Tattoo artists just can't catch a break. Quite a few of them don't like being wrapped into conversations about tattoos when they're off the clock either, because then they'll end up stuck discussing tattoo ideas they have no desire to follow through on, and some ideas are weirder than others. Now imagine actually going ahead with some of them...
After Redditor MacDaddy843 asked the online community, "Tattoo artists of Reddit, what is the cringiest/weird tattoo you have ever done?" the stories did not disappoint!
"Tha Hagerstown Crew"
My artist told a story. I forget the exact details, so I may have specifics wrong, but back in the day, he worked out of or near Hagerstown, MD. There was a gang (?) called "THC," for "Tha Hagerstown Crew," and weed, of course. Intimidating gang dude wanted "THC" in big letters on his belly, and bailed before the outline was even finished. Captain_Hampockets
The cousin of a friend got his first name in big letters on his right arm and his last name on his other arm. The first time we got introduced he showed me his arms. BloodyMarys
My cousin had his last name, which doubled as his nickname tattooed on the back of his neck, then tried to rob a car.
The car was a secret police trap and there were cameras inside. They caught him because of his tattoo. The footage was used on a "dumbest criminals" show later. Susim-the-Housecat
When I just turned 18 my friends and I thought it would be a great idea to all get tramp stamps. I had always wanted to work with dolphins and loved them since I was little. When it was my turn I pointed at the wall and said that one. The guy looked at the wall paused and said "that cartoon dolphin? Really?" Needless to say I regret it to this day. JamnJ27
Do not tattoo, but draw tattoos for artists to put the ink to skin.
The worst was a lady who had miscarried. And not only wanted the ultra sound picture with a little heartbeat indicator turning into a flatline. And something like "You're mother will always love you."
No matter how much I tried to correct her grammar, she would not listen. I turned it into the artist and he saw the pic, said "are you kidding me?!" then I brought his attention to the text. He went and spoke to her, and she said "Why can't you people just give me what I want?!" enterthedragynn
I'm not a tattoo artist but I've got a cousin who got a speech bubble on his arm with The Voice written on it so that he could ask people if they preferred XFactor or The Voice and then when they asked him, he could just lift his sleeve up.
No clue why. Muffin0511
"No daddy don't!"
Not me but my mentor tattooed the words "No daddy don't!" on some guys hand. apparently the dude wanted to see that so he thought about his kids every time he reached for a drink. ovepeacetruth_inc
That's actually surprisingly wholesome. zh_13
Not a tattoo artist but when I went to get my first tattoo, I was sat waiting for the tattooist to get the stencil ready so I was reading through some tattoo magazines and there was this one tattoo... It was a full on vagina with a tampon sticking out of it with blood leaking all over the place. Just.. Who the heck would get that. CakeyPop155
No butts about it....
I'm an apprentice atm and asked my mentor this question a while back. He wouldn't give specifics, but said he "doesn't do butt tattoos anymore..." I'm hoping that if I'm patient I'll get the story out of him eventually. Reddit
I could be wrong but he might have just been referring to someone not telling him that they had bowl of chili before getting tattooed there. Or maybe it did have to do with the subject matter. I don't know. USERdatHAPPENS2beGAY
Stormtrooper playing the cello on his thigh.
Mother Mary praying but her face was Uma Thurman ODing on heroin from Pulp Fiction.
Beautiful landscape scene with a couple sitting on a bench looking at the sunset, but the sunset was a table saw blade for some reason?
They all looked pretty great actually. melfqw
"heck yeah you do, come on in."
I get this question almost every day. you do so many tattoos that you get jaded. So eventually none are weird or cringy. everyone gets em for whatever reason they feel they need em. so, judgy shouldn't be part of the job. that being said. these fools coming in to get each other's names after only being together for a couple weeks is pretty bad. my shop is across from a bar. this one time, a few years back. a man and a woman come in and want shot glasses with each others names in them. say they met that night. decided to be spontaneous. i was like "heck yeah you do, come on in." never heard from them again after that. don't know if they killed each other? or spending quarantine in bliss? i_want_pics
THE WHOLE LIKENESS....
Used to be really good friends with a dude. And his wife was... nice enough but not nearly as cool. Very nasty, a little jealous, not very nice to him. My friendship with the dude was very cut and dry, very transparent, not something that could ever be reasonably suspected of being less than honest, etc. We'd just video game together.
