When your Tattoo Artist is being sexually inappropriate

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I got this question from one of my followers a couple of days ago. I normally don’t answer questions through DMs, but this one was special. I have actually had this question asked several times before, and it is such a serious matter, so it deserves some true focus.

«I’m in absolute pieces about my situation with my artist and I don’t know where to start, please help. He’s so sexually inappropriate when talking to me I’m 19 and he is 50. He’s the only artist doing the exact style I want. I’m just crying and am so distraught it’s too much. I have another session booked and I’m supposed to be going back for finish work in four weeks too. I need advice, what can I say, what do I do. Do I just stop going to him, do I tell somebody is this a problem I’m honestly heartbroken his work is all over my body I’m just so lost and afraid.»

Wow! First of all, I am very sorry that you are stuck in this kind of situation in the first place! Since I don’t know exactly the details of what he has done or words he has used, my advice will be to anyone that feels uncomfortable with a tattoo artist in general:

Cancel your future appointments! Start searching for other artists that could do that style equally good, or better. Maybe you need to travel a longer distance to get it done, but it will be so worth it when you find him or her, and they will make you feel safe and respected again. You will carry these tattoos on your body for the rest of your life. Don’t rush it! Spend time and effort researching! If you don’t get a good vibe, go somewhere else. Keep searching until you get there! You own your body, your tattoos, your money and your time! Remember that!

Professional tattoo artist makes a tattoo on a young girl's hand

Secondly (very optional) depends on the artist’s role in the shop. If he is the sole owner and manages the shop himself, you could send him an honest email after canceling, and actually tell him how you felt about all this, so he might learn from it (even though I personally doubt it, from his age and behavior) OR if he has a Boss, manager or a shop keeper, send THEM the email where you just tell them like it is, and why you canceled, and won’t come back. 

Depending on the seriousness of this inappropriate behavior, meaning, if it’s sexual harassment, you could, of course, take this further and actually sue him.

«Sexual harassment means any kind of unwanted sexual attention that has the intention of or the effect of being offensive, intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or troublesome.»

If it’s not really that bad, but still uncomfortable to be alone with the artist, an option to all of this (if you REALLY WANT him to finish this tattoo) could be to bring a grown-up male support to your next appointment, like a boyfriend/father/uncle, and have them «look out for you». If that would make you feel safe of course. But I truly don’t feel quite comfortable with this advice, because I don’t think the artist actually deserves you coming back to him after being creepy. 

I truly hope you get out of this situation asap, and I wish you all the best! Do what you feel is right FOR YOU!!! You don’t owe the artist ANYTHING!

Lots of love

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See ya!

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