Richard Richardson, a tattoo artist from Scotland, has been in the industry for six years.
He told Insider the four reasons he wouldn't give someone a tattoo.
The reasons vary from the tattoo style to designs that are copied.
"Most tattoo artists aren't cool people," Richard Richardson, a tattoo artist based in Glasgow, Scotland, told Insider.
"When people find out I'm a tattoo artist, they're like, 'Really?' They think I'm in IT," Richardson added.
It's not difficult to understand why some people have this misconception, according to Richardson. He said for years, many people have wrongly assumed that tattoo artists must be covered "head to toe" in tattoos and only listen to "hardcore" music.
In reality, Richardson said, tattoo artists are just "people who like to draw."
Richardson has been in the industry for six years. He said he has a couple of tattoos himself, but they're covered by his jacket during the interview, which takes place at the shop where he works, Bright and Bold Glasgow.
Bright and Bold lives up to its name. The shop is adorned with rainbow banners, potted plants, and prints on the walls. And while it's a welcoming environment, customers are unlikely to get a walk-in appointment due to high demand as a result of COVID restrictions ending, Richardson said.
Richardson doesn't just say yes to every potential client. He shared four reasons that he — and other tattoo artists — might refuse to tattoo someone.
The client might request a style that your tattoo artist doesn't specialize in
"You go to a tattoo artist for their style," Richardson said. "If you came to me asking for a colored tattoo, honestly I'm not very good at color and I wouldn't feel comfortable with it."
Richardson said you should research the artist and find out what style they specialize in before inquiring about a tattoo. He said that if you look at their Instagram page and find photos of 10 designs that you like, then the artist will likely be a good match for you.
A tattoo artist might pass if it's something they aren't passionate about
"I don't really like football. Chances are, I'm not going to put my heart and soul into a football tattoo," Richardson said.
"With things that don't ring true to me, I'd feel guilty taking that on. I'd want to take on something I'm passionate about," he added.
You may be cautioned if a tattoo artist can tell that you aren't sure about a tattoo idea
Richardson said that when clients ask to have someone else's name tattooed on them, he'll make sure they're certain that it's what they want before proceeding.
"I've got my daughter's name on my arm. Parents' and kids' [names], are okay, but other than that you never know," Richardson said.
He said he'll check if a client is certain about the tattoo, but he wouldn't do it in a "crass" way that would offend them.
"I did have someone who wanted a girlfriend's name on their wrist, and I could tell they were unsure. They wanted to do it as a sort of, 'I love you, let's stay together' sort of thing," Richardson said.
"So I said, 'I'll put the stencil on you, you can wear it at home and see how you like it. Come back tomorrow if you still want it.'" he said. "He never came back."
Tattoo artists don't want to copy another artist's design
Clients shouldn't expect their tattoo artist to give them the same tattoo that they've seen on someone else online, according to Richardson. He said that if a client wants to copy someone else's tattoo, he'll redesign it to make it unique.
Richardson added that the client should come prepared with a concept rather than a specific design so that the artist can work on making it an original tattoo.
"And then you'll be the only person who ever wears it," he added.
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