For my 121st appointment with Horizakura, something happened that has never happened before in all of the seven years that we have been meeting. I forgot to go to my appointment.
I have no idea how it happened. I remembered the appointment in the morning when I woke up to get my son out of bed. After that, we all had breakfast together and my wife needed to tend to a client for a couple hours in the morning so I was parenting at 100%. She returned from her work event and I started messing around with some yard work and before you know it, my commitment was gone from my mind. I realized 30 minutes after I should have been there and saw that I had two text messages from Horizakura checking in on me. I can’t believe it happened and I’m furious with myself for letting it happen. I build so much of my life around making sure to accommodate this tattoo, it has never slipped my mind like this and I can’t believe it happened.
I briefly considered not writing about it here at all but decided that I should for two reasons: The first reason is that this space has always been, first and foremost, a journal of my experience with this process. Omitting this would be disingenuous to the “history” of my tattoo. If I want to be able to look back on this record when my tattoos are all sagging and wrinkled to remember all that happened, this event should certainly be a part of it.
The second reason is that I think that my mistake opens up a path for me to discuss an aspect of the tattooer/client relationship that I haven’t discussed here (at least, not to my recollection). I have commonly heard from the few tattooers that I am close with that client reliability can be a real problem, especially when it comes to large scale tattoo work like horimono. They tell me about clients that don’t show up for appointments, constantly cancel appointments, complain about how long the process is taking or how much it’s costing, etc. I would like to take this opportunity to explain to you why what I did today was so fucked up, even though it was completely unintentional. When we as clients commit to an appointment with a tattooer, we are committing to a timeline of events that we only have a partial role in. Your tattoo artist needs to plan the session, supplies, their other clients, their personal lives, and their financial lives around your appointment. No-showing an appointment or cancelling last minute is disrespectful of their time and time is the most valuable thing in the universe. Absolutely nothing you can do or say will give a person back the time you have taken from them. If you want to be a good client, if you want to be the kind of client tattooers actually enjoy working with, be reliable and communicate with them. If you’re going to be late, let them know. If something comes up and you have to cancel, tell them as soon as you find out. Don’t wait until the day of your appointment. If you think something might force you to cancel and you won’t know how it’s gonna shake out until a certain time, let them know about that too. At the very least it will soften the blow if you do have to cancel last minute. Do not make excuses, just take responsibility and keep your appointments. Also, for the love of Cthulu: tattoos are expensive and tebori is slow! If you are reading this and thinking about your first tattoo, do some back-of-the-napkin math before you commit. Tattooer’s Hourly Rate x Estimated Time to Complete Tattoo = Your Total Monetary Commitment (not including tip where applicable). Know what you are getting yourself into. I know that all of this seems really rant-y and probably a little holier-than-thou, but I believe tattooing deserves respect. We show that respect by preserving its history, by supporting the people that carry it on their backs, and by doing our part as clients.
In an effort make this entry into something better than a Colossal Bummer of the Written Word, some good news: I received my Horitoshi book in the mail this week! I have to say, for a collector like me, it’s a fantastic piece. The quality is really top notch stuff. While it only encompasses a small portion of the master’s body of work (PUN!), the presentation is very artistic in that some of the tattoo images are paired with other beautiful architectural or natural photographs. It feels different than the other books I have purchased that have a more biographical or catalogic approach to them. I’ve included an example below. Overall, I’m very pleased to have it in my collection.