Anyhow, they were married with a kid, and I went over to play DDR or some similar dance game with them on her invite. Apparently during this time, she got super jealous of me for... [reasons?] and wanted to know if I would let her use a zombie self portrait I had painted of myself as a tattoo.
I thought nothing of it and assumed she meant as a reference for something kind of different... etc, I said sure.
This girl got my WHOLE LIKENESS done as a FULL back. Before proceeding to divorce her husband some months later and abandoning their baby girl with him. EveyStuff
Down in Flames.
What I find cringy in a tattoo is not the tattoo itself but the explanations that always go with it, like : "yeah you know, I decided to get this tattoo of a car with flames and a rifle surrounding it because my best friend had a car accident and I thought he could have died and once I shoot a gun and..." dude stop it! You like car, you got a tattoo with a car, period. You also like guns and think you look bad with it, go for it, but don't make cheap excuses. saoirse_eli
NI'll never forget that image of the dude who got a R.I.P Brian Griffin tattoo, complete with Brian holding a martini. It's glorious. AlthricPasta
Oh god I'd forgotten about that. If I remember correctly, didn't dude get it after the show killed off Brian, but then they brought Brian back soon after so it was all for nothing?? Wild. lucemi3
A Looney Tale.
Not a tattoo artist but when I was getting ink done the artist was describing what a client was asking for.
Super Mario with a fox tail and buttless leather chaps flying in a tornado created by Taz (from Looney Toons) being chased by Venom. Also, he wanted the Spider-Man, Dragonball, and Thundercats logos spinning around in the tornado. amalgaman
Not in High School.
It was way back during my high school years. My friend decided to get a tattoo from his weed dealer (used to run a parlor). Next morning I met him for tea, he is sitting there like his cat died. I ask him what's wrong. He said nothing and started to unbutton few buttons. By then I started to speculate that that guy screwed up his tattoo. But it was magnificent- he wanted his dad's portrait on his chest. And the portrait was done just right; every little feature. Too bad it wasn't his dad's portrait. Whoryou96
The Broken Fix.
Not a tattoo artist but one of my friend's mom got her husbands name tattooed on her left arm and after they divorced she tried to cover it up but some crap got messed up and now her left arm has a huge black blob.
Just found out she tried to get it fixed by turning it into a flower somehow, trust me it looks disgusting, she sure won't be wearing anything other than full sleeves now. Ar__ya
I know a guy from the Marines that had his last name tattooed on his back in huge letters across his shoulder blades. It was spelled wrong. Think "Smyth" spelled "Smith." DaleLeatherwood
For the Gang.
I have one on my left chest side that says "sunflower seeds for the gang" in Russian and I love it lol. MaximusClegan
I wanted to throw up.
My dad's ex girlfriend got his name tattooed on her pelvic area, right above her vagina. My dad has never been good at relationships and she knew this. They had only been dating 3 months when she got this. I feel bad for the poor tattoo artist who had to do this tattoo. I know she had the tattoo done because she showed me and all of my friends when I was in college. I wanted to throw up. My dad always likes the crazy ones. He didn't dump her when she threatened to kill me. He finally dumped her when she almost got him thrown in jail for domestic violence... my dad has never hit anyone and scolded me when i stepped in as a kid. Ibelieveindinosaurs2
I often wonder if I'll ever end up in one of these stories. I have a few odd ones here and there just because i want to. I think the one that takes the cake is my traditional cheeze it tattoo that says "my cheeze-it." I've yet to meet anybody who doesn't ask about it when they see it. Its for my fiancé. Also because i love cheeze its. threeDnasty
Had a month-long boyfriend once who claimed I inspired him to get a tattoo. I had one or two small representative line drawings at that time. He got 'Mom + Dad -->Me' in small handwriting on his chest. stink3rbelle
Not a tattoo artist, but I saw a little guy in a sleeveless t-shirt with a bicep band tattoo. It was in in big, block letters that read, "PHYSCO." Lalllo7
Plot twist: It's the name of his privately-owned gym. pumpkinbot
Art as Poop....
