Hey, I'd like advice from the community about a... situation with my first tattoo. I'll talk through the whole story and then share my thoughts and where I want advice.
For well over a year I've had this tattoo idea. It's gone through many iterations in my head (and on various pieces of paper) but broadly focuses around a mountain landscape in a place special to me and my wife. I'd roughly decided on a design and started looking for artists by a combination of Googling and Instagram. Eventually I found one guy whose work really blew me away. Everything he posted on Instagram was incredible. He mainly does sketch style black tattoos which fitted perfectly. I did my research and it seemed like he was pretty respected where I live and came up on some lists of "best tattoo artists" in the area. Furthermore he was a resident at a very respected tattoo studio. I then noticed a colleague in my work had a beautiful tattoo that looked like his style and she also vouched for the guy. What could possibly go wrong?
So I reached out to the guy. He didn't answer my first email... so I went into the shop. The receptionist kind of rolled his eyes and said "he might not have seen it. Just keep sending emails and don't go elsewhere, it's worth waiting for the right artist". So eventually he answered my (third) email and asked me to send through my idea. I told him about the mountain landscape and sent some pictures, but really wanted him to get creative with his style and see what he could come up with. He then said "Where do you want the tattoo and what size? Could you send me some photo you like of your idea?" - and clearly hadn't seen my previous emails (first alarm bell). So I sent him some ideas, including a picture of the landscape and an example of an ink-blotch representing a reflection in the water to give it some slight symmetry.
So he gives me a quote, explains about deposits etc and also explains that "All designs will be shown at day your appointment, i dont send anything before" (second alarm bell). I thought this was a little odd, but what do I know, I've never gotten a tattoo. Furthermore, everything of his online is amazing so he must me really good and it'll all be fine!
Fast forward to the day. I arrive, everything seems fine... then he shows me his sketches. He's got the mountains totally totally how I wanted them... but no reflection. So I asked about what he thought of the reflection photos I sent through. He answered "I didn't see those pictures, I only got these two". So he'd used the images from my previous email but not the images from the follow-up email I sent after he asked me to send photos (third alarm bell)! After showing him those photos he said that the ink-blotch style I wanted for the reflection would look "dirty" (despite the fact he'd done it before in other designs albeit not for reflections) and said a mirror type reflection would look better. So I followed the advice I'd received online that you should follow the advice of a decent tattoo artist. So this is where things went wrong:
He said to me "If you want it to look like a reflection in water, you should make the reflection longer than the image." I don't really do drawing at all let alone as good as this guy, so I took his word for it and didn't think much of it. I'll admit that, when I first saw it, I did quite like what I saw. So I went with it and got the tattoo done. He told me all the usual stuff about how to treat a tattoo and that I should contact him if there's any questions and then I should could back in after 6 weeks for a checkup.
When I was showing people a few days later, someone said "The reflection looks a bit odd". Quite blunt of them, but I then started looking at it and wondering the same. So I went on Google and found several images of mountains reflected on lakes as well as this wikipedia page explaining the physics of reflections.
I couldn't believe it... he was wrong. There is literally no way that a real life image would ever look like this. Since then, I've had my wife and a friend (the only one I could bring myself to share my worry to) tell me that I should try and learn to love it and take my own interpretation... but I just can't help thinking that this guy basically fucked up and that I had his fuck-up permanently on my arm.
So that's the story... here is the tattoo (fresh after getting it done thus the red) and the questions / advice I'd like.
Is this totally my fault? Maybe I should have thought more about it, but I felt slightly under pressure (it's the way I am) and just went with it. Furthermore, this could be seen as a product of his "I show you on the day" plus his lack of homework or checking his emails properly.
Should I explain my frustration to him? Either immediately or at the 6 week check-up. I doubt there's anything he could do to rectify it, and I doubt I would get a refund, but at least he would know him mistake for the future if he tried to do another reflection.
Should I get a cover up / get it removed / accept the imperfection and try and learn to love it anyway? My worry is that even if it still looks good, I'll never be able to forget that he kinda messed up the drawing of this place that's special to me.
Am I overreacting? Does it still look good? (see below) Please be nice. Honest... but nice.
Thanks in advance.