Eva Mpatshi (BE), tattoo artist, Ghent

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“Tattoo artists double as psychologists. Or at least our customers seem to think so when they’re sharing their personal stories. It’s easy to explain, though: there is something very personal about tattooing; you and your customer are in each other’s personal space. There’s also the fact that there has to be a lot of trust between you two. And, it is just easier to tell something to a complete stranger. I don’t know why, but it just is. Talking about painful things also helps you take your mind off the pain you’re going through while getting tattooed, so if my customer prefers talking to me than suffering in pain, I have no problem with that.”


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“The vibe in a tattoo shop is important, and honesty goes along with it. Whenever I’m having a bad day I just tell my customers. In the worst case, I might get some tea and begin half an hour later, when I’m feeling better. I love my colleagues, and we know each other well, so we usually find a way to turn someone’s mood when they’re feeling shitty. The most important thing to me, and I can’t emphasise this enough, is that the customer has a good experience in the shop. They’re giving themselves, so show respect.”


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“There is nothing rock ‘n’ roll about not showing up to your appointment. There can be a good reason why you’re not there, but let your customer know in time. More and more tattoo artists seem to forget this, and customers get so used to it that they say it is ‘part of the whole tattooing experience’. Well, it isn’t. Respect goes a long way, and those who don’t give it, don’t really deserve it back, either.”


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