I once made an offer to my sister, that if she got a tattoo of a toilet with a banner across it that says "Poop, I would pay for it. No idea why it even occurred to me. It took like 5 years to make it happen, but I will never forget laying there, getting my sleeve worked on while she got her new "art", having to pause every so often because either me or my artist started laughing and couldn't hold still. It remains one of my greatest life achievements. beesipea
Well my brother had made his own ghetto tattoo gun out of some random junk, got really messed up on drugs and drew what he called his "Ghostface" tattoo... it was really just a bunch of scribbles and looked like what a toddler left with crayons for too long would come up with.
He eventually got it professionally covered up with a rose. Youpunyhumans
Obligatory not a tattoo artist but, went to an event at a prison and one of the inmates had "ALL WOMEN LIE" tattooed on his neck in really crappy handwriting. He then tried flirting with me which was awkward af. ayechihuahuas
What's a Bandicoot?
i met this guy at a party a couple years ago with a huge ass full color crash bandicoot tattoo on his ribs, and when i asked why he got it, his only answer was "because it's crash damn bandicoot." i'm pretty sure it was his only tattoo and he didn't really have any intention on getting more. barleyink
Find Jesus Friend.
My Auntie on my Dad's side is. She owns her own Tattoo Parlour.
One day, this man comes into her shop. It's clear that's he's very drunk and very high. He starts talking to my Aunt about how Christians are ruining this world, shoving their religion down everyone's throats, all the priests are touching up the children, etc. Really REALLY strange. He then demands a tattoo of an upside-down crucifix and the words 'Burn The Christians!'
Well, my Auntie just so happens to come from a Roman Catholic family (My Grandmother and Grandfather were Roman Catholic) even though she wasn't Roman Catholic herself. This was seen as an insult by my Auntie as her parents are a denomination of Christianity.
She declines his request (keep in mind that my Auntie has never refused business before) and he gets super aggressive. He goes into a massive tirade about how he has the right to service, God-lovers are ruining everything, Jesus sucks, etc. My Aunt then has to call a male friend to help remove the guy from her store because he threatened to get violent.
She couldn't go through with that Tattoo, but I still thought this story was worth sharing. It was just a really weird situation. RonnieRants0708
Shame on You.
I worked at a gas station I had a regular decked out in nazi and white supremacist tattoos. We're talking big swastikas on either side of his neck, and more. WombatInferno
A buddy of mine got his newborn baby daughter's name (Paige) tattooed on his bicep and proudly posted a picture of it on Facebook. He had no idea until someone pointed it out that the tattoo artist had actually spelled it "Pagie." Giving him hell about it never got less funny. Tackle_Shaft
My doctor once complimented a tattoo of mine. I replied, "yeah, I bet you see some interesting ones". She laughed and described a woman who had a large, green arrow pointing to her vagina saying "Enter at your own risk".... *shudder*. amybpdx
I mean, better than, "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here." OneMillionDandelions
I am Jesus.
My tattoo artist told me that a previous client came in and asked for a tattoo on his back of the nativity scene with him as the baby Jesus. He was talked out of it by the rest of the artists there but my artist was annoyed as he really wanted to do it. freethefenian
I knew a guy who was obsessed with William Wallace, and insisted he was a part of his line. For starters, he's ethnically Jewish and his parents are immigrants from Eastern Europe (can't remember where), and secondly, William Wallace had no children, so that rules that out. It was harmless and he was a super sweet guy, so I felt no need to upset his applecart, you know? Then he showed up one day after being gone a couple weeks and asks if I'd like to see his new tattoo.
I say sure, and he opens his shirt to show me the word "WALLACE" in massive font, deep black lettering, covering the entire top of his chest. It was honestly impeccably done, and I made sure to tell him that and tell him how awesome it was. I really hope he gets to keep living in blissful ignorance of this particular part of history, haha. MamieJoJackson
When I went to get my ears pierced I asked the girl doing it this question as she was a tattoo artist also. She said she had a guy came in who wanted a Ronald McDonald head on an ice cream cone. Bunnystrawbery
I'm an Artist... no mess...
I was at a tattoo parlor, waiting for my appointment, inadvertently eavesdropping on a guy having his consultation with an artist. He wanted a little Viking ship filled with tiny people dressed in different national costumes on his shoulder, all to represent his diverse heritage. The artist didn't think it was going to work out, and was trying to gently talk the guy out of it. He said "No... no, I understand what you're asking for, dude, it's just that it's gonna be a total clustermess." I made eye contact with the artist and really had trouble holding it together. steel_jasminum
My friend got his stillborn sister's birthday tattooed on his arm surrounded by clouds and doves and some swirly lines.
