A Tattoo Artist Vents About Disrespectful Clients

June 25th, 2014 by Kevin -


This article was originally posted on , and it’s actually a pretty great piece. It might be the first helpful article About.com has ever posted. Unfortunately they didn’t credit the artist who originally wrote it. If anyone knows, please comment below and I’ll update this post.

I don’t know what your problem is where you think that just because you want a tattoo right that minute, that we should just drop everything we’re doing, decide what you want, draw something up for you on a whim with no input from you, blow off our appointments to get you in for this mystery tattoo, be able to do a nice tattoo on you no matter how much you jump around regardless of how many times I tell you to stop, then you get an attitude with me because I’m the first person to actually tell you that you’re doing something wrong by moving around as much as you are, then you don’t even give me the respect to follow my aftercare instructions because your shit of a boyfriend told you not to because his buddy who does it out of his shitty ass roach infested apartment knows how to take care of tattoos. I want to do the best tattoo I can, but it takes 2 to get it to look good. I do the tattooing part, but you have to do the part about actually thinking about what you want first of all, and sitting the fuck still. If you can’t do your parts, then it tells me that you don’t give a shit, and if you don’t give a shit, why should I?

Unfortunately, I have to give a shit because if that tattoo comes out all fucked up, you’re not actually going to admit to your friends that you moved around like you were in the back of a pickup truck traveling at high speeds through the woods. Hell no, you’re just going to say that the guy at the Pisst Fish fucked it all up.

So because of these people, I’ve decided to put up a somewhat sarcastic but partially true list of rules of conduct if you’re interested in getting tattooed by me:

1. Make sure you have eaten within 4 hours prior to your tattoo. I will not tattoo you on an empty stomach.

2. Do NOT consume any alcoholic beverages within the same day prior to getting your tattoo. I will not tattoo you if I smell alcohol on you. The same goes for narcotics.

3. Dress appropriately for your tattoo. I cannot tattoo through clothing, and many times it gets in the way if it’s too close to the tattoo.

4. Please be realistic on your expectations of a tattoo. I cannot do a quality tattoo on a client that moves excessively, is extremely sensitive to the touch, or is overly nervous.

5. You must be at least 18 years of age to receive a tattoo from me. This also means you have to behave like a grownup when getting tattooed by me. You will be allowed to have 1 person join you for the procedure to keep you company, and that is all. You don’t need an entourage, and the one companion doesn’t need to hold your hand. This is not the time to be a Drama Queen, so don’t act like one. The better you behave yourself, the better the experience is going to be for you.

6. All cell phones must be turned off during the procedure, including anyone accompanying you.

7. No food is allowed in the tattoo area, but a contained drink with a cap is.

8. Do not bring your children in the shop, and do not leave them in the car. If you have children, you need to get a babysitter during your tattoo.

9. If you do not speak English, bring a translator. I only speak English.

10. If you don’t know what you want tattooed, I will not set up an appointment with you until you do. It’s not my job to decide what you should get tattooed. If you can’t even do the preliminary thinking part about getting tattooed, you’re not ready to get a tattoo.

11. Think about what you’re getting tattooed. They are permanent, and therefore should be thought about thoroughly. Don’t get tattoos of images just because other people have done it. Do a little bit of thinking first.

12. Please keep in mind, not only have I seen Miami Ink, but I get asked several times a day if I have. It isn’t necessary to ask me if I’ve seen it.

13. Please stop asking to get tattoos of other peoples’ tattoos. I won’t do it in respect to both the artist and the client wearing the original. This also applies to pictures in my portfolio. Those tattoos already belong to someone.

14. Please follow your aftercare procedure accurately. If you lose your aftercare sheet given to you, you need to come back and get another one. Do NOT ask your friends or anyone else how to take care of your tattoo.

15. If you are sick, re-schedule your appointment. I don’t want to bring your germs and other crap home to my family making them suffer because of your lack of common sense selfishness, or lack of respect for others.”

