It’s pretty natural to develop some semblance of an emotional connection with someone that does your tattoos. Through the act of a simple service, they’re helping to shape part of your personal history. The marks they leave on you will last a lifetime. That’s significant. That relationship has meaning.
“At this stage in my career, my books are almost always closed. If I take on new clients, it’s through referrals from existing clients or other tattooers. Almost everything I do at this point is large scale, and that means spending a lot of time with a client. Lately, that means often having that person in my private studio, which is linked to my home.
Look, there’s not reason to overthink this stuff. Tattoo artists are just like everyone else. Stop making it weird and just treat them like normal people. Remember this is what they do for a living, it’s not necessarily the entirety of their existence. Don’t act overly familiar. Don’t talk business in public. Don’t act like they’re your therapist. Don’t ask or expect a discount.