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Warning: Unprofessional Artist!

I guess this experience started when I decided I wanted a female artist to begin a new piece on me. this piece was very large and very important for reasons I don't exactly like to talk about. I have another artist I work with that is amazing but I really wanted to work with a female artist on this piece.

It was the very first time I had researched artists online without getting personal references from people I know (No one I know gets tattooed in Calgary). There are a lot of tattoo shops in Calgary but when I came upon K. and found a Stunning blackbird sketch in her artwork it seemed perfect that she do the piece (it contained blackbirds). She didn't have many pieces on her web page but they looked well done, so I emailed her.

Well K doesn't work weekends and I have trouble booking weekdays off so we made the appointment for the first day of my holidays and I dropped off a deposit with her apprentice that following Saturday when i made it to Calgary.

I started to chicken out after considering the fact that I had never seen any of her work in person and had never worked with her before, and this piece was significant to me so I gave her an excuse and asked her to do another piece on my left upper arm almost 2 weeks in advance of our appointment. We discussed what I wanted and I sent references of what I was looking for and she said she was excited to do the piece.

The day of the tattoo came and I woke up at 6 o'clock to get ready to leave at 7:30 for the three hour drive to Calgary. we arrived at the shop at 10:40, 20 minutes early and her apprentice opened up, I told him I was there for K. and he said "Have a seat, she's usually late". we sat in the shop waiting for a little over an hour and my boyfriend went out for a smoke, i waited alone for another 15 minutes and then joined him outside, livid that I had been left to wait for this long. we stood outside for about another fifteen minutes and nobody came out to say anything, I told my boyfriend I would wait another 10 minutes and then we were leaving.

As I went back inside I could hear a female voice and prayed that that was her! (after the appointment we had another 3 hour drive to the mountains to enjoy my first vacation in 4 years) As i sat she peered over the upper balcony "Kiersten, can you come up here for a second?" I went up and she showed me the sketch. It was nice, nothing like the idea of what I had in my head but I liked the drawing. we sized it and she sent me back downstairs while she made the stencil.

After finally applying the stencil at 10 minutes to 1pm, I asked her to add a little more hair and then we were on our way. This woman had the heaviest hand of every tattoo artist I have ever worked with, it felt as if she was dragging the tip of a steak knife sideways over each line. I peered over the tattoo quite a bit and I could both see and feel her go over some lines again after doing a few others. I could feel myself flinching here and there and it was a foreign feeling, I never even flinched when I had the palm of my hand tattooed!

Each time she paused I would take a minute to look, many of the lines looked crooked, but I was swelling alot so I figured once the swelling went down they would look okay. She finally finished the outline (only 2 hours and a few minutes to complete a lot of lines, seemed rushed to me) and had me look in the mirror. there were even more lines added to the hair AFTER the ones i asked for and it now went farther onto the back of my arm, although the front of my arm has a blank looking spot. I wasn't happy with it and told her I would continue until my boyfriend arrived.

We sat back down to start the shading and he walked in the doors, as he walked over he looked me in the eye and furrowed his eyebrows, I lightly shook my head implying "nothing" and sat a few more minutes before telling her i couldn't take the pain anymore. A sad excuse, I have a high pain tolerance and have sat for 8 hours before on my backpiece.

"I think I'm a little harder on you than your previous artists" she admitted. I didnt deny it, my first tattoo was done by a 58 year old man who completely butchered my leg and this session was more painful. She bandaged my arm with a puppy pee pad, charged me $350 and we left.

The second we got back in the truck my boyfriend confronted me "what's wrong?" i told him my concerns about the tattoo and he asked why i didnt say anything to her. I am horrible with confrontation and wanted to see how it looked once the swelling went down.

I began peeling really quickly and it healed without any real problems. once done flaking I sat down and looked at it noticing many of the lines were blown out or a little crooked. Some lines were crossed over others into areas they didn't belong. Unhappy with this, I found actual pieces of the tattoo that didn't make sense... the sleeves of her shirt look more like bra straps, her top lip extends across while the bottom curls under, the clock is supposed to be 3D and just looks weird, her ear is tiny in proportion to her face and the fishnet gloves (which aren't very nice fishnet) have double lines over her fingers (I am guessing to look like sheer finger holes).