Discussing people always saying the same thing about tattoos

February 4th, 2014 by Kevin -


Headline from Milwaukee Sentinel, 1933
Yesterday, BBC News posted an interesting and amusing story about tattooing. The story, called People always say the same thing about tattoos, pokes fun at the press and discusses the overused topic of tattooing gaining popularity in the masses. Citing news headlines from 1876 to 2011, the BBC does a great job of proving a point – we’ve been down this road many a time. With the news media still reporting when each celebrity gets a new tattoo, it’s not that different from the headlines of Vanity Fair in 1926.

From the BBC article 'People always say the same thing about tattoos'From the BBC article 'People always say the same thing about tattoos'From the BBC article 'People always say the same thing about tattoos'From the BBC article 'People always say the same thing about tattoos'

So is tattooing just a fad on the roller coaster of style? Do tattoos get mixed in with argyle sweaters, bleach washed jeans, hair styles, flannels, and neon sunglasses? Isn’t tattooing something more? With one out of every five people having a tattoo, you would think the answer is yes… but is it? I’m concerned that society is now just as quick to jump on a fad, than they are off of a fad. We live in a time when tattoos are being able to be applied in a bold fashion, and then removed in an even bolder fashion weeks, months, and years later. We’ve been exposed to years of reality tattoo television, where every tattoo has a deep story about this or that. Hell, kids are getting their first tattoos on their hands and necks.

To sum it all up, I don’t know. We’re either headed towards the beginning of solidifying the time of tattooing across society, or we’re setting ourselves up for the biggest headline yet.

The Modern-Day Tattoo Renaissance by Joey Knuckles

January 29th, 2014 by Kevin -


Guest Blog by Joey Knuckles

Tattooing is all about progression. We learn from our mistakes and we grow every day; we should all approach it with humility and respect for our fellow artists. True tattooers want to continue to grow, and to become the best tattooers, artists, and people that they can be. To do this we must get rid of the negativity. I can tell you from my own personal experiences over the past couple of years that there are already enough things to bring you down.

A little advice: about two years ago, I stopped listening to news/media/political arguments. I also fought off some personal demons, such as drinking, anger, and depression. Not only have my anxiety and stress levels dropped drastically, but also my thought process has been liberated and I’ve been able to focus on what truly matters. Separating yourself from all the negativity and drama in your life, and surrounding yourself with people who support you is so important. The people in my life, including my wife Tori, my ever loyal Philadelphia clientele, my continuously growing Columbus clientele, and my brothers everywhere, are what keep me going and continuing to progress and to further my understanding of the past, present, and future of this craft. I can wake up in the morning, work on some sketches, and just be happy and honored to be part of the tattoo community.

We are the few and the lucky to be “true tattoo artists.” We must understand that we are all folk artists responsible for handing this craft over to the next generation with integrity and intelligence. If we ever want to progress as individuals and as artists, we have to understand fully what builds a true “traditional tattoo.” Not that everyone has to work in a “traditional style,” but everyone should understand and be able to accomplish the fundamental tattooing techniques. We must understand the tools involved in this trade, and resist relying on shortcuts such as tracing other artists’ work, Google images, and using programs like Photoshop to create graphic images that are unrealistic in the tattoo world (never mind Photoshopping tattoo pictures to create colors and vibrancy that do not exist in nature). As the saying goes, “Don’t confuse the menu with the meal.” People in the beginnings of their careers in this industry are learning these days with rotaries right from the start, without taking the necessary 5 to 10 years needed to master working with coil machines, among other aspects of tattooing. It seems everyone is rushing into fame without absorbing the knowledge required to become a “tattoo master.” So let’s take this note from one of our forefathers in tattooing, which has been a personal motto of mine, so that maybe we can all treat each other, and our craft, a little better: “I ‘Joey Knuckles’ am in the business of rendering a service to this community for the small group who choose to have their bodies decorated in some way or another…I choose to pursue my profession with intelligence and skill, wishing not to offend anyone, but instead with my love for mankind do what good I can do before I die…” —Pledge by Stoney St. Clair.

