Internet Slams Tattoo Artist Who Sneakily 'Branded' Customer With Initials

Many people have grown to regret the tattoo designs they opted for in their youth, but one unlucky Redditor is ruing the inker themselves. TattooedNoobAITA took to the r/AmItheA**hole subreddit on Sunday to share their anger after discovering their tattoo artist had gone rogue.

In a post titled "AITA for getting mad my artist hid their initials in my tattoo?" (which can be viewed here), TattooedNoobAITA explained: "I went to a tattoo shop in my area, with a photo of the tattoo I wanted. It was one my dad had gotten to honor my passed grandfather whose father also had it. But the point is - it was important to me that the tattoo looked EXACTLY as it did in the photo."

The artwork TattooedNoobAITA requested was a duplicate of a design their father, late grandfather, and great grandfather all had.

The Redditor was initially happy with the finished tattoo—until they showed it to their grandma a few weeks later and she immediately noticed something was off.

They continued: "I get to the shop, I explain everything, I pay, get the tattoo, and we're done, I think it looks awesome, everything is great!

"Until a few weeks later when I show my great grandmother the tattoo. She's static, grabs my arm to look at and compliment it, then asks, "Who's AJ?"

"I ask her what she means, and she points out on the tattoo where the initials A and J or maybe T were hidden into the tattoo. I'm instantly pissed, as my artists name is Alice Trever [name changed].

"She tries to assure me it's no big deal if I hadn't noticed it til now, but I still reached out to the artist sort of irritated."

Unsurprisingly angry, they returned to the tattoo artist and requested a partial refund, but the artist wouldn't back down.

TattooedNoobAITA said: "They told me the style of art I got is called traditional and it's "pretty trad" for all artists who do that style to do it. I demanded a partial refund and they refused, so I complained to the owner who made the artist give me a full refund.

After the owner of the shop made them give the Redditor a full refund, the artist began a "full smear campaign" against TattooedNoobAITA and her employer.

They added: "Now the artist is running a full smear campaign, talking about moving shops, and all kinds of crap. My sister says I'm an asshole for pushing the issue, but I feel like, at the end of the day, I told you exactly what I wanted and you didn't do that. AITA?"

The graph below, provided by Statista, shows the number of Americans with a tattoo in 2021.

Statistic: Share of Americans with one or more tattoos as of 2021, by number of tattoos | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

Some Redditors suggested that TattooedNoobAITA deserves more than just a refund.

OK_Possibility5715 said: "NTA and I would even consider suing. They kind of branded you with their initials... And they should get fired ..."

MichaelArnold agreed, saying: "The artist had no right to hide their initials on your skin without your consent. I would be highly upset if it was done to me."

TheoryAddict added: "OP should do a call out campaign and try to see if any other of her clients were unknowingly 'branded' just like them. Could be quite the big lawsuit..."

Others compared the tattoo artist "branding" the Redditor to a doctor ignoring a patient's bodily autonomy.

SandyDelights explained: "It's like the surgeon who was branding his initials on organs – nobody can see it, but it doesn't really matter. They didn't consent, and the fact you concealed it suggests you know they wouldn't consent."

A commenter claiming to be a professional tattoo artist also weighed in, highlighting how out of line the woman's actions were.

WithoutDenisNedry said: "I worked in tattoo for over a decade and I can tell you no one, I mean no one that's a professional artist would ever consider hiding anything, much less their own name or initials inside someone else's tattoo. It's not "trad," it's not normal, and it's not okay. I'm horrified some scratcher tried to pass this off as a thing. It's not a thing. I'm with some of these other commentators that OP should sue. It's not frivolous if someone branded their name on you without consent."

Others were especially shocked that the artist considered it OK to add their initials to a design they didn't create.

Pickitline said: "NTA. This person straight up BRANDED you! Not only that, this isn't even the artist's design, it's a copied design!"

RenegonParagade added: "It is great grandpa op's design, or his tattoo artist's. It was not designed to have the initials there, the artist had to modify the design to do so. And it's not like the artist could say it was to protect their design from being copied or something, since it's literally someone else's design!"

TattooedNoobAITA's traumatic tattoo experience isn't the only one to spark fierce debate on the internet this week. A man went viral for questioning his "conservative" mom's decision to get inked, while a restaurant in Australia caused outrage recently for their decision to ban customers with visible tattoos.

Newsweek has contacted TattooedNoobAITA for comment.

Tattooed Hipster Man Looking Frustrated
The Redditor got more than they bargained for when getting a tattoo to honor their late grandfather. Tattooed hipster man looking distressed. FXQuadro/iStock/Getty Images Plus