Nice tattoo and all but she was about 6 years older than him, he never met her and of course wasn't alive when it happened so no impact on his life at all, just now that families only son has probably the saddest date in their life written on him. YourWifeNdKids
A girl in my college who loved anime got a symbol from Fairy Tail on a majority of her arm. It was one of the worst ink jobs I had seen, it was only black and blue but the line art and coloring was amazingly patchy. I don't know if her skin tone had something to do with it as she has freckles but it wasn't great despite being at the latest 2 years old. She recommended me the shop she went to and I now know to never step foot in there. Pitachipsarestale
My friend has a tattoo of the peach emoji on her butt. It was not professionally done, it was done in her friend's basement, by a very inexperienced teenage girl. You can imagine how crappy it looks. iamcece
Be Better Kids.
I'm not a tattoo artist or anything but some kids from my school thought coloring a spot on their arm the stabbing the spot with a needle a bunch would give them a tattoo. Now they have grey spots on their arms that look kinda like a bruise. NOOOOT-NOOOOT
From a tribute to Michael Jackson's album Bad to upside-down owls, this gallery has it all.
One couple in here decided to get Minnie and Mickey Mouse and another couple really screwed themselves getting a screwdriver tattoo.
Another committed couple got Star Wars lightsabers with a bizarre background. pankajkumarpk
The Bucket Fun.
This one always stuck with me. I read it some years back on another one of these "tattoo artist stories" on askreddit. So obviously, taken second hand.
An old lady (white hair, with a walker) came into a tattoo parlor and wanted this insane tattoo done. It was something like Santa Clause making love with a penguin. The artist didn't have the heart to outright refuse her service so he just said he was booked all week. This little old lady kept coming back, week after week. Finally after something like three or four weeks, the lady put it all out on the table. She was dying of cancer and getting a ridiculous tattoo was on her bucket list. She got her tattoo. chubbybunnybean
"I've written about this before..."
Back when I did tattoos, I had a guy who wanted "failure is not an option" on his stomach. I warn him that the stomach area doesn't feel all that great. He says he can handle it. Ok, whatever. So, I draw it up, get the stencil on him and start the tattoo. Immediately he's yelling, "holy s***! Stop!!!". So I stop. "Oh my god! S***! I didn't know it would hurt that much!" Well, I tried to warn you. He goes and has a cigarette, comes back, and has me start again. So I slowly get through the outline, the whole time he's swearing at me and he's having to take breaks every few letters because the pain is too much for him.
Finally it's time to fill in the letters. This guy just could not handle it. I got to "failure is" before he completely quit. So, I guess, failure WAS an option. Lol.
When I was an apprentice at a shop, we had a girl that came in who lost a bet at beer pong that had to get "don't call me in the morning ❤" tattooed on her @ss. Whatever. So the chick I was learning from draws it up and puts it on her. As she's tattooing the girl's butt, she asks her, "what if you meet a guy you like? He's not going to call you back!" And she said, "I just won't do him doggy style then." Lol. Ok.
HIV+ on the shaft of their penis, apprently they felt it would qualify as informed consent and avoid bringing it up in conversation... but alas women do not see with eyes inside their vaginas.
"I had to laugh..."
When I worked as a tattoo artist, a guy wanted us to tattoo his name on his infant baby, because as he put it, "she's trying to say that's not my son!" We threatened to call the cops because what the actual hell! We wouldn't tattoo anyone under the age of 18, even with parental consent, and we certainly wouldn't tattoo a baby!
I had to laugh when I saw the episode of Archer where he and the baby get tattoos, it was a grim reminder.
"Several years ago..."
Several years ago I tattooed the words "Jeffrey Dahmer" in s****y scratchy writing on a girls neck for her 18th birthday. She had been coming into the shop a lot with her friends as they got tattooed and talking about it. She had the letters drawn up exactly as she wanted them and everything. The answer was always the same. "No f***ing way". When she finally turned 18 she came in with a few friends and asked again. I told her politely to f*** off with her shenanigans. A few minutes later her friend told her he could just tattoo it with the "gun" he got off eBay at home. I made the hard choice to do the tattoo to insure that it wouldn't get infected or be all scarred up if she ever decided to have it removed.
