In every line of work, there are things we love doing and things we hate doing. Regardless of whether you truly enjoy your job, there will always be some task that just gets under your skin when it comes time to complete it.
In tattooing, it’s no different.
When it comes to being a tattoo artist, they are—above and beyond—an artist first. They enjoy creativity and freedom of expression. They like challenges and enjoy pushing their own limits.
So what is it that they don’t seem to enjoy doing? I myself was curious, so I decided to have a little chat with several different artists in my local area to see what they all had to say. Now, by no means is this list the end all, be all of what every artist dislikes. This is just a general list of the most mentioned tattoos that came up when I sat down with a few artists in my area.
What I noticed, from these little chats, is that the artists really prefer unique pieces. They loathe doing the same design over and over and over…so obviously when these tattoo trends start popping up, they tend to creep to the top of the list. Several placements made it, as well. While, as I said earlier, these are not the tattoos that absolutely EVERY artist hates to do, it should give you a good idea of what sparks your artist’s interests and what dulls their sparkle just a bit. It’s just a little something to keep in mind when planning your next tattoo outing.
These popular designs have been appearing on people from the early days of tattooing, evolving from the American Traditional style and bleeding into just about every style of tattooing available today—even the newer watercolor trend. As if having to do tons of these over their careers isn’t enough, the dream catcher comes with one other little quirk that drives tattooists nuts…detail. And not just detail…small, intricate detail. When you think about who is getting a dream catcher tattoo, you can generally guess it’s going to be a woman (yes, there are some men out there who opt for this style, but generally you see them on females). Which means it’s a pretty solid bet that the design is going to be relatively delicate. Now, think of a small dream catcher on a woman’s calf. How small are those lines in the actual webbing of the catcher? Or how about those details on the feathers? Yep…moving on.
These are another of the millions of popular tattoos. Artists must deal with hundreds of these things over their career spans. Thanks to bands like Sublime or Godsmack, everyone and their mother seems to be dragging themselves into the tattoo parlor wanting a sun. Let’s not forget those who want the sun and moon combination and the couple or BFF tattoos that are similar to those necklaces that were so popular in the ‘90s. In addition to being repetitive, to a highly-skilled artist, they can be quite boring.
Significant Other’s Name
Oh, this one. You’ll find some shops that have a rule about this. And, in some cases, the artist themselves may refuse to do this, particularly if you’re a fairly new relationship. Why? It’s an inevitable cover-up, that’s why. Sure, you may find the occasional couple here or there that will be completely devoted and make it last. But in today’s world, where the divorce rate has skyrocketed over 50%, let’s be real. Putting your significant other’s name permanently on your body is a disaster waiting to happen.
Anchors—Refuse to Sink
Okay, okay…enough already. We’ve all seen it: the anchor with its rope creating the infinity symbol and the words “Refuse to Sink.” I’m not even an artist and I’m sick of this one. My newsfeed is constantly flooded with tattoo pictures, tee-shirts, and bumper stickers with this one statement. We get it…you’re determined, you’re strong. But, in addition to being one of the top requested designs over the last two years (which means everyone has it) this design has a simple flaw. One that I’m surprised wasn’t pointed out before it became THE tattoo for 20-something girls to put upon their ankles. ANCHORS ARE MEANT TO SINK!! Their entire job is to sink, to anchor to the bottom of the ocean. If you have an anchor that refuses to sink, then it’s just plain defective. Use a boat or a floatation device if you insist on using this statement. At least then your tattoo makes sense. These designs tend to drive tattoo artists nuts as they are usually requested to be small, with delicate writing and intricate details. And, let’s face it, they’re bored. Nobody wants to do the same tattoo on every client that walks in the door.
The ‘90s Tattoos
These include a smattering of designs that were ‘all the rage’ back in the ‘90s, but that should really be scrapped from anyone’s repertoire. Designs such as infinity symbols, clovers, butterflies on the ankle, hearts with daggers, tribal bands, and Old English letting all fit in this category. Sure, the lead singer of CrazyTown may be covered in these flash-like designs, but think really hard—have you seen him since ’99?