Tattoo Artist Loyalty

  • Written By Dan Hunter on November 9, 2020
    Last Updated: January 3, 2021

Every tattoo artist’s favorite customer is their most loyal patron. Time and time again this person has come back to them, trusting their creative eye to decorate their body permanently. Also, it doesn’t hurt that loyal customers are practically walking billboards for their shop.

However, with all the talented tattoo artists out there, you might want to try elsewhere. How important is tattoo artist loyalty?

Why Tattoo Artists Value Loyalty

Some people make a rash decision to get a tattoo, not caring where they get it done, just that it happens. Others put more thought and devotion into picking the perfect tattoo artist, searching through countless portfolios and contacting every possible shop. Some people are willing to travel vast distances to get worked on by a specific artist.

When a customer returns for another piece, it proves how much they love the artist’s work. They were not satisfied with just one tattoo created by this artist; they needed more. A loyal customer believes that the tattoo artist’s work matches their style and personality. They appreciate their technique, pricing and genius. Not only does loyalty boost an artist’s confidence, it also helps their business.

Loyalty Means Trust

Oftentimes, tattoos are personal and allowing someone else to ink that meaning into your skin can forge a connection. If the work exceeds your expectations, you might not want to experiment with another artist. 

Someone else may produce a lower-quality piece that pales in comparison to the original. Since tattoos are practically permanent (unless you want to pay the high monetary and physical cost of laser removal), it might not be worth the risk of getting a sub-par inking.

Your Continued Business is Valuable

Furthermore, a new tattooist’s creative style may not appear compatible with your previous tattoo. Some individuals may value matching pieces to create a consistent aesthetic, making them more likely to stick with the same artist.

While tattoos are not clinically addictive, many people feel the need to get multiple done, especially if they had a fantastic first experience. This drive can result in a steady income stream for an artist with a loyal customer. 

Becoming a tattoo artist does not guarantee a regular salary. If nobody wants your art, you cannot find financial success in this field. As a result, tattoo artists heavily value loyalty because it fuels their ability to make a living.

Your Tattoo is an Advertisement

People with lots of tattoos done by the same artist function as free advertisement. Most business comes from word-of-mouth, therefore, if someone has a beautiful batch of tattoos on display, they are more likely to get stopped and asked who inked them. These human portfolios bring new customers to the shop, as well as themselves, increasing business dramatically.

If someone only trusts one artist to ink their skin, then they will boost their reputation. To return to the same shop means they have quality customer service and incredible talent. Loyal customers will spread the word of the artist’s abilities, improving both the individual’s and their establishment’s income.

What About the Other Talented Artists Out There?

In the age of social media, you can find the portfolios of hundreds of impressive tattoo artists from around the world. Since more people seem to have tattoos these days, you might find a bunch of artists who you’d like to ink your body. With all the talent out there, it may seem hard to stick to one phenomenal person.

However, it might feel like cheating to see someone else. Maybe you found an artist with an excellent portfolio and better prices than your previous guy. You might have considered getting your next piece done by them instead, though you felt unsure if you’d insult the other.

If you are questioning the ethics of switching tattoo artists, consider it this way: it is a business relationship in most cases. Now, if your artist also happens to be your best friend, you might have a more difficult time switching things up. Nonetheless, if you have a business-only partnership with your artist, you can easily go elsewhere.

When Should You Look Elsewhere?

Try to look for the best artist for a particular tattoo theme. Say you want a portrait tattoo, but your usual artist excels in floral pieces, you may want to explore portrait-focused artists to get the best results.

Many people view tattoos as collections. Exploring the tattoo scene will show you that lots of individuals like collecting various people’s art. If you are traveling and happen to be nearby an artist you admire, don’t fear getting a piece done by them. Your home artist will completely understand why you would get work done elsewhere.

All in all, it comes down to personal preference. If you feel uneasy about trying elsewhere, don’t do it. It’s not worth the anxiety. However, it’s not as big of a deal as you might think it is. While tattoo artists love loyalty, they also appreciate other’s talent.

Make the Right Decision for You (and Your Design)

If you have found the perfect art style for you, you don’t have to collect other pieces. Only you know what your tattoos mean. Your aesthetic preferences are uniquely yours. Whether you want the work of a thousand artists on your body or just one, you must make the decision.

One of the only times it would be uncalled for to switch artists is if you have a big piece planned. No one wants to finish another artist’s work. It would be an insult to the previous artist to switch in the middle of your sessions. If you are dissatisfied with how it is turning out, have a chat with your artist about changing the direction and see if they can fix it more to your liking.

Final Thoughts

Tattoo artist loyalty has its place in the industry. Sometimes you find the person who gets you and your aesthetic and you wouldn’t trust anybody else. Other times, you want to collect various works from different artists to display a vast array of talent on your skin.

At the end of the day, loyalty is your decision. While artists appreciate it, they completely understand why you’d go elsewhere.

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