The Customer Is Our Master?

Almost every article that has appeared so far in the magazine Tattoo Fan has highlighted the fact how much the perception of the phenomenon / art / tattoo craft has changed, how tattoo’s social position has changed, as well as the attitude of the owners themselves to the tattoo. Indeed, still, I think that a decade ago, when entering the “studio”, we could get a flash book at the entrance with ready-made patterns, probably a million times reproduced. Taking into account the absence of social media in our lives, and thus – a smaller flow of information, images, and thus less consciousness, the problem of stealing other people’s work, duplicating trite motives, making inappropriate patterns was not so much not existing, which was not so noticed and rarely ready mady available like these days via internet. People mostly knew about tattoos so much that they could be realistic, black-gray, colorful, you can get tribal or bio-mechanical, and although the tattoos were different, they were rather stylistic classifications not often used. The tattooer often received references from the client, sometimes a printed work or something graphical. Rather, it was approached less emotionally, the common approach was that almost everything was done and tattooers rarely refused. The skin of its owner was the only medium that allowed the tattoo to reach a wider audience. Currently, placed even on Instagram, it has the ability to circulate on the web, being subjected to the opinion of a wide audience. It will not be abrasive to say that this fact has revolutionized the worldwide tattoo industry. Although, of course, this phenomenon has its disadvantages and is much heard about commercialization of something that was supposed to be far away, this process also brought very good results. There is a very high probability that the next 10-15 years on the beach will not be accompanied by a sense of shame, it also changed for the same attitude of a tattoo artist to the job – an ambitious, responsible …

This introduction is intended to refer to a certain situation, but rather to prolong the discussion begun by the Hard To Forget studio in Lodz … Recently, it has decided to raise the issue of refusing to do some work, which can lead to a negative assessment in social media … Little penalty ? Not necessarily … We all know that there is no more effective tool to build a reputation or demolish it than the internet. In this case, the discussion was discussed on the basis of a situation where a young boy was refused to follow his beloved’s name, which resulted in his negative assessment of the studio …

Tomasz “Jelon” Rogowski – owner of the Hard to Forget studio – explains:Of course, we are not someone’s conscience, but each of us remembers what was in mind before the age of 20. The storm of hormones, emotions, and love to kill – these are not the best advisers, and certainly, these factors should not be a reason to mark yourself as someone’s property. Unfortunately, it’s hard to explain anything to people. It ends up usually so that they go somewhere else and someone else will make the eighteen-year-old name of his beloved. Later, of course, a problem arises, because at such a young age relationships tend to be unstable, but if the potential refusal to perform such an “act” can save someone from embarrassment in the future, it is worth not to earn those PLN 200-300 [polish currency] “.

This is where the most important question arises – whether a tattoo artist should have the right to refuse a client the performance of a given work, follow his or her own conscience and experience, or rather to accept the will of the client. And if you refuse, what then? Copies, the first tattoo in a very visible place, like a neck or a hand, worn stamps, which will sooner or later be passed on to the owner, inappropriate, controversial patterns? We asked Tomasz Rogowski to delve into the topic, and we also asked other people who seemed authoritative and whose opinion we wanted to know.

“There is a frame in our studio … In the frame there is a picture with popular motifs and the information that we do not do these designs are “out of stock”. I know that now a lot of studies are similarly decorated, but we have had ours for a good 8 years. People are visual. They find pictures of tattoos on the internet and are already sure that this is it. They often go to places where the “artist” agrees to make a copy, which results are deplorable. The red lamp should light up and there is something wrong when the tattoo artist agrees to make a copy. If he can not offer his own design then something is wrong. It seems to me that each client can provide several alternative solutions if he does not have his own interesting idea. As for the situation, I see no problem in tattooing the first tattoo on the neck. In our country, the perception of tattoo has changed a bit, it is no longer associated with a social margin. Many people work with visible tattoos, many tattooed people of these companies work as managers, or other high positions. If you are sure that the tattoo will not disturb you at work, nothing prevents you from having it “- adds Tomasz.

Bartosz Panas, founder of the Warsaw studio Caffeine Tattoo by Bartosz Panas, explains:” Everything depends on the person and the studio. In situations of this type, I personally always try to talk with the client. Finally, he stays with a tattoo for life, not a tattoo artist. If the pattern itself is not offensive to me and my worldview, and I have the chance to fulfill the client’s dream and to ensure the quality of work, I do not see any contraindications to this action. Individual taste decides whether a given pattern is liked or not and I do not judge it. If there is a situation of refusal, it is only through a polite explanation of my position and the indication of another place where the client will be satisfied with the cooperation with the artist. So we do not leave the customer on the ice. The second option is to explain the universality and repeatability of a given pattern and to propose some change, an alternative, but here also a problem arises – some customers do not care about originality, but only on a specific pattern. Improper patterns or inappropriate places are another topic, very relative to people starting their adventure with tattoos, especially nowadays, when you see so many people with tattoos in visible places. It’s all a matter of choice. Our task is to inform the customer about the consequences of a given choice, but we will not decide whether a given person will have a good or bad life with such an example. The whole matter Łukasz Sokołowski, the founder of the Katowice web, writes briefly: The matter is simple and obvious to me – the “Customer is our Lord” principle is definitely overinterpreted. The form of intellectual and ethical prostitution is for me to tattoo everything to everyone, because “the customer’s idea”, and must agree. Tattoo must always be the result of dialogue between the two sides, and each of them must feel comfortable with the final result. Nothing at all.

