MOLALLA, Ore. – When Quinten Wyland got a tattoo, he was trying to honor his grandmother, but he says he ended up with a very expensive and permanent mistake.
His grandmother, Grace, gave him strength and support before she passed away and so Wyland, a mixed martial arts fighter, decided to pay tribute by having her name tattooed on his forearm where every opponent could see it.
But it did not turn out the way he wanted it to.
From one angle, the whole name is backwards and from another, it is upside down and mismatched.
It's a mistake he says that is very hard to erase.
"It wouldn't be so bad if it was something else, I guess," Wyland says. "It'd still be really bad, but for my grandma's name, that's the worst."
Wyland says it all started when he went shopping for a tattoo in Oregon City and ran into a family acquaintance, tattoo artist James Langholz. Langholz had just gotten his license about a week before and offered a huge discount. Wyland would get his tattoo for about $40. He had expected to pay at least $100 more.
Wyland said Langholz's sketch looked fine.
"(It) said my grandma's name, 'Grace,' in cursive," he says.
But the tattoo is in an awkward spot on his arm and when Langholz put the sketch on him Wyland couldn't see what it actually said.
Wyland says he did not know there was a problem until he showed his new body art to a friend later that night.
"I was just completely embarrassed," he says.
Langholz says the tattoo is exactly what the customer wanted. He says Wyland approved the sketch on his arm before he tattooed.
"If he wants it that way then that's the way he gets it, because that's the way he likes it," says Langholz.
He disagrees that the tattoo doesn't say "Grace."
"It says G-r-a-c-e, you can't deny that," he says.
Langholz insists all the letters are right and the problem is not a tattoo error but buyer's remorse.
Wyland hopes to fix the tattoo mistake perhaps by his next fight. He believes it will cost at least $400 to get a cover-up tattoo and at least twice as much to remove it with a laser.
For now, he tries to wear long sleeves and wishes the tribute to his grandmother did not hurt so much.
"When it's, like, my grandma's name, it brings up a lot of memories and stuff. Not the way I wanted it to be," Wyland says.
He says he filed a complaint with the Oregon Health Licensing Agency, which oversees tattoo artists. The agency numbers show tattoo complaints have gone up about 300 percent over the last dozen years as more and more people get tattoos.
What to do:
The OHLA says you'll want to check to make sure your artist has a license. Don't just assume, however, that a license means they know what they're doing.
Take a look at their past work. Look closely at the stencil they put on your body before they tattoo and watch during the process. You could bring a friend if the tattoo is in a place you can't see well so you don't end up with a permanent mistake.
If you have a problem, contact the Problem Solvers. You can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call them. The number is 503-736-3415.