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Neck Tattoos, And Why Your Artist Won't...

Why your request for a neck tattoo might be turned down...

jessicapaige in Stories

Most recently, this blog has been making its viral rounds through the tattoo community. In a nutshell, a woman was denied a neck tattoo and left her local tattoo studio seemingly traumatized that an artist had the audacity to refuse her service. 

In an aggressive effort to discredit the artist and defame his studio she received a very public blowback from tattooers, and shop owners around the country.
Skirting around all of that drama, I'd like to offer an unbiased explanation why hand and neck tattoos are turned down at reputable studios on a daily basis - to those of you who may not understand.

There is a code. A small code, (but a code nonetheless) - of ethics that most professional tattoo artists with a traditional upbringing are guided by. One of these codes is as follows... Hands, necks, and faces come last. Of course there are exceptions, though for all of you sparsely-tattooed enquirers, this is usually the rule.

But, it's my body. Why?

Because Equal Employment Opportunity does not extend itself to the tattooed.

No matter how commonplace body modification is this day and age, society at large unfortunately still hasn't evolved past judgment - and while "norms" are shifting, it's happening slowly. The way we present ourselves is the first thing a potential employer will see in a job interview, and contrary to some people's beliefs - your tattooers reputation is attached to that very visible piece that might have prevented you from getting that job, promotion, or loan from a conservative bank. Who wants that on their conscience?

"Hand, neck and face tattoos on lightly or un-tattooed people has forever been a discussion in the tattoo industry...

...many tattooers feel that tattooing these areas is ethically questionable and in fact they are commonly called 'Job Stoppers.'
 Of course, it is not my position to tell someone what to do with their body -- but that does not negate the fact that there are social ramifications to having visible tattoos that you are not able to hide. Tattooers also should have the right to have our own professional standards and turn down work that they are not comfortable with."


- Lori Leven (owner of New York Adorned)

Luke Wessman, Tattoo Artist & Internet Personality tweets about a recent episode of "Inkmaster" in which contestants tattoo the hands of their un-tattooed "human canvases".
Luke Wessman, Tattoo Artist & Internet Personality tweets about a recent episode of "Inkmaster" in which contestants tattoo the hands of their un-tattooed "human canvases".

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Please do.
Please do.

Now that you understand the obvious societal drawbacks of being a visibly tattooed person, I'd like fast-forward and talk some science.

via google
via google

Tattoo pigment (ink) remains a liquid underneath your skin. The needle, will go through several layers before it reaches the proper area in which ink is deposited, right between the Epidermis and Dermis.  The tissue on your hands, fingers, face, and neck is so thin it takes skill and practice to “float” the pigment in the perfect spot. Even a very experienced tattooer can misjudge depth on this type of skin. Too deep and the pigment will "blow out" or appear blurred, to shallow and the pigment will fall out, as depicted in this image below.

This is a perfect example of the degeneration of hand tattoos. The far left is freshly made, middle a few weeks healed, and the right photo taken during touch-up.
This is a perfect example of the degeneration of hand tattoos. The far left is freshly made, middle a few weeks healed, and the right photo taken during touch-up.

Also, because this type of skin exfoliates constantly, maintaining the quality of a tattoo in these areas is proven to be very difficult. Irritation, fallout and dispersion are all very typical on this type of tissue.

I'm a firm believer in the "my body, my choice" philosophy, But if someone that thrives on my business is willing to turn it down for my own well being - well I'd be eternally in their debt for saving me from myself. If a tattoo artist is an artist, the artist should be allowed to decide what art they want to participate in.  Any tattooer worth his salt will make you aware of the repercussions of these types of tattoos during consultation... So seek out an artist whose work you respect, and listen to what they have to say.

jessicapaige

@Jessica Paige

New York Native. Dreamer, traveler, collector, headbanger. NY Ink Season 3 Social Media & Writer for Tattoodo

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