Ideal Client?

So I have given lots of examples of less than ideal clients – mainly because those stories are kind of fun to tell. What about the other end? I have a ton of customers that I love to see walk in the door. What makes for an ideal client?

Well I have long joked that my ideal client would be a fantastically wealthy albino who can sit for a tattoo for hours at a time. While I am not expecting that one to walk in the door anytime soon – there are plenty of other wonderful people who cross my path. I will be profiling some of them here after I get permission from them to talk about my experiences with them in an open forum.

Today I’m going to tell you about Eric.

Eric was getting tattooed from me for a while before he moved out of state. He came back into town recently (not sure if he is staying or not) and it got me to thinking about how much fun I have had with his tattoos over the years.

Some people believe that the best thing you could possibly say to your tattoo artist is “do whatever you want on me”. It really isn’t. Without knowing each other well – that just isn’t going to work out. What if I am in the mood to color your entire arm as real tree camo and you think that is redneck? Are you willing to live your entire life with something because *I* think that it is cool and you don’t? Doubt it.

For me the ideal client gives me some ideas and an area. I find that I will develop a “style” with each client as I work with them. Do they prefer black & grey? dark imagery? fun stuff? The work becomes a collaboration between client and artist. The work that I make for Eric looks nothing like what I make for Nadia or Bernie. They are unique individuals with unique tastes and I am proud of the ideas and designs that we have come up with together.

So back to Eric. In talking with Eric this last time I realized I have no idea of the order that these tattoos came to be, so here you go in no particular order:

This is the piece that I made for Eric last week. He explained to me that he had spent some time somewhere that he didn’t want to be and had no desire to return to. He wanted a reminder of this permanently placed on his skin. Only specific criteria was that it had to contain “C-4”. Something smallish compared to some of his other work and he was unsure as to rather it was going to be for his forearm or calf.

This one was a cover up so the area was set. Parameters “A brain-dead test monkey breaking an eight ball with a monkey wrench”.

Skulls for the tops of his feet. I don’t remember who’s idea the head gear was. This one Eric had actually envisioned a little smaller than what I did. He has some great stories about how his feet felt afterwards. If you run into him somewhere, be sure to ask him about it.


This one was originally started out as a sleeve design and then eventually wound up on his back instead. The most challenging and the most fun concept wise. I love this tattoo.

Eric told me that he wanted a “Crazy” tattoo. He wouldn’t get more specific than that. Just something crazy and it was up to me to figure out what that meant. I went off to think about it and decided to visually depict some of the euphemisms that people use for crazy. You know things like “out of his mind”, “certifiable”…. “toys in the attic”.

See how many of them you can find:


I also made some other pieces for Eric that I couldn’t find photos of. Maybe he can send me photos of the rotten apple core and the squished lady bug or I can grab some if I get to see him again.

Thanks Eric!

~ by justteejay on January 29, 2011.

3 Responses to “Ideal Client?”

  1. Great post! It so nice to hear about good clients. I think 99% of customers are awesome and they don’t get enough attention because we are busy talking about the 1% that are annoying.

  2. You know, as soon as I saw the monkey tattoo, I thought of the “crazy” tattoo, which is one of my faves too. I’m not surprised that the same person “wears” both of these. Great artwork, cool story.

  3. Thank you. Teejay I have always loved what you have done like I have said and meant its your skin to play with I just wear it around!

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