“semper ad meliora”

Posted: May 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

I busted out my tat gun today for the first time in quite a while to use on another human being (I did some ink on myself last week).  It was another one for John – the words ‘semper ad meliora’ – “always towards better.”  What a great outlook and motto to live by.  Not only does it sound beautiful to say, but he had me do it in a very nice flowing line script.  Sorry, no pics; I don’t always take pics of my work anymore, since I do a lot of the same type of thing.  I used to wonder why my tattoo artists in the shops didn’t take pics of mine when they got done.  After all, wouldn’t they want a pic of every tattoo they’ve ever done? No.  The answer is no.

Anyway, I think I need to get off my butt – or on it more – and do more ink.  I think I could easily pull in an extra $500 a month if I did as much ink as I have requests to do.  But I still struggle with the financial aspect of it.  I didn’t apprentice for years at a shop nor do I really have too much artistic talent to speak of, so I always feel awkward about taking money for my work.  I guess I need to get over that; people don’t mind paying for things they like and enjoy; more so, people enjoy paying for things.  I don’t believe every person is out to get the ‘best deal’ and pinch every penny. 

Sometimes it’s okay to spend money – and in my case, accept it.  For instance, I pay my chess coach $20 every week for a one hour lesson, whether I improve or not.  It helps him out financially for a skill he already has.  He doesn’t have to really invest ANYTHING in me; we just go to the back of his shop and play and talk chess for an hour.  If he has a customer, he takes care of them then comes back to me.  Do I feel I’m getting my money’s worth?  Who knows.  How do you really put a price on something as seemingly intangible as knowledge?  Well, I guess he knows; $20. 

And so it goes with tattooing.  If I were to charge for everything individually, we’re talking several cents for the needle, the same for the ink, some paper towels, etc.  Now of course the gun and power supply are more expensive, but they’re one time purchases; and reusable.  Do I split the cost of the equipment up over as many tattoos as I think I’ll ever do using that equipment?  See my point?  There is really no perfect system to charge for tattoos. Granted, I have no overhead costs (except for the equipment, of course) so I can afford to either do or not do ink.  Tattoo shops cannot; so maybe this is why they charge so much – to supplement their slow months.  This may or may not be accurate because I’ve never known a tattoo artist at a shop that was just barely scraping by financially.

Anyway, I really do enjoy doing ink and I hope to quite a bit more before I head out to Hawaii in the fall. I will charge for them too.  I will give myself the credit I am due and do the best work I can to earn that credit.  Why waste such an opportunity to do what I enjoy and get paid for it?

Til next time.

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