Tattoo Artist Won’t Return Emails?
So you found the perfect tattoo artist after searching around on the internet, watching a TV show or checking out some of the nicest work on instagram – sweet! Now all that is left to do is send off an email explaining your idea and what weekend you have free and wait for them to schedule you in – right? Wrong.
If you have fallen in love with the work of an artist who has tens of thousands of followers, likes and fans your email is very likely one of hundreds they receive weekly. And even if your artist is not in the upper echelon of tattoo fame and glory if their work is at all awesome they probably get dozens of emails per week.
Hell you might already be working with an artist and you are just trying to get a peek at your sketch or reschedule an appointment or figure out what time your appointment is at and their still not returning your email. What Gives!?
There are many reasons you might not get a response to your email. If you are already in communication with an artist then be prepared for a lot of silence while you quietly writhe in anticipation. They already agreed to work with you and are now fielding dozens of other hopefuls. Pay your deposit, write your appointment on your calendar and work on your deep breathing techniques because tattoo artists suck at returning emails.
Most tattoo artists are too damn busy tattooing to comb through overloaded inboxes and answer a zillion questions and inquiries. Tattoo artists keep strange and long hours and have been known to have lives so reading 50 plus emails after an 8 or 10 hour day of tattooing (plus set up and clean up so make that like a 12 hour day) can seem pretty unappealing.
Some artists have assistants who have the delightful task of reading all the inquiries and if so you might get a faster response – even if it is a rejection. However most artists don’t have an assistant which can leave you – the hopeful yet frustrated would be tattooed person – waiting and wondering. Wonder no more – here are the top five reasons you have not heard back;
1. Your idea sucks.
Well, maybe it doesn’t suck but it definitely is not a good fit for the artist you have chosen. Why? Did you look at their portfolio and get a feel for what kind of work they do? If you want a black and white realistic portrait of your baby don’t ask an artist who specializes in watercolor to do that for you. Pay attention to what the artist specializes in and adjust your idea accordingly.
style is everything – make sure your idea fits the style of your artist
2. Your idea still sucks.
Or lacks originality. Or you want something tiny and they only work big. Or they are not interested in your concept. Or they only take mere suggestions and then they run with what they want to do and your concept is way too specific and nit-picky. If you are trying to get an appointment with a tattoo heavyweight you must have a project that; is unique and interesting, fits their style, fits their size parameter (many top artists won’t do tiny tattoos) and most likely gives them a tremendous amount of creative freedom.
3. You didn’t fill out your email request form right.
Most top artists have a request form on their site – fill it out correctly. Did you include the budget? The timeframe? If you need it done in a month forget it – there is a wait list. Or there is no list and it’s just random. Or they only book 3 months in advance or you have to be at their shop once a month until your project is done (even if you have to fly there). Top level tattoo bookings are not for the faint of heart or the light of wallet. You have to want it and you have to want it bad. Even if you think their parameters are unreasonable there are dozens of people who do not – and the available spots will go to them.
4. You sent your email to the wrong place.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about one of my favorite artists Kelly Doty. I mentioned that she was working at Studio 13 with world renowned Teresa Sharpe in Fort Wayne Indiana. I linked to Kelly’s website and also Studio 13’s website. Then I noticed something strange. Kelly was not listed among their artists. I combed through both of their facebook posts and figured out Kelly had moved back to Massachusetts and was opening her own shop in Salem Mass. If you think you have a solid idea and are a good fit make sure you have the correct email address. I emailed Kelly through her site (duh- should have started with that one) and am extremely happy to report that on my FIFTH attempt to get her to select me and my idea I finally got a “yes” which leads to #5…
5. You gave up too easily.
You might have to email more than once. You might have to keep tweaking your concept or come up with new ones to attract the artist you want. It is much like sitting on the edge of a deep lake trying to coax fish to eat out of your hands. It seems impossible but if you are patient enough and have enough options (baloney sandwich? no? try the tuna. No tuna? try the bananas…you get the picture) they may eventually nibble. But don’t overdo it. Send out an idea every few months and see what comes back. If you haven’t heard anything in 2 weeks it’s a no.
The best way to get a response from a well known artist is to carefully read their FAQ’s, look over their portfolio and then adjust your idea to fit what they are looking for. This puts you into the “collector” category and you have to give up some control. And usually a shit-load of money. If that all seems like a major pain then find a good shop near you and look over the artists portfolios. Chances are you can find a decent artist (and often a great one) who would be happy to tattoo your heart with “MOM” written across it.
The truth is you don’t need to go to the top artists to get a great tattoo. There are many talented (and unsung) tattoo artists out there and getting an appointment can be as easy as walking in the front door of the shop. Tattoo fame and tattoo talent don’t always go hand in hand . Some very well known tattoo artists are not necessarily the best – just the best known. I am lucky enough to have a great tattoo artist in my town and I know I can pretty much walk in whenever I want and get inked.
Do your research and make sure if you have your heart set on working with a very popular artist it is a good fit for you both. And if they never email you back? Check out your local shop and make a hard-working tattoo artists day.