But even with all those options for the ink itself, I’m going to draw a line in the sand and claim that there are only two types of serious tattoo collectors: piecemeal or strategic. I’ll use celebrity examples to show you what I mean.
We see a ton of tattoos on celebrities, because they have the money to afford as many as they like – plus they’re in a line of work that doesn’t hold them back in the slightest. It is in the celebrity world that you can see the clearest examples of these two types of tattoo collections.
For piecemeal tattoo collections, you need look no further than Miley Cyrus and Halsey. Although these talented ladies probably have more money than god, they seemingly cannot help repeatedly getting small “sticker” type tattoos all over themselves. This ends up with a patchwork appearance and a lack of coherence when viewed as a whole – especially when each small tattoo is done by different artists.
There’s nothing wrong with the piecemeal tattoo look if that’s your thing – and these small tattoos can certainly be removed, covered up or woven together later on by a skilled artist who can add a background, layers and movement to give some sense of a holistic collection.
But allow me to espouse another way – a better way, some might even say (and by some, of course I mean me):
By designing or at least thinking about your entire future tattoo collection from the beginning, you can plan your art so that it ends up as one cohesive, gorgeous suit of armor and second skin.
I don’t want to come across as mean or unkind, but this pic that Halsey recently shared makes me a little sad. She is an amazingly talented, beautiful girl with the world at her feet, yet her tattoo collection does not reflect that, in my opinion.
This is exactly why I started Tattoo Doula! Tattoos are a permanent form of fine art. They should enhance and improve their canvas – not look like a permanent, mismatched sticker collection. I realize this is a controversial view, but hear me out.
I predict that over time, Halsey (and Miley, and other young people who started collecting small “sticker” tattoos without thinking through a systemic approach for their collection from the beginning) will begin to either cover these small pieces, have them removed OR weave them all together into larger works. This likely ends up costing more in the long run!
Compare that piecemeal tattoo approach with Cardi B, who also posted a new tattoo picture recently. Cardi went with a big, strategic, full body, brightly colored floral piece for her tattoo. I would venture to bet that all of Cardi’s future ink will reflect a similar strategic approach. She is clearly being counseled well by her artists or others in her circle.
Honestly, there is nothing wrong with either the piecemeal or strategic approach, and many people who start with piecemeal tattoos end up ultimately weaving together a holistic collection out of multiple small designs (think Justin Bieber and Ed Sheerhan).
However, my goal and vision as the Tattoo Doula is to help people think through their tattoos beforehand so that they don’t end up with the latter without first considering the possibilities of the former.
If you look at tattooed celebrities and honestly prefer the look of Halsey’s tattoos, then my Tattoo Doula services are not for you. Keep collecting small tattoos throughout your life and enjoy the heck out of them! You will never need to worry about long sittings, hours of pain or a cohesive plan for your future ink – you can remain spontaneous with your tattoo collecting and there’s a certain joy in that.
If, however, you want to be a living, breathing work of art; if you want people to see a small portion of your art collection and gasp, then beg you to see the rest of it because it is so achingly beautiful; if you want your physical canvas to sing with stories like a visit to the Louvre or the Met; then you need to find the right artists and, dare I say, you need a Tattoo Doula.
A strategic or systemic approach to tattoo means you’ll spend more hours planning and researching than you will actually getting tattooed. It also means that when you do get work done, you’ll be sitting longer, and getting fewer, larger pieces – often requiring multiple long sittings for just one tattoo.
But the benefits to the strategic approach are myriad. You become a literal, physical, breathtaking work of art. Your canvas may win awards, land your photo in tattoo magazines or even stop traffic. You’ll present yourself to the world with a luminosity, dignity and gravitas earned over hours and hours of pain, commitment, dedication and financial investment.
If I seem biased toward the strategic approach to tattoo collecting, it’s because I am – through experience. I was blessed with wise guidance early in my tattoo collection, after only a few small tattoos which have since been covered up and incorporated into the whole.
Long ago, wise friends and one special tattoo artist literally told me “no, you don’t want that!” when I told them I desired a small, sticker type tattoo. They held my hand, literally and figuratively, and guided me to a bigger, better approach – a more strategic and holistic investment in a fine art collection – and I will be forever grateful.
If you plan to be a serious collector, do you want to end up with a tattoo collection like Halsey’s or one like Cardi’s? The choice is yours – but in a perfect world, you’ll think it all through before you ever feel the first sting of the drill.
And that, friends, is how this Tattoo Doula would love to help. Please reach out to me if you or a friend are considering a tattoo! Let me walk you through deeper aspects of the decision process that you may not yet have considered. Your first call and initial consultation are always free.