Also, Bartek Toczek, manager of the Monkey Hide studio in Warsaw, with many years of experience and extensive experience in this matter, says:” It seems to me that this issue will always arouse emotions and lively discussion. I see no other way than mutual respect. If the client wants to make a tattoo, which the tattoo artist considers inappropriate or in his opinion ill-considered and refuses – I note that in a cultural way – this should not get a bad review for it. You have to remember that a tattoo artist may refuse for various reasons. Perhaps he felt that doing such a tattoo would be contradictory to his worldview. Personally, I would not like a tattoo artist to make me tattoo under duress or against myself. Looking at such a pattern, I would not have the pleasure, I would remember that the person who made it sigh heavily and had a sour face. If I am placed in this situation, I always try to help a client whom we can not accept, no matter for what reason. I refer to one of my tattoo studios, where there is a chance to make the desired tattoo. Tattoo is a very personal and subjective matter. Mutual respect and understanding is the key. .
Mariusz Dzwonek, co-owner of Rock’n’Roll, founder and leader of the Frontside group, recently also a tattoo expert in the program Second Face, explains exhaustively:” Such situations are, of course, , in our profession daily bread, but here, unfortunately, there is no golden means”, which in a simple way which would make everyone happy.  In this matter saying “the customer is out master” does not promise anything good. If only we were implementing customers’ ideas, the art of tattooing unfortunately would not develop in so many directions. Of course, we are not foreign situations when the client inspires the artist with his own idea … However, we must admit that many customers simply do not know what they want. They also do not have – as understandably – such knowledge or practices as we do. It is not an art to agree on any customer idea. The trick is to convince him, using experience and ingenuity, to make the right choice. Sometimes you just have to be assertive. Let my own tattoos serve as an example of the above-quoted arguments – now mostly corrected or covered with new ones. At the young age, my idea of ​​a tattoo was really minimal … For the expectations were not discussed 🙂 If someone could explain their arguments to me many years ago or simply refuse, I would not have to covermi after many years … A professional tattoo salon should provide all the information at a high substantive level, which in practice is a conversation with the client, allowing him to dispel his doubts. The customer should know the arguments for a possible refusal. He should also consider other proposals regarding stylistics or space for a tattoo … At the end  u can always refuse … However, if the customer succeeds in the interest, certainly the prize will be mutual satisfaction 🙂 Little digression at the end … If I’m not a car mechanic and I have no idea about this profession, I do not teach people how to fix cars, what oil should he use and how to crank the engine. I am looking for a professional because the specialists do the work they know. Coming to the living room, customers sometimes forget about it … I also forgot about it years ago…;)
We also asked
Łukasz Smyk, Siemieniewicz, the founder of the Dead Body Tattoo studio in Włocławek:” Personally, I think that the tattoo studio, as well as a tattoo artist is not a nurse or a doctor so he won’t be penalised for refusing to perform a “treatment” if he considers the tattoo inappropriate, unethical, immoral. Of course, the tattooist / manager should try to guide the client on the right path, because we are here to advise you well, and the work we do will adorn the whole life. The mere statement of the client “I pay and demand” should apply more to the quality of the tattoo than to force the tattooist to do something against his will. “

So what’s the moral of the above statements? I guess it’s quite unambiguous … Dear customer, a tattoo artist, although it does provide services, and his work is dedicated to you, it should not be uncritical. When he refuses you to do the job, he usually does it out of concern for your good, your future … He follows the conscience, his own experience, as well as the experience of other clients, which he often saved from oppression, because earlier they made the wrong choice. By no means does he do it in to annoy you. As Łukasz “Smyku” Siemieniewicz rightly pointed out, the tattoo artist refusing does not expose someone’s health or life as if it were in the case 

of even a medical service employee. He has the right not to feel comfortable with the given subject of work, his character or style. Certainly there will also be a person who will respond favorably to your unwise choice, but I assure you that after some time you can come back to the one who refused you, asking for help in covering up what, after many years, causes embarrassment. Do not be tempted to copy someone else’s work. Remember that the original will always be better, and plagiarism means lack of respect for the author. For a general summary, let me take a little privatization let me tell you something about myself … One of my tattoos is the inscription “Je ne regrette rien” – the words of the song of Edith Piaf, meaning “I do not regret anything”. Tattoos made very technically correct, not to the point of being not ugly at all (there was and there is no reason to refuse to the client making something like that), but the most funny thing is – i regret that i’ve got this tattoo  😉

This article for Tattoo Fan Magazine was prepared by Maria Śmigiel

Opinions and comments from:

Tomasz “Jelon” Rogowski, Hard to Forget

Bartosz Panas, Caffeine Tattoo by Bartosz Panas

Łukasz Sokołowski, Pajęczyna

Bartosz Toczek, Monkey Hide Tattoo

Mariusz Dzwonek, Rock’n’Roll Tattoo and Piercing

Łukasz “Smyku Siemieniewicz”, Dead Body Tattoo

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