I’ve heard hundreds of stories about tattoos people regret getting, but a recent thread on Reddit asked tattoo artists on the site, “What’s the worst tattoo you’ve ever given someone?”
A few vets chimed in on pieces they’ve done in their early days, and other uses shared stories from friends in the industry.
A lot of stories echoed this one, with the customer refusing to listen to the advice of the artist
I did a cover up that I wasn’t proud of, but that’s what the client wanted. A couple came in to the shop asking for a cover up of an ex bf. She showed me and surely enough, a big guy’s name on her side hip. The good part was it was done in a light blue ink, easy to cover.
I already started getting ideas in my head of what to cover it with. Guy steps in and says, “No. We just want a star over it”. The name was about 5-6 inches long and I explained that a star that big would have to be, at least… 8 inches big to fully cover the name. Both said yes to this.
My boss walks over and gets on my ass for not suggesting something else, but I explained to him that that’s what they wanted. Both looked at him and nodded. By the time it was done, this small, petite girl had a blue star covering her entire hip area. It looked cheap, tacky, ghetto mad, just stupid. After that, I refused to do cover ups if the client doesn’t listen to reason.
Some used to the tattoo as an extension of their entrepreneurial spirit
Asked my artist this. He told me that years ago some stripper came in looking to have vines and roses tattooed on that would come out of her butthole and curl up her back. He asks why not just get the roses on her back and butt, but she insists it must come out of her anus. He reluctantly does the tattoo for a a high price and said it looked pretty good too. But curiosity got the better of him after a while and he asks why she insists on having it come out of her butthole.
Her response was both the strangest and smartest reasoning I could have heard for such a tattoo. She would dance and she figured the guys would ask “hey how far does that tat go” to which she could say “for ten bucks I’ll show you”. So the dudes pay up a ten spot, she shows her asshole real fast and done deal. She’s richer and they looked at an asshole. My tattoo artist is not proud of that job.
This one was actually heartbreaking
I also asked my artist this question while I was in the chair. His story is actually kind of sad – he was working in a shop somewhere “down south”, and they used to have this Eastern-European sounding guy come in a lot with a string of beautiful Asian girls. The girls would get the same tattoos he had – they stopped serving him after this happened a few times.
The first time they assumed it was a couple tattoo, second time that he has poor judgement, but after that it started to look a lot like a human trafficker marking his “property”. He said one of the girls didn’t even know the tattoo was permanent. He probably regrets tattooing some of those girls.
One user actually requested a bad tattoo, and wrote about his experience of getting shut down
Best interaction I had was with an artist who told me no on a coverup.
I have a big cross and prayer on my arm. I don’t regret it, but I feel like i’ve outgrown it a bit. So I went to this guy and he was skeptical. He said it would have to be the perfect idea to pull it off. So I told him about an idea I had for a totem pole.
A few sketches later and he and me sit to draw over it all with sharpie. I loved it. I thought it was amazing. I couldn’t wait. I asked him when we could start. And he told me he wouldn’t. He told me I could have an amazing tattoo somewhere else, or a “Meh” cover up and this was too good of an idea to waste on something that wasn’t stellar. He explained that it could work, but there would be lettering from the prayer in negative spaces which would fuck it all up.
I thought I would be upset or disappointed, but he earned all of my business forever for being honest about the entire situation.
We start the full calf sleeve in November.
Many were subject to tattoos that didn’t have much thought put into them…
My sister in law just put a Pokemon valor tattoo on someone’s neck.
The worst tattoo I’ve done is “An” beside his butthole and then “s” on the other side of it.
Unfortunately, when being a tattoo artist is your job, sometimes you need to do whatever pays the bills
I asked the tattoo artist this question while I had mine done. Someone he worked with got an estimate request for a vagina to be tattooed onto his taint. She gave him an estimate thinking he’d think it too high and moved on.
Turned out the other places he went to first quoted him higher, so he accepted. The guy I was talking too said he’d walk by her cubicle and see her bent over with the guy’s legs up, and she said she was fine the first hour or so until she took her first break. Then it was torture for her to finish
And a few stated that if people were going to spend money on a bad tattoo, they may as well be the ones to collect it
I’m coming into this thread real late, but I’m a Tattooer, and I have two that come to mind. The first one was “FUCK LOVE” across a Hispanic guys knuckles. I guess he had just broken up with his girl, and was really heated. Tried to talk him out of it, said his mind was made up, figured he might as well spend his money with me, and get it done nice. Gave him what he wanted and sent him home.
The other one was on a biker girl that got “Property of (guy’s name)” on her lower back. Talking huge though, literally half her back. Same deal as the last one. Might as well get it done right and might as well be the one that makes the money. Apparently her and the guy had only been dating for two months, and she had just had a baby with another guy. Even asked her when the guy went outside to smoke if she was sure, and that she could back out if she wanted to and made sure she wasn’t getting pressured into it.
She was just genuinely down as fuck for the guy, absolutely stoked to get that tattoo. Hope they’re still together cause there’s no way in fuck that giant tattoo is getting covered.
But most at least knew what their tattoo meant
Not an artist, but one of my friends asked for ‘Love, Laugh and Live’ in Chinese script; it took a few days before someone pointed out to her that she actually had ‘Please choose one of the tattoos below’ in Chinese script on her right arm.
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