IAQ, the “Infrequently Asked Questions”
Infrequently asked questions and the infrequent answers given to them, as an addition —hopefully useful but, most likely, just entertaining— to the more conventional FAQ about tattooing and everything else pertaining to the graphic tribe.
Things like “Why is it that you don’t wear silver jewelry on your left hand?”, “Do you have any opening on the next Saturday?” or “Who is Tyler Durden?” :)
This being the first one in this series, I don’t know yet how exactly it’s gonna work, but I guess I’ll stick to the plan and do the customary “question/answer” thing; that should work best.
So enough with the intro, let’s get to it.
Professionalism and Preconceived Ideas
Seldom, but with some kind of quasi-frequency that makes it almost inappropriate for the IAQ category, I get these questions about the way my personal opinions affect my work. More exactly:
- I would like to get a cross/angel/portrait of Jesus Christ/virgin Mary icon/other christian symbol. Is that OK with you, would you do it?
- Short answer:
- Yes, without hesitation.
While it is true that I am against religion and I believe all this thing about supernatural, almighty beings is just a malevolent bedtime story, this is my personal opinion and this is as far as it goes, at being “personal” and nothing more. I do not try to make it popular, I do not try to make others share it and I never let it come between me and the people with whom I interact professionally.
Tattooing is my best way to express my feelings and views and my work carries a lot of this “personal” in it. Being subjective —whenever possible— allows me to create the best works I’m capable of at the time.
However, tattooing is also my job, which requires a great deal of objectivity and what I call “professionalism”. I don’t always do only designs I like and I don’t always reject designs I don’t like. I am trying to be a professional and this requires a little more than proper sterilization techniques and eye-to-hand coordination.
A cross is just another symbol, like stars, Japanese kanji, Buddhist svàstikas, electric chairs, gallows and so on. I don’t remember ever refusing to use any of them in my designs, I have absolutely no reason to refuse to do a cross, upright or upside down. An angel is just another humanoid, like Spiderman, Tinker Bell, pin-up nymphs or dragon-fighting samurai. Again, absolutely no reason for me to refuse doing them; after all, as far as I’m concerned, they’re all fantastic characters, they’re all supposedly having supernatural powers. And I like fantastic, not to mention that I love drawing human beings. Same thing goes for portraits of Jesus Christ or his mom; they’re nothing but portraits and I love doing portraits! Oh, I loooooove doing portraits!!! Refusing to do a portrait of Jesus Christ would be equal to refusing to do a portrait of Yukio Mishima or Karl Marx or Adolf Hitler or even George Bush, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs… and I can’t think of any good reason —from a professional point of view— to refuse them.
My personal opinions are mine and —if conclusions based on a lifetime experience can be called “preconceived ideas”— my preconceptions too are mine alone and they stay that way. I’ve been doing this for 15 years and —although, in the past, I used to reject certain designs based solely on my feelings toward them— I believe I’ve grown up enough to be able to stay objective and focused, like a pro ought to.
So yes, if these things have a strong enough meaning to you that you wish to express through wearing a cross or the face of Jesus Christ on your skin, by all means, ask me without hesitation. I will not mock, nor make a long face and you can definitely be sure that I will give 100% of what I have to do the best design —and ink it accordingly— for you. As far as you —my precious client— are concerned, you’ll simply be asking me to tattoo you and my feelings toward the theme you choose don’t really matter, as long as I do my job properly.
Just don’t ask me to what church I go, OK? >:)