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Empathy and the Tattoo Art with Mark Richardson of Ironhides Tattoo

Updated: May 7


Episode 37 - The Professional Empathy Podcast

Empathy and Tattoo Art with Mark Richardson of Ironhides Tattoo

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In this episode of The Professional Empathy Podcast, empathy educator Leanne Butterworth chats with Mark Richardson from Ironhides Tattoo about the vital role of healthy empathy in the tattoo industry. Mark shares insights into his daily routine, managing clients with diverse needs, and the profound impact of emotional preparation and empathy on both artists and clients. The discussion highlights the importance of self-care, emotional regulation, and ongoing learning to foster a positive and empathetic experience in tattoo artistry.

Learn more about Mark's work at :

For more episodes and empathy content visit:

Why empathy in tattoo art matters (1:22)

What is your advice for tattoo artists?

Full episode

Key Messages:

1. Empathy in the Tattoo Industry:

Mark Richardson, a talented tattoo artist, emphasised the importance of empathy in his work. He discussed how understanding and connecting with clients on an emotional level contribute to a positive tattooing experience.

2. Emotional Preparation:

Specialising in custom lettering and typography, Mark highlighted the significance of emotional preparation before tattoo sessions. He stressed the need to create a safe and empathetic environment for clients, especially those with special needs or specific emotional requirements.

3. Self-Care and Emotional Regulation:

The conversation delved into the topic of self-care and emotional regulation for tattoo artists. Mark shared his strategies for managing stress, maintaining mental well-being, and debriefing after challenging tattoo sessions.

4. Empathy as a Core Skill:

Mark discussed how empathy is not just a desirable trait but a core skill for tattoo artists. He emphasised the importance of continuous learning, emotional literacy, and empathetic communication in building meaningful connections with clients.

5. Impact on Business and Client Relationships:

The discussion touched upon the positive impact of empathy on business growth and client relationships. Mark shared examples of how empathetic interactions lead to satisfied clients, repeat business, and positive word-of-mouth referrals.


Mark's insights provide a compelling argument for the transformative power of empathy in the tattoo industry. By prioritising healthy empathy, emotional preparation, and self-care, tattoo artists can create meaningful experiences, foster positive client relationships, and elevate the artistry of tattooing to new heights.

Learn more about Mark's work at :

Learn more about Empathy First at


Hi! I'm Leanne Butterworth, Empathy Passionista, TEDx Speaker, University Lecturer and Mental Health Advocate.

Empathy First is a Brisbane-based social enterprise offering Empathy workshops, online courses and individual Empathy coaching to help you build connection and strengthen your relationships for personal and professional success.

Contact me today and let's talk about how you can put Empathy First.

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