our girlfriends get sick, our dogs die, and our cars break down too. Just like your life we have things outside of work that we care about. Try to be aptient with us, because most of us are less grounded than most people. We’re artists, too, and that makes us weird. So please be patient with us…we’re trying! We do appreciate it a lot when people are willing to be patient, and when you are understanding…just like you would.