Joey KnucklesJoey Knuckles has been tattooing since 2003. Beginning his career in Columbus, Ohio most notably at High Street Tattoo, where he honed his tattoo skills in a fast-paced environment under his mentor Giovani. He then moved to Philadelphia in 2008, working in legendary shops like Philadelphia Eddies, Olde City Tattoo, Art Machine Productions, and Black Vulture Gallery, over the past five years. He has now returned to Columbus full-time, after inheriting High Street tattoo from his good friend, mentor, and High Street Tattoo founder Giovani. Joey prides himself on being a well-rounded tattoo artist specializing in anything ranging from cover-ups, custom lettering, floral work, to large-scale illustrative designs.

“I fell in love with tattooing and gave my life to it.” -Hector Cedillo

January 22nd, 2014 by Kevin -


Guest Blog by Hector Cedillo 

“Once you decide to be a tattooer… you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your trade. Never complain about your craft. You must dedicate your life to mastering your tattooing. That’s the secret of success and is the key to being regarded honorably.”

Tattooing holds deep meaning for me because I have learned from it as an artist, a father, a husband and a human being. Tattooing involves all of the essentials of life: humility, honesty, creativity, responsibility, and love. There are many of us for whom tattooing is an irreplaceable part of life. We rely on it to take us out of sadness, madness, the pressures of poverty, youth, age, etc. It seems to be a remedy for just about anything. For me, it has also helped me to identify some of my life purposes. I have listened to my heart and been honest about the goals I have for myself.

Because I have an exceptional life purpose, I approach the world with enthusiasm. I look for ways to expand my abilities and to share my gift with others. I am passionate about living truthfully as a tattooer, approaching life with vivacity.

The thing about being a tattooer is that it’s all about you! You have to motivate yourself. You have to push yourself. You can only count on your machines, your needles, and your imagination because at the end of the day you have to be proud of the effort that you put in. It doesn’t matter how anybody else tattoos. If you have a single bit of doubt in yourself, you will fail as a tattooer.

Great things begin to happen in your life when tattooing becomes greater and more significant than just an everyday thing. Great things blossom in you when you are selfless (and not self-centered!). People begin to notice the great things that you do when you begin to dedicate your life to tattooing. Remember this nugget of knowledge: every great tattoo comes from a superior interest in becoming the best within! So if you are lacking in confidence or are wondering why you are working strenuously with no great results, hear this: tattooing is the part of you that you need both to complete you (bring life) and to fulfill you as you achieve more than you ever imagined.

Tattooing appears somehow more solid and present in our lives than material things, something we can always address and hold on to. At its best, tattooing connects us to a feeling as large as the whole goddamn universe itself.

“I fell in love with tattooing and gave my life to it.”

Be Great, Be Artistic, Be Diverse, and Be a Responsible Tattooer…

– Hector Cedillo

Hector Cedillo Hector Cedillo is a tattoo artist at Piercing Emporium in Worcester, Massachusetts. See more of Hector’s work here. Follow Hector on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to stay up to date with Hector’s work.

Women With Tattoos Have Ruined Dating

January 7th, 2014 by Julene Huffman -


It’s not often I get to feel like I should tag things as tattoo humor on this website, but the advice column answer below pretty much takes the cake. (Source: ThatBadAdvice)


I recently went on a first (and last) date with a “gentleman.” He ordered himself a beer and a prime rib dinner. He never asked me if I wanted anything to eat or drink. As flabbergasted as I was, I have a theory: Men today are different from those of the past, and my guess it’s because the pierced and tattooed gals today speak and act like sailors, therefore ruining it for the rest of us. Am I right?

Dear Puzzled,

It would hard for someone to be more right than you are, because the honest truth is that when women—we use the term loosely, as we must—get tattoos and body piercings, they prevent you from being able to order food at a restaurant. These thoughtless, body-defiling tarts think little of how their actions will affect other people who rely on them for the ability to read a menu and speak to a server.

But let’s not pretend that your date is faultless in all of this. He failed to recognize the obvious chain of events—scores of unscrupulous floozies getting tattoos and body piercings, and doing cusses—that forced you to sit in aching silence as he rudely communicated his wants and needs to people whose job it is to bring him food and drink in exchange for money. Moreover, he made the strange assumption that an adult woman might be able to voice a desire for nutritional sustenance without the express invitation of her male dining partner.

