Getting a tattoo is an immensely personal experience. And usually, artists aren't about to judge you for the decision you're making with your body. There are, however, certain annoying tattoo trends that might make your artists think twice — whether or not they say it to your face.
In general, tattoo artists are interested in creating individual pieces for their clients that showcase the clients' personality and the artist's skill and perspective. The piece is a collaboration, and when things end up being annoying on the artist's side, it's often due to the fact that the person getting a tattoo isn't considering this aspect.
"Tattooing and tattoos are so personal, they are meant to be a personal expression of ones self [or one's] creativity," Elless, a tattoo artist in Toronto, tells Bustle. "Yet, we have trends that people jump on, and copy, and get tattooed on this basis instead of getting something that truly represents them as a person." While Elless and others won't mind if you get something decorative, and spur of the moment, rather than something deep and meaningful, many artists do have certain considerations they wish more clients would take into account.
So before you get your next tattoo, consider the artist's point of view — especially if you're considering getting something particularly on-trend. They might know more than you about this moment's craze.
Here are seven tattoo trends that annoy tattoo artists the most.
1. White Ink
Yes, white ink looks different and interesting, but they are tricky to tattoo and can get distorted, among other issues. So hear tattoo artists out on this one.
"They fade… Fast…," tattooist Adam Villani tells Bustle. "As artists, we don’t want our art to look bad or nonexistent down the line." Remember, you're going to a professional artist to work with them on a piece of art that will stay with you forever. It's in both your and the artist's best interest to create a piece that will look good for longer than the time it takes to leave the studio.
2. Non-Permanent Tattoos
In the same vein as avoiding white ink tattoo because it doesn't last, you likely should avoid asking your artist specifically for a tattoo that won't last. It's contrary to their role as an artists.
"Lately, there have been videos on Facebook going viral about tattoo ink that only lasts a couple years," Villani says. "Asking for this would probably be one of the most disrespectful things you could ask your artist. I understand that people don’t want to make lifelong commitments, but, you have to understand from our point of view. You are putting an expiration date to an otherwise permanent piece of our art." So, if you aren't ready to commit to a tattoo, try a bunch of flash tattoos or give yourself a waiting period first.
3. Copies Of Other Artists' Work
Of course, with the infinite capabilities of the internet, it's natural to want to peruse tattoo art from all over the world. But if you find a design you absolutely can't resist, it's best to either find a way to reach that artist, or use it as general inspiration. Copying artwork is a major no-go.
"It is always a good idea to bring reference photos, and inspiration, but no self-respecting artist will want to do an exact copy of someone else's tattoo," Villani says. "This also applies to tattoos performed by the same artist you are going to. With the exception of flash designs, if an artist has custom designed a tattoo for another client, it is their tattoo." If you're tempted, talk to the artist about how you can use the design you love for inspiration, or how they can change up their previous design for you.
4. Your Partner's Name
Being in love with someone is an amazing thing. And if you're looking for a way to show a permanent commitment to someone, a tattoo might naturally come to mind (especially if you're Ariana Grande). Still, tattoo artists want you to think twice when it comes to inking someone's name in your skin forever.
"When you come in to get your [partner's] name, there is a 100 percent chance that we are already trying to think about how it could be covered up," Villani says, "Maybe get something that’s inspired by them instead. I know you’re in love, but express it literally any other way than tattooing their name on yourself." Their love language might be words of affirmation, but that doesn't mean you have to put those words on your skin.
5. Face Tattoos
Do what you want. But even the most seasoned tattoo artists might caution you to avoid a face tattoo.
"Face tattoos are tricky," Villani says. "Lots of artists straight up won’t do them. However, lately, with the rise of rappers with face tattoos, popularity has risen with them in the general public. It really comes down to whether your tattooer feels a personal responsibility... Generally, face tattoos annoy us, but ... if it is something you are super passionate about getting, by all means, do it." If you're feeling reckless, or trying to copy a celebrity, a tattoo artist might feel like they're in a tricky position. So, if you're considering a face tattoo, really talk to your artist about it beforehand.
6. Finger And Foot Tattoos
Some tattoo artists won't even accept work if their client is asking for a tattoo on fingers or feet. And although those tattoos can look really cute, and are incredibly trendy, they have a fair reason for it.
"Fingers and lower parts of the feet are high friction, high wet, and high sweat zones," Villani says. "A combination of all of these things leads to quick fading of your tattoo. As an artist we don’t want our work to look like garbage soon after the tattoo heals." If you're absolutely committed to getting a tattoo on your extremities, make sure you really discuss with your artist what the consequences might be.
7. Anything Straight-Up Trendy
While most of these annoying trends have significant practical limitations, this last annoyance comes from a less-complicated level. Ultra-trendy tattoos are uninteresting for the artist.
"First it was the dandelion turning into birds, then it was arrows," Villani says. "If you know multiple people that have recently gotten this tattoo, chances are we don’t love to tattoo it." If you're enamored by a current trend, but don't know if it's really the best idea, you can talk to your tattoo artist about why you like it, and what similar concepts might fit the bill without being played-out.
Regardless of these artist points-of-view, as long as it isn't plagiarism, it's within your right to get something tattooed just because you love it, even if it's impractical. "At the end of the day, to each their own," Elless says. "Whether it be jumping on a trend, or working to create a custom piece to represent one’s self, I am happy to tattoo whatever, as long as the individual is respectable to work with." Treat your artist with respect, open up the conversation, and you'll get a tattoo you love.