TATTOOS…I peeled this section off the other post

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    Tracey Kjonegaard
    I know this is a fairly old thread but I was reading through and it brought up something I was curious about.

    What do you guys know/think about tattoos and piercings in the harp world? I can imagine there would be many instances where it wouldn’t seem appropriate (for instance, I’m sure it would be a lot harder for someone with full sleeve tattoos to get wedding gigs, over someone that has ink free skin).

    I’ve always felt like I wouldn’t let any tattoos I have (or intend to get) interfere with a job or career…or rather, every job/career I’ve been interested in or worked has accepted tattoos and piercings and not been an issue, so far.

    I guess I’m asking because when I’m making my own music and play gigs and stuff eventually (yes, I WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN) I, in general, never really care what people think of me or how I look or whatever. I figure if people are there to see me play, they’re interested in me as a musician or for my music, not just to critique my appearance.

    But I would like to play weddings and try to make some sort of part time work out of that. Has anyone had experience or stories about this and having tattoos/piercings or know anyone that has? I’d just be curious to hear what every has to say or what you all think. Is it really unprofessional to have visible body modification or do people in the harp world seem to be becoming more accepting of it as our times change? Would clients understand if you make an effort to cover them with your choice of outfit/clothing at the gig?

    about 3 hours ago – reply
    Jessica Wolff
    A wedding isn’t about you and your harp. It’s about the people getting married. Your tattoos and/or piercings may well interfere with / distract from the aesthetic of that wedding.

    about 1 hour ago – reply
    Sylvia Clark
    I don’t like tattoos. ….but I once played a wedding where all the girls in the bridal party had tats. They were distracting to the harpist. I was trying to figure out what they were. They seemed to run botanical. 🙂

    about 1 hour ago – reply | edit | delete
    Tracey Kjonegaard
    I understand. I would think that someone wanting to have a harpist at their wedding, their wedding would be somewhat of a traditional/classic style of a wedding. And when I think of that, I’m sure someone with that type of taste (for their wedding) would prefer a “traditional” looking harpist- if that makes, aka sans body modification. I was just curious what other peoples input was.

    33 minutes ago – reply
    Jimmy H
    I wonder if someone could peel this part off and make it a separate “tattoo and piercings” thread.

    I like to think tattoo’s and piercings can be done tastefully but they can also be very distracting. I cringe when I see some girl with her tongue pierced because I cant stop staring at the flashes of silver in her mouth. I’ve also known people who have been fired because someone complained about visible tattoo’s.

    As a nurse, I have some advice. “Love” and “Hate” tattoo’s on your knuckles are going to fade and still make you look like a thug. If you are going to get a tattoo, remember that various parts of your body start sliding south and wrinkle as you get older and that tweety bird is going to stop being cute when your 70. And, Yes dear, that tongue/nose/eyebrow/genital piercing HAS to come out before your surgery/delivery/procedure (sometimes not the delivery, but still). Another thing, that huge tattoo of La Virgen de Guadalupe on your chest probably should not be accompanied by demon faces and gang symbols.

    18 minutes ago – reply


    hahahah oh man, I didn’t really think about it but now that you’ve said it, I bet being a nurse, you’ve seen it all. Or it sure sounds like it 😛


    I haven’t seen it all, but I’ve seen plenty. You hear stories from other nurses also. Oddly, when I started I only planned to work full time for a few years and then switch to something else and use nursing to pay my way through school. God had other plans. I sure wish He’d let me in on them.


    Well, lets say (hypothetically- of course) that I have half of a sleeve on my arm, from my elbow to my shoulder. Regardless of whether or not its “tasteful” (as this is subjective and can mean something completely different to anyone who has an opinion on it), I would probably feel more comfortable just wearing long sleeves or a light sweater or something that would cover it up if I were meeting people that would potentially hire me. Given that I would make a point to cover it at a wedding (again by wearing a light sweater etc…) do you think it would be important to tell them, out of respect so they know beforehand (just like a..’hey I can cover this up if its a big deal’), or do you think it wouldn’t matter as long as I had planned to wear something over it?