If you’d allowed your acquaintance with this “gentleman” to continue, it’s very likely that you’d run into all kinds of situations where other women’s personal aesthetic choices would prevent you from obtaining basic goods and services. You might go to a movie and find that you had to stand the whole time, because he never asked you if you’d like to sit down! You could end up at a musical performance, unable to hear the instruments, because this clod never asked you if you wanted to listen to them! You might find yourself at an art show staring at blank walls, wondering when your date would invite you to look at the paintings!

Bullets, my good lady, have been dodged.

What is too much at a tattoo convention?

December 6th, 2013 by Kevin -


This video is from the Manchester Tattoo Convention back in August, and it shows a wide array of events taking place at the convention. In addition to the tattoo artists, there were the standard tattoo convention attractions such as vendors, live music, and a live show. There’s also a number of things we don’t typically see at conventions (in the states that is), such as people doing hair, selling cupcakes, and even a ‘photo booth’ featuring fake circus animals.

Which brings me to my question, when is it too much? Do tattoo conventions have to be transformed into a mini amusement park for the weekend for people to attend? What happened to the days of tattoo conventions in school gymnasiums?

I feel like we continue to head in this direction, tattoo conventions are going to quickly become less about the art and more about the event. I’d like to believe that a convention like that wouldn’t be successful, but I’m not so sure…

The Tattoo Collector Movement

November 5th, 2013 by Kevin -


Over the weekend, I stumbled upon this article by Jeremiah Barba. I thought the article was interesting, and gives us a history on a new chapter in tattooing.

Over the past few years, I’ve noticed a rising number of tattoo collectors come to prominence and personally, I’m glad to see it. While there have always been collectors, this new generation has become a strong presence in the tattoo world. You see them at all the conventions, posing for pictures with artists and fans. They’re all over social media. They can have thousands of fans following their feeds. Their Instagram following can rival that of the tattooer they visit.

These collectors show a dedication to the tattoo world that I haven’t seen before. It’s almost become an international club. They support and encourage each other. They’ll become good friends over social media before they ever meet in person. At conventions, they check out who is getting what and compare stories. Some will spend an entire convention weekend getting tattooed by multiple artists.

At this point, a serious collector can even make or break a tattooer’s reputation. A negative experience can be broadcast through social media and have an immediate effect on the artist. Fortunately, collectors are typically very positive and will promote the artist and their work with enthusiasm. Their followers trust the opinion of the collector and why wouldn’t they? These tattoo collectors have earned the trust and respect of not just tattoo enthusiasts but tattoo artists themselves.

There are those with such great collections of work that I have actually found myself intimidated to tattoo them. They’re wearing tattoos from artists I consider to be the best in the world. It is flattering to be asked to add to their collection and gives me a sense of pride to be included.

This isn’t to say there haven’t been tattoo collectors for a long time. One of my favorite tattoo collectors is Chris Long, Mayor of Tattooville. I think he took this to a new level years ago. Once his body suit was done, he just started reworking everything until he essentially had three body suits done. He chose great artists for the task.

He was unlike a lot of other early tattoo fans who often got all their work from one artist. He was one of the first true collectors in the sense that we’re seeing now. Today, it’s a global experience. How do they do it? How do these people (with jobs unrelated to the world of tattoos) manage to fly all over the world for the sole purpose of getting tattooed? The cost of airfare and hotels, the hourly rates and scope of work they get, it must add up to astronomical amounts. Apart from everything else, the money they’re willing to spend for the love of tattoos and tattoo artists is humbling. To spend a small fortune and to dedicate their bodies to tattoos is an ultimate show of dedication.

These tattoo collectors have had such a positive effect on the tattoo world that I feel I have to thank them. They keep the general public excited while educating them at the same time. They deserve our respect and support. Follow them on Instagram, on Facebook, on Twitter. Give them a shout out and watch their work grow. They’re worth it. And for the new comers, learn from these collectors and choose wisely. You only have one body.

Jeremiah Barba

Chris Longo