Finally I took the chance to email her my concerns, hoping there was some way we could fix it. K. immediately took offence stating "nobody has ever said those kinds of things in my 11 years in the industry, blowouts just happen sometimes." going on to say "I am a hard tattooer, I don't fine line" and refusing to fix or finish the tattoo because it "Just leaves me in a position where I am not stoked on continuing on with it" and when I asked her to return my deposit she refused.

To me this was unprofessional, if you can't work with your clients then why do you work in an industry where working with people is imperative? If your ego can't handle a few critiques from someone who is STUCK with your artwork for the rest of their lives... why do you do it? K. proved to me she was only in it for the money when she refused to return my deposit. I'm hoping by posting this I can save a few people from being subjected to unprofessional tattoo artists like this one! Thankfully I didn't get the piece I had originally contacted her for in the beginning or I would feel ashamed of a very important memory.

[Editor's Note: Name removed due to artist's complaints to BME.]

Details

submitted by: Anonymous
on: 28 July 2012
in Pinup Tattoos

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Comments (5)

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Blackbirdtattoo
Thursday, September 13, 2012 @1:15 a.m.
You also failed to mention that I had contacted my apprentice to let you know I was running late. This was because of an issue my son had, an being 3 life ain't always easy and you need Mom. Sometimes family comes first. Sorry you didn't understand that. Being a straight edge single mom I work hard for my kids. I did apologise for being tardy but it's hard to remember when all you think about is yourself.
Herecomesmongo
Thursday, September 13, 2012 @1:18 a.m.
One more, then I'm done. Don't you DARE fucking fail to respond to this. You call someone out like this, you better goddamn well speak up.
Herecomesmongo
Thursday, September 13, 2012 @1:20 a.m.
Don't you dare fail to respond. You call someone out like this, you better explain yourself.
dauntless
Sunday, September 30, 2012 @7:19 p.m.
this suxs that it happened, but I feel like it's ur fault, u said u didn't see much of Karrie's work, so ur research wasn't that great...& as far as the money goes she invested a hell of alot of time in drawing & tattooing (even if u didn't like it) so I think she was right in not returning it..better luck next time...
Temperance
Thursday, October 4, 2012 @1:39 a.m.
i most certainly take some of the blame, I didnt do my research this time, and will stick to the artists I know. Ozzy Perez? not sure who that is, but isn't that what Tattoo ARTISTS do? take a piece of artwork their client likes and re -draw it so it fits their shape, their style, and yours? hopefully telling everyone i decided not to do it because of gaining weight makes you feel better about the shitty tattoo ;) (like it says, that was the EXCUSE i gave you. if your apprentice was informed you would be late due to a child, he did not inform me, or my boyfriend and you should talk to him about making you look bad. not a single person who sees my tattoo thinks it looks good, after 11 years artists should be fixing/covering other people's mistakes and not their own! i dont feel bad that i posted this because it does exactly what i meant it to, makes people think twice about the artist they choose and i have been contacted exactly 28 times from people having the same problem, a tattoo they were unsatisfied with done by Karrie Arthurs. 28 is a big number for a 2 month old post. we both know that I was never mad about the money. you needed it more than I did but i couldn't BELIEVE that someone could have such disrespect for someone that they had just left a permanent mark on. I am currently a display of this horrid artwork, that you put on me and i'm not going to lie and tell them it wasn't you. only after finding out that i tattooed for 2 years before a car accident did you refuse to finish. that i left out because this was about the personal experience and not my personal life, nor yours. up until that moment you kept telling me with patience it would all be "covered up and unnoticeable" which is not an attractive sentence to use. attacking me for unfinished tattoos? i have one. my backpiece. it's hard for me to take off time and i dont like to make day trips with 14 hour drives.if you read closely Herecomesmongo, i said that i used the pain as an excuse to get out of there, i was NEVER happy with the finished work, i told you i was because i didnt want to hurt your feelings but why do you think i would leave a 4 hour session an hour and 15 minutes in? because i didnt want to keep spending money on something i wasn't happy with. i made a mistake by not looking hard enough until it was my skin you ruined. your mistake was letting me walk away with a piece of shit for everyone to see. i never said i didnt like the sketch, it was nice, it's the horrible blown out lines (which, i've NEVER heard or seen caused by flinching, crooked yes, but not blow outs) sorry this reply took a while, i dont spend all my time on computers. i told the whole story, my negligence and your unprofessional-ism, BTW i dont know what being straight edge has to do with this? of course your kids should come first but it doesnt excuse your shitty excuse for treatment and linework.

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