    I wouldn’t think it would matter (what they don’t know can’t hurt them, right?) but I was just curious to every one else’s opinions. Is it unprofessional to even mention it if I was pretty certain I would/could cover up?

    I feel like this is a dumb question or that maybe most of the people on here don’t care for or don’t have tattoos so maybe this doesn’t seem as important to anyone else, but it is to me.


    I have tattoos. When dealing with someone professionally, either musically or otherwise, they never see them. No one I have ever worked with or for has ever seen them. So I don’t see any point in mentioning them at all.

    If you are going to wear a sleeveless top when you have a consultation with a client and the tattoos are visible to them at that time then yes, you should mention that you will be wearing long sleeves on the day and the tattoos will not be visible.

    But I recommend simply not wearing anything that reveals them at any time with the client, and if you do that, and are going to dress similarly for the event, it really isn’t anyone’s business what you have underneath.


    Thanks for your response, Tony. It is rather reassuring 🙂


    I’m too old to be a big fan of tattooes myself so you may want to ignore my comments anyway but I have to say that, if it were me, I wouldn’t want my choice of clothing to be constricted by whether or not I have tattooes on my arms. If you are likely to be playing on a hot day or in a heated room I’d have thought you’d be risking real discomfort by not being able to remove your jacket or always having to wear long sleeves (that’ll happen soon enough once middle age and the ‘bingo wings’ kick in anyway!) Having said all that, if you’re never going to display them then I’d have to echo Tony’s comment that it’s nobody else’s business what goes on under your clothes.

    The thing about tattoes is that they’ve now become so ubiquitous that the rest of us are just going to have to get used to them so if you feel like being a pioneer I’d have to applaud that too. An offer to cover up if that’s what the customer wants is the most that should really be expected from you.


    Thank you Lyn! I definitely did think about the what if’s as you mentioned, what if it’s hot or I’m playing in a warm room but I guess I could just handle that battle when I come to it (and I would probably end up just dealing with it ha).

    I primarily want to write my own music and perform but I would really love to do weddings as a sort of side job, for the experience to get used to playing in front of people and of course for the pay. I just know it wouldn’t be something long term for me, I’m sure, as I would like to focus more on my own music. If my goal with harp would be to play weddings or in ensembles or an orchestra for the rest of my life, then yes, I guess I would consider my body modifications more carefully and take more consideration in the type of career path I’m taking. But like I said, if I’m playing a show and playing my own music, I would hope people would want to come and see me to hear my music, not to critique what is on my body lol.

    Anyway, I think its funny you mentioned tattoos and body modifications becoming something you see everywhere. When people try to bring up the whole “well what are you going to look like when you’re old and saggy and wrinkley!?!?!!?!?” I like to think I’d look like EVERYONE else that has the same tattoos now that they’ll have in 40 or 50 years hah. Perhaps it will become more of the norm to have them, than not? Just thoughts 🙂


    The whole, “what will it look like when you get old” line I always find amusing.

    When I am old, and wrinkled, and have liver spots and fragile skin that hangs down more than I like I doubt I am going to look in the mirror and think that the old tattoos are what is detracting from my looks.

    What they will be, however, are reminders of the journey that got me to old age.

    It all boils down to the classic threat of, “you will regret it someday”.

    However, knowing many people with tattoos, some much older than I am, I have found that it is fairly easy to tell those who are going to regret it and those who don’t. The one who puts a lot of thought into it, and chooses to do something meaningful to them, rarely regret it. The one who got a tattoo on vacation in the Bahamas on a whim, walking into some place they know nothing about and picking some random image off the wall is the one who ends up regretting it.

    It’s fairly easy to not be the kind who regrets it. Just think about it, and what you want for a while before you actually do it. Those people don’t regret it nearly as often and the anti tattoo crowd likes to think.


    Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against tattoo’s, lol. I just see plenty that probably were not done while sober or sane. And others that would not be considered in good taste.

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