"I referred him to another artist..."
I was apprenticing with my dad at his tattoo parlour and on this particular day I had nothing to do so I was just cleaning and answering calls, a fifty-something year old man came in wearing denim shorts and thongs (sandals) with a wifebeater on and the most magnificent mullet, he asked about finishing a tattoo he had gotten in Thailand, I asked him to show me and when he did I couldn't even comprehend what was happening with it...
It was a full back piece of a koala with one foot on the ground and the other on a fallen bottle of VB, holding a tattered Australian flag up in one hand and shooting an AK-47 into the distance with the Another, the koala also had the southern cross tattood on it chest. I referred him to another artist and after they spoke he left, I haven't seen him since. All in all a very weird encounter with the most bogan Aussie you could think of.
My brother is a tattoo artist and refused to tattoo two small pot leaves above my other brothers thumbs. He later got it done by a 'friend'...they look terrible and he wishes he had never done it....he also got a ski mask tattooed behind his ear. My brother said yes to that one because of how bad the pot leaves turned out.
"I had a pair of dominatrix sisters..."
I had a pair of dominatrix sisters ask me to tattoo their live-in slave for his birthday as a surprise. It was their names in Chinese, at the base of his penis. They had specifically requested me as I fit into the fetish category of the slave, being an East Asian lady tattooer. I was to be paid triple for my time, but had one request- that I tattoo him at their studio, dressed as a dominatrix while he was tied up bondage-style.
When I got to their location, it was really sketchy as it was in a random warehouse in a bad part of town, but once I walked through the red door, it was very tastefully decorated with cages hanging from the ceiling along with the chandeliers. They had me dress up in their clothes as we were the same size, while the slave got ready in his gear, none the wiser.
When he was ready, after some sort of ceremony, they told him his birthday surprise. He was so excited as I had my station ready. They used to be nurses so they had the sterile equipment already, hence an easy set up. The ladies tied him up on a padded table, and stretched out the area to be tattoos. After the tattoo was done, they thanked me for my services, paid me triple along with a hefty tip, and I was on my way.
All in all, 10/10 would do it again.
"One day, this guy comes in..."
I used to intern as a body piercer. My mentor was telling me some stories.
One day, this guy comes in and asks for his fiance's name in big letters surrounded by hearts on his neck. It was supposed to be a matching tattoo and his fiance would be getting hers after she left work.
So as the guy is talking about his fiance, he mentions her name. Everyone in the shop is dead silent. The fiance is the crazy chick my mentor was FWB with. They had such kinky sex, they had a legal document drafted that if something happens to the other during sex, the other person is not legally responsible for it. Theyre already half way through the tat. They have a small meeting of whether to finish it and tell him, or just tell him before he's in too deep with the tat.
They decide to tell him. My mentor takes him outside and is like "I'm sorry, dude. Your girl is meesing around on you" and shows him proof and their private (very sexual) messages. Guy is in tears, BUT GOES BACK INSIDE TO FINISH THE TAT.
He leaves and a few days latter calls the shop and yells at the owner to "let him know" that their body piercer is forcing women to use sex as payment for thier piercings. Owner says f*** off.
"This is not a thing..."
Tattoo artist here...while on a canoe trip with my friends we met a man who was enjoying the river on his kayak. We were all stopped at a small shore and the man commented on how many tattoos we all had, my friends all instinctively pointed to me and said: "She's a tattoo artist!" This is not a thing that I like people to know in my leisure time because I then get sucked into a lengthy conversation about the person's cousin's brother's aunt who watched Ink Masters once and wants a tattoo.....anyway, my friends knew this and did it anyway and the man started telling me that he wants his wife to get a tattoo.
The idea he began to tell me was nothing I would ever want to tattoo, or ever would, but it's the closest I've ever come to "the weirdest tattoo I've ever done." He described a butterfly, on her vagina? Pretty much he explained that when she her vagina looked would just like a butterfly when spread apart........that was the most awkward conversation of my life, and my friends enjoyed every second of it!
My tattoo artist once shared this story of this girl who wanted a rose tattooed around her anus. He refused, naturally, and she whined for a bit before asking him to instead tattoo "Sweet Little Thing" across her lower back (tramp-stamp style). He again refused and kicked her out of the shop. In his words, he wasn't "going to deal with that level of crazy for that long."
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