Getting a tattoo is a huge commitment and it can take some people a long time to finalise the design they want inked onto their skin forever.
However, once you’ve picked it out there’s no guarantee every tattoo artist will be happy to do it for you – it may be your body, but some artists may not want their business to be linked to the work.
In a thread on Reddit asking: ‘Tattoo artists: What tattoos have you ever refused to do for a client?’, those working in the industry flooded the replies with more than 6,000 comments.
Many said they have refused crude or “stupid” designs in the past, with one explaining: “I really don’t need that dude telling people that that’s my work” – but plenty of others revealed they will turn down a very common request.
Getting your significant other’s name tattooed might be your idea of romance, but some artists said they wouldn’t be the ones to do it.
One wrote: “Girlfriend’s and boyfriend’s names. Even husband’s and wive’s names are kind of a bad idea as it’s not unusual for the relationship to go south after getting the tattoo.”
A second said: “Currently with a tattoo artist, and yes, couple’s names are on the never, not doing it list.”
A receptionist at a tattoo shop said that although artists might not always have the heart to say no, they’ll find another way of not putting their name to your idea.
They said: “My guys don’t flat out tell people ‘no’ they usually give a crazy outlandish price and that turns people off.
“And when a friend of ours wanted a girl’s name on him and wouldn’t take no for an answer, we did the name in red and orange so it was more likely to fade, and easier to cover.”
And another artist said the policy of not doing names can cause a few arguments, adding: “Some will get offended and assume I owe them a service, and tell me I’m just a s*** tattoo artist, but most the time they understand the reasonings and end up getting something else that day thankfully.”
A customer wrote on the thread: “I asked this question to the artist who did my tattoo. He said they refused to do stars in his shop. Apparently stars are for people who want a tattoo but don’t know what they want.”
But even if you’re turned down in one studio, it seems you’ll always be able to find someone willing to do it, as one person said: “As a professional tattoo artist of 12 years I have yet to refuse a tattoo.”