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Nurturing the Artist/Client Relationship in Tattooing: What to Expect from Your Tattoo Artist's "Bedside Manner"


In the world of tattooing, the relationship between artist and client goes beyond mere transactional service. It's an intimate collaboration, a fusion of artistic vision and personal expression. Like any relationship, trust, communication, and mutual respect are essential ingredients for a successful outcome. But what exactly should you expect from your tattoo artist's "bedside manner"? Let's explore.


Open Communication: Like any good relationship, good communication is the foundation on which everything else is built. A good tattoo artist will listen attentively to your ideas, preferences, and concerns. They should offer guidance and suggestions based on their expertise while also respecting your vision. Clear communication from both parties ensures that everyone is on the same page, leading to a more satisfying result and a mutual respect between artist and client.


Professionalism: Professionalism encompasses various aspects, including punctuality, cleanliness, and adherence to safety protocols. Your tattoo artist should maintain a clean and hygienic workspace, use sterile equipment, and follow industry best practices to minimize the risk of infection and ensure your safety. All tattoo studios should be up to date on health department codes and should display proper paperwork. If you have any questions about the studio practices on sanitation or equipment or any other aspect that might affect your bodily health, you should be able to ask and get a clear response.


Respect for Boundaries: Every client has their comfort level when it comes to discussing personal matters or revealing their body for tattooing. A respectful tattoo artist will never pressure you into disclosing more than you're comfortable with or make you feel self-conscious about your body. They should work with you to find solutions that accommodate your needs and preferences.


Transparency: From the initial consultation to the tattooing process and aftercare instructions, transparency is key. Your tattoo artist should be upfront about pricing, estimated time frames, and potential risks associated with the tattoo. They should also provide detailed aftercare instructions to help you properly care for your new tattoo and promote optimal healing.


Empathy and Understanding: Getting a tattoo can be a deeply personal and emotional experience for many people. Whether it's your first tattoo or your tenth, your tattoo artist should approach each session with empathy and understanding. They should create a supportive and non-judgmental environment where you feel comfortable expressing yourself and sharing your ideas.


Artistic Collaboration: Tattooing is a collaborative process between artist and client. While your tattoo artist is the expert, they should view your input as valuable and actively involve you in the creative process. They should be receptive to your feedback and willing to make adjustments to ensure that the final design meets your expectations. Some of our artists do not send designs prior to appointments, however, they are very transparent about this and they are 100% willing to make adjustments at the time of the client's arrival to their appointment. You should never feel pressured into getting a design you’re not sure you want.  While sometimes part of a client's idea won’t work well as a tattoo, the issues should be explained and solutions explored together.


Cleanliness: Cleanliness is paramount when it comes to getting a tattoo.  Just as it is important for your artist to keep themselves and their work space extremely clean, cleanliness goes both ways! Showing up clean means washing your body thoroughly with soap and water before your appointment. This helps remove dirt, oils, and bacteria from your skin, creating a clean canvas for the tattoo artist to work on. Clean skin also reduces the risk of infection during the tattooing process. Showing up clean demonstrates respect for the tattoo artist and their workspace. Tattooing is a form of art, and like any artist, tattoo artists appreciate working on a clean canvas. By arriving clean and well-groomed, you create a positive and professional atmosphere for both yourself and the artist. Cleanliness also contributes to your own comfort during the tattooing process. Clean skin feels better under the tattoo needle and may help reduce discomfort or irritation during the session. Additionally, maintaining good hygiene practices before and after getting a tattoo can aid in the healing process and promote better long-term tattoo outcomes. 

A side note to this, do not exfoliate the area being tattooed for a week before the appointment.  This can lead to a higher level of swelling in the skin which can result in a less saturated heal.  It can also make the tattooing slightly more painful as there is no buffer layer of dead skin cells on the epidermis.


In conclusion, the artist/client relationship in tattooing is built on a foundation of trust, communication, and mutual respect. When choosing a tattoo artist, look for someone who embodies these qualities and makes you feel heard, valued, and comfortable throughout the entire tattooing process. By fostering a positive and collaborative relationship with your tattoo artist, you can turn your tattoo ideas into beautiful works of art that you'll cherish for a lifetime.

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