Saturday, April 14, 2012

Being a Tattoo Collector

A recent situation happened at the shop that has spurned on this article.
I actually have not thought about writing about this before,  but I think this will be helpful for others out there that are new to getting tattooed, or maybe even something others,  that are experienced tattoo collectors can relate to.
My left calf by Adam Lunoe 2011
First off, tattooers are wierd people. I think artists in general are wierd, but tattooers are definitely strange. In the head. They are like prates. Totally superstitious, guarded and just plan ole' funny. Since tattooing (back in the day especially) was full of trade secrets and basically grim and very competitive... The clients that supported a specific shop usually stayed with that shop and didn't cross breed to other shops.  There are however, different kinda  collectors. For the drifters around the world, they could get tattooed by different artists, to commemorate their travels and what not. For the rooted locals, they can frequent that one shop in town that is always there.
When I first started tattooing, there was only four shops in town, so you just went and got tattooed wherever you could. Sometimes a person would come in and they were shit starters! They would say you know that other shop over there was talking shit about you guys. That was my first taste of non-comrade re in the tattoo business. It may seem today that this happens less, but I don't think so.
So I want to go over some basics for being a tattoo collector. I myself collect tattoos from various artists, because it is a total investment for me. I admire other artists and think they are better than me at tattooing  and so I learn from them... There are many other reasons to collect from different artists. Basically, to get different styles of art from other artists is the  idea though,  I think.
The best way to collect art from various artists is to give them a specific designated area of your body.
My right calf by Tim Lehi 2007
  I think this hits the nail on the head! Very rarely does a single piece look good when you have had 2-4 artists on it. It's usually obvious and looks like you are all over the place with your ideas for your tattoos.
 Most collectors know not to have a different artist work on someone else's work unless there was a unfortunate circumstance for either party, ie: the artist dies form a heroin over dose, you move somewhere else, you have a falling out with the artist, etc...It happens. But most tattooers with respect and a decent set of art morals don't take over another artists work.
I personally do re-do's on older tattoos that would clean up nicely. If that can't be done, then a cover up may be necessary.
Most people that collect from various artists know this rule/idea/ethic without even speaking of it, but I find it funny that more people have been coming into the shop after we tattooed them, they went somewhere else got tattooed on it, and want us to work (fix) on it again...
People may need to be reminded that getting a tattoo is not the same as just walking into a barber and getting a haircut. Tattooing has so much more involved to it than that.
We have so many loyal customers at this shop. I have some clients that I have had for the past ten years! I am tattooing their kids when they turn 18. These customers would not go any where else. And then I also have clients that collect tattoos from other artists and I love seeing their other work. I don't get insecure about it. And usually the work is nice, so it's cool. They also have an understanding, nor would they want someone else to go into a piece that I had done for them. This is respect they have for me and my art and I appreciate that. I think it is great when clients honor their work as much as I honor working on them.

1 comment:

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