Permanence is scary. It’s absolutely scary to commit to something that is difficult to remove, and it’s especially terrifying if it’s something that appears on your body.
For the case of one brave Reddit user who decided to get a meaningful tattoo at a local tattoo shop in their area, they got more than they asked for.
OP came to the tattoo shop with a photo of the tattoo that they wanted. It was meaningful because the tattoo has been passed down for generations from OP’s great-grandfather. “It was important to me that the tattoo looked EXACTLY as it did in the photo,” OP wrote.
The transaction went smoothly. OP explained what they wanted, paid, and got the tattoo. OP said that it looked awesome and everything was great.
A few weeks went by, and nothing out of the ordinary happened, but the moment OP showed the tattoo to their great-grandmother was the moment they found out something about the tattoo.
The grandma was ecstatic to see the tattoo and complimented it even, but then the grandma suddenly asked OP, “Who’s AJ?”
We don’t really get to see the tattoo and what it was supposed to look like, but it’s clear that “AJ” or “AT” isn’t in the original photo of the tattoo that OP wanted. OP was pissed after figuring out that the initials were of their tattoo artist’s name, so they called the tattoo artist to confront her about the unwanted initials.
The tattoo artist’s response? It’s apparently “pretty trad” to put the artist’s initials in whenever people get tattoos with a traditional style of art. OP demanded a partial refund from the artist but was refused, so OP went straight to the tattoo shop owner, who then made the artist give a full refund.
OP’s problem doesn’t end there though. OP wrote that the tattoo artist is running a smear campaign after what happened, and OP’s sister is siding with the tattoo artist, saying that OP’s an a-hole for pushing the issue.
“But I feel like, at the end of the day, I told you exactly what I wanted and you didn’t do that. AITA?”
OP acknowledges that they might be an a-hole since they really didn’t know about the initials until their great-grandma pointed it out and that the grandma only noticed the unnecessary addition since she knew and has seen the tattoo so many times over the years. OP wrote that they could have dropped the issue, so now they turn to Reddit to ask their opinion.
Reddit’s verdict: NTA. And as one Twitter user said, putting or hiding your initials into a custom design brought by a customer is the same as putting your own watermark on someone else’s artwork. Definitely a no-no. It’s akin to stealing, and it’s the bane of every artist’s existence. The tattoo artist should feel ashamed for claiming that it’s “pretty trad” to put their initials into not only someone else’s artwork but into a person’s skin as well, especially without permission.
Former tattoo artist here: it is *not* the tradition to hide initials into custom work brought in by a customer. It’s shitty and is exactly the same as signing your name onto someone else’s artwork.
A full refund and/or a fix to disappear the initials are in order, at minimum.
— Just Another NeuroDivergent Vegan Ⓥ 🌱🏳️🌈🏴 (@YAVTweets) March 28, 2022
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