Its 1 am and I really ought to be in bed.
Clearly im not so lets recap the day. i did zero tattoos today and it actually feels pretty good. The first one was something i didnt feel very good about doing and the second the customer didnt really get moved enough by the art to tattoo.
Ive been really trying to be more selective, to take on the kind of work that i will be extra excited about. its funny because there is always this feeling of doing something wrong when i think about this. there is a bit of the old school blue collar tattooist guy in me that says “just do it, its just fucking drawings, stop being such a pansy and do whatever walks in the door.” and that voice has been the way ive done it for my whole tattooing career. Someone comes in and unless its blatantly impossible i say “ok”. If its one of those pieces I know I can do but just doesnt excite me, or if its one of those things that i think will come out “ok but not amazing” I immediately begin worrying and dreading it. Sometimes i end up being wrong and having a really good time with pieces like that, but generally experience has taught me that its just not going to be all that fun to do.
Thats where the dilemma comes in. I realise that I have a pretty good job (ok a fucking amazing job im lucky enough to have stumbled into) but The feeling i get when im working on a really fun piece is even more awesome, so i wonder if I cant dispense with the worst of the “bad” stuff and just focus more on what i really enjoy doing and think I can do my best work on? Its not entirely selfish either, I know that on the kind of bold graphic work i enjoy that I can do my best work. I try to tell myself that turning down stuff i can do at an average level in favor of stuff i can rock out on benefits the customer as well as me, but i just cant shake the feeling that i would be being self-indulgent or “bad” to tell someone i cant do their tattoo just because i dont think it would be very fun.
Ive read some interviews with guys like Uncle Allen, Mike giant, and Steve byrne all of whom basically pick and choose their clients and it does sound attractive to me, but perhaps my low self esteem cant wrap my head around telling someone “nope”. I mean, they are going to want to know why and i just dont lie to people anymore. What kind of reputation would I have if i straight up told people “I dont want to do this tattoo because i dont think its very interesting.”? Does that make me a prick? it feels like it would.
I do know that Ive been on a bit of a plateau lately and would like to push myself a little further, maybe thats the benefit of doing anything that comes in, its more likely to be a challenge if I dont always pick stuff to tattoo thats in my comfort zone.