At Four Pins, we pride ourselves on our ability to inform men on how to become the best versions of themselves (aka not look like a total asshat). And while you certainly can try to “express yourself” (although we would prefer you simply do as your told, bruh) there still remain those among us who choose to do so in more permanent, albeit, badass ways. Personally, I've never liked any one image enough (or had the balls) to get a tattoo. Fuck, I can’t even commit to the same type of meat at Chipotle twice in a row. Not that I ever go with the “vegetarian” option, and not that I have to explain why that is. Looking at the same artwork on my arm, leg, chest or, god forbid, neck until I’m 100 just sounds horrible, but apparently not for everyone! And yes, I plan on living to be 100 ‘cause, well, I work out sometimes. So, in an effort to gain a deeper understanding on how some seem to wear tattoos gracefully (read: those without tribal joints), I turned to one of the most tattooed guys I know, artist/graphic designer Frankie Eiknarf. Frankie offers up advice on keeping your shit together, while still showing the world you give absolutely zero fucks. And that’s why you got the tattoos in the first place, isn’t it?
1. Career wise
Having tattoos definitely affects my work. When I'm meeting with people who are potentially going to work with us (design firm Null&Void), I wont ever go out of my way to cover up my tattoos because I want people to know who they're working with right from the beginning, and if my image affects that, they are not the clients we want to be working with. It's not even like it’s a secret or taboo. I got my tattoos to express who I am, and so I'd rather be honest with people from the start. I think that for sure working in a creative field helps if you’re gonna go crazy with the whole hobby aspect of it. I wouldn't recommend getting a tattoo before you know you're going to be doing for the rest of your life (sorry, law school students). I got my tattoos on my hands when I was 17, with the hopes I would never be some nameless pencil pusher in a sea of cubicles. Maybe it was a little premature. Learn from my mistakes, kids.
2. Keep it basic
Wearing patterns with tattoos has a tendency to clash. Patterns that are faded have the rare potential to work well when used appropriately and thoughtfully. For instance, camo is one pattern that I would recommend wearing faded or in a deeper shade that doesn’t have a lot of contrast. I used to wear these Paul Smith floral shorts all the time, but people would tell me that it looked like I was naked. I would also say the smaller the pattern, the better, because then it’s more just shapes rather than a recognizable design or artwork. But overall, plain things work best. Even suits work well. Believe it or not, my dad had more tattoos than I have and he wore a suit pretty often. Basically, you're already wearing a pattern all the time so no need to overdo it or wear something that competes with it.
The bottom line is that people are going to stereotype you for having tattoos. So why not let them stereotype you for wearing nice glasses too? I think they definitely help to offset the "criminal" persona that people associate with tattoos. And that’s not totally unjustified. I think people who use glasses purely as an accessory are kind of silly, but for someone covered in tattoos, they definitely make that person more approachable—they set the line between criminal and professional.
4. Don’t over accessorize
Especially when you have hand and/or wrist tattoos like me. If I wore a watch, it would just look like shit. I also know it's really on trend and cool to wear colorful bracelets now, but you’re already wearing colorful wrist wear 24/7. If anything, all of the bracelets and stuff are just going to upstage the things you can’t take off. You got tattoos there so people would see them, right?
Photographs courtesy of Michael Kanpp
Jake Woolf is a writer living in New York City. You can read his blog here and follow him on Twitter here.