Ink-free Artists: Do You Trust an Untattooed artist?

Published on December 28, 2012 by Gregory

At a quick glance, it would seem that there are plenty of opinions out there about whether or not an untattooed artist can be relied upon to deliver high quality work, with strong arguments being made loudly on both sides. Familiar comments crop up regularly – there are those who claim that without having undergone the experience themselves, artists without tattoos cannot understand the process that their clients are going through. Frequent comparisons are made to the old adage that you shouldn’t trust a thin chef or a hairstylist with a questionable cut. There may be a grain of truth to this, but like most things in life, it’s mostly about personal choice and letting the results speak for themselves.


It would be fair to let the artist’s reputation and the quality of his or her work be the deciding factor when you are looking around for someone to create your tattoo. The skill to interpret and color an intricate design and the ability to produce accurate tattoos with great results is not determined by whether someone has any body art of their own. The majority of tattoo artists probably do have examples of ink on their own bodies, but there are also some out there with virgin skin who have no plans to change that in the future.


Successful tattoo artists will be judged by their previous work and by what their clients have to say about their ability and practice. Anyone who feels uncomfortable with an artist who does not sport any tattoos of their own will have plenty of other artists to choose from. Having ink-free skin while tattooing others can actually be quite a talking point. Many artists have talked of getting into tattooing as a result of a love of art and graphic design. It is perfectly possible to appreciate the historical tradition and the cultural elements of body art without having any tattoos yourself. A bare-skinned tattoo artist is probably going to be in the minority, but the choice for going ink-free cannot logically have any impact on his or her talent.



Anonymous's picture

ive seen artists with realy bad tats but they do great work it realy is about the work thats produced not the work on the artist judging one for not having tats is as bad as judging us for having them

Anonymous's picture

Im an artest and im trying to be a tattoo artest but I need an

Anonymous's picture

no way. dont trust em.

Gregory Malnar's picture

while not having any tattoos prevents an artist from connecting and relating to their clients on a fundamental level, i still don't think it has any effect on their ability as an artist. the work should speak for itself.

Debi Samuels's picture

I get this ALL THE TIME from clients. I just don't have my arms or chest tattooed, I have a whole backpiece, thigh, stomach, feet etc. But I still have people say they are leery of getting tattooed by my because I have no tattoos. My family does not approve of my lifestyle and I keep them coverable simply for family functions, soon enough I'll get visible stuff but only when I'm ready and feel they are too. I find it really condescending to judge an artist based on their personal ink. I know great artists with crap tattoos and crap artists with great tattoos, it's all about who they hung out with. TBH I've got ink from award winning artists in the past and at least one of those pieces is so bad I'd like to do anything to make it go away.

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