May 2017, a Caucasian woman came into our studio. Initially, she wanted to coverup her poorly executed tattoo. One look and you can tell the poor execution of the tattoo, the tattoo was raised because of scarring from a needle depth that was too deep into the dermis of the skin. But I digress. As she was on a budget, we changed plans to do an addition and alteration. After which, we took a $100 deposit to prepare a draft of the design and sample of the watercolour addition.
When she came down again to look at her design, I emphasised that what she sees in the sketch on paper, especially of the colour scheme used, will look slightly different from the actual tattoo as watercolour pigments on paper and tattoo pigments used on skin will definitely be different. It was also reiterated that the shape and direction of the watercolour splashes was done in accordance to how her existing tattoo is. This is the best combination possible given her existing tattoo design.
For those familiar with how I work, my pricing is neither the cheapest nor the most expensive in Singapore, but many concur that I’m the best there is, and my prices are without doubt one of the most reasonable. On top of that, I also take great care and time to carefully discuss the design and options with my clients. Even right before the tattooing process starts, I will also make extra sure that my clients understand and confirms the design and colours to be used for the tattoo.
In this particular case, I took out a few different shades of red for her to choose her personal favourite. After she has made her choice, I executed the tattoo as per the design sketch which she personally approved. Two months later, is where the weird thing happened. She came back to us and said that the red watercolour on her tattoo look like blood flowing down her skin, and demanded that we compensate her $500 as we did not do it according to her request. She even resent us a sample of another tattoo that she liked which she gave us during the initial consultation as a sample to what she was looking for in the tattoo. I explained that, since the sample she gave was of a completely different tattoo design, I have used the colours she liked in it to match the tattoo design that she has. That is to say, I followed the colour scheme that she liked, and integrated them into her current tattoo design. Since both designs are completely different, how could both tattoos look alike? Not surprisingly, she ignored and refused to answer my question directly, and continued to demand that I compensate her $500.
When I refused, she blackmailed me by saying that she’ll go online and leave negative feedback on me, so my “losses” would be much greater than the mere $500 she demanded. To which, I simply replied that a good artist would never be worried about any blackmailing. After this, she starts rambling about how this and that is unfair to her. Anyone with eyes would be able to clearly see that from beginning to end, we did everything she had requested. When she regrets it later, who is to blame then? However, out of goodwill, I offered to her an alteration to change the red colour which she “hated” for free. I even gave her an appointment to get it done, but she refused. She insisted on getting paid $500 in cash, with the excuse that it’ll be used for laser tattoo removal. But is $500 enough to undergo laser removal treatment? Let’s say she gets her $500 back, what then? It still does not address the red colour she hates! So, if all she thinks of is the $500, then her real intention is that she thinks that her tattoo was too expensive. Then it becomes a simple question. If she thought the price was too high, then why on earth, did she agreed to go ahead in the first place? Her tattoos include: Chinese calligraphy that stretches across the whole spine with watercolour, a whole English sentence on the inner bicep, and a word on the shoulder. All these and she still felt that she was overcharged? She’s either a certifiable nutcase or a complete con. And she still has the face to say that it’s my responsibility. Throughout my decade long career as a tattoo artist, she is the first cheapskate I’ve ever encountered. If you find that I’m too expensive for you, then just leave! Why do it and start complaining later?
After this incident, a though came to mind. Is it because the way I manage the studio which is different from the industry’s norm? Because I run it like a family business, full of warmth and cosiness to the max and employing only female artists? Could she have thought I could be easily pushed around because of that? Then she has certainly thought wrongly.
What a joke. Patience and friendliness doesn’t mean you can take advantage of me. The quality of my work is out for all to see. I don’t expect everyone to like my work, because no one’s perfect. We see keyboard warriors waging verbal wars with famous individuals and tattoo artists every day. As for me, I’ve been working hard in Singapore for over 7 years, and my mission has always been to be a truly professional artist, and be as responsible as possible to everyone who trusts in me.
I would like to take this opportunity to inform my readers that, if you don’t like my work, or find that my pricing is above your budget, then please, please don’t contact me. I don’t need another idiot to find baseless fault with again. Let me be clear again, I’m never and will not be afraid of any blackmailing or personal attacks from anyone. I can handle such stresses being thrown at me, and I’m fully aware of my excellent track record, so I have no need for anyone outside of the industry to teach me what to do.
In fact, you can superimpose the image of her old tattoo and of the tattoo which I did. Under comparison, you should be able to tell what I mean by quality workmanship. The needle depth which I’m able to execute is considered the gold standard of the industry. For those who have poorer skin condition, I will always request that they come back for a free touch-up. I will never under any circumstances, intentionally increase the needle depth just for the sake of convenience, which will result in the tattoo eventually “protrude out” due to irreversible scarring. Reason being, with a depth too deep, it will not only cause the tattoo to protrude outwards, but to also cause it to start smudging and bleed prematurely. I rather spend more time and energy to do a touch-up, then to do something that I know will cause such consequences. This is my work ethics, and I’m proud of it.
I’m attaching the mock-up drawings, photographs of the tattoos and the conversation with this lady here. You are very much welcomed to have a look at them. If you’re finding your day boring, I’m sure this would be an interesting read to past time. As for the keyboard warriors in you, let’s starting typing!
Memory Lane Tattoo Studio
Singapore's family owned and operated tattoo studio.
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