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is there a code of ethics that i am missing when walking into a shop as a newbie?


Brian Wermund
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Happy 4th y'all...today I decided to take out the bike out for afternoon ride...and saw that a local tattoo shop was open...i stopped by the other evening and saw that they were looking for an artist and a piercer...so tonight i decided to roll on up and check out this local shop...they happened to be having a july 4th barb-q in the works...so fun and festivities were in the works...I walked in and asked if i could check out the shop and look at their books...the woman was polite and said yes...but i could tell i was getting a lil mean mugging thrown my way...its all good...she asked questions and i broke down my lil back story...she went with the usual your really need to be working out of a shop...no argument on my part...after i looked through the books i said i would love to come back and maybe get some work done...and said i planned on getting work from a number of people and said it gives me a chance to learn...then all of sudden she flipped on me and said there is no way i would ever tattoo you if your trying to learn something from me...knowing that now she said i wouldn't ever tattoo you...wow that is oddest customer service response...I smiled and said that is fine...no worries I'll get it from someone else...then she slammed me and said i knew you were some home scratcher the moment you pulled up...what gave it away?...silly woman i learned everything I needed to know in that short visit and I learned that there is nothing left to learn from that shop...c'est la vie...

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Yeah, don't be a scratcher. Don't be everything that established tattooers who care about their industry hate and expect to be treated like a welcome guest. Our job is to do good work and protect our craft, not pass on bits of information and make you feel welcome or applaud you for having the courage to openly be a hack.

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But this isn't work of a scratcher...everything I do is sterile and wrapped up....machine, cord, table, green soap, all that shit gets wiped down and wrapped up. ...yes i am working out of an apartment but not everyone learned in the shop when they began....i walked into the shop like any person shopping for a tattoo would....i was just checking out the spot and getting a feel for one of local spots....nothing wrong with that just like any collector would...maybe i am shopping around for work that i find interesting....i told her i am soaking it all up...tonight i just soaked up something that didn't fit...just thought it was weird response to say i won't tattoo you if you are trying to learn something...shit keep your secrets...i'll will find my own....tattoo me blindfolded i will still learn something...i am not expecting any welcome mat or any applause for my courageness to be a hack...i do good work that i am proud of and my clients are happy with....is all the work fantastic no but its way early and its a long road...namaste

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But this isn't work of a scratcher...everything I do is sterile and wrapped up....machine, cord, table, green soap, all that shit gets wiped down and wrapped up. ...yes i am working out of an apartment but not everyone learned in the shop when they began....i walked into the shop like any person shopping for a tattoo would....i was just checking out the spot and getting a feel for one of local spots....nothing wrong with that just like any collector would...maybe i am shopping around for work that i find interesting....i told her i am soaking it all up...tonight i just soaked up something that didn't fit...just thought it was weird response to say i won't tattoo you if you are trying to learn something...shit keep your secrets...i'll will find my own....tattoo me blindfolded i will still learn something...i am not expecting any welcome mat or any applause for my courageness to be a hack...i do good work that i am proud of and my clients are happy with....is all the work fantastic no but its way early and its a long road...namaste

There are too many contridictions for me to cover them all but I will get to one or two.

First you said that yoy are walking in the shop like anyone shopping for a tattoo but most people don't go in and say I can't wait to learn something from you.

Second you said you don't expect that people are going to be welcoming to a scratcher but you then get hurt over a response as such.

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Why don't you try being upfront about what you want?

Instead of going in, telling whoever that you're just shopping around, then laying it on them that you're scratching, just walk in and say "hey, I've been trying to teach myself to tattoo, and it isn't making it. Is there any chance I could work-in any capacity-here?" People dig honesty, and IDK, I get totally the ass when someone tries to piss in my ear and tell me it's raining.

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here's my take:

i'm not a tattooer. with that said, i've got the utmost respect for the craft. if i ever had aspirations to become a tattooer, i'd do everything in my power to go about it the right way, and in an honest way. i'm not trying to be a dick, but you've gotta put yourselves in their shoes for a second. you're going into their shop trying to learn something from them, almost trying to take the easy way in learning things. if i were a tattooer, i'd treat you the same way. to them, who the hell are you? you're some dude, walking in, attempting to take their hard earned secrets and knowledge without any of the work. the same could be said of any craft. you're trying to leech knowledge off of them. even if you're doing everything sterile out of your home, you're still not doing things the right way. you need to keep that in mind. scratching is scratching. anyway that you cut it, it's still scratching.

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When a shop is looking for a tattooer usually there is some fine print about no scratchers no wannabe apprentices , must have 5 years experience. So maybe that is why your story about tattooing a strippers rib with a kit you bought from the mall with no supervision as your first tattoo didn't win them over.

Reading your posts you come off like a guy who is really trying to be cool and justify the path as a kitchen magician that you have chosen and gain some sort of acceptance in the tattoo world. But the more you talk the less people think of you, my only advice would be to talk less, listen more.

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I'm not a tattoo artist (and don't aspire to be one), but I've done enough reading to understand that there is an accepted way to become one and there is little love for those that don't follow the traditional path. I do not understand these types of threads started by scratchers who think they are going to get some sympathy or empathy on a forum like this.

Sorry bud, but you know the right way to become a tattoo artist, don't expect people here to support short-cuts.

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It is true a lot of people did start out tattooing out of there house. Keep in mind that the stuff in the tattoo artist interviews happened a long time ago. It's was a lot different when there was only a handful of shops even in major cities.

There are a lot more tattoo shops and people tattooing out there. Most tattooers think there are too many people tattooing and i have heard dozens openly advertise that there are not apprenticing people for tattooing because of this. I don't think it's anything personal, it's just a conscious effort in self preservation.

Even when they hire shop help it is with the understanding that it's a dead end job and will not result in you learning to tattoo, so even scrubbing toilets isn't going to work anymore.

when a shop is hiring a tattooer, it's not an open casting for a tattoo apprentice, they are putting the ad out there to get people in other established shops thinking about if they want to relocate or in some cases looking for tattooers who have been working hard at a shop for a few years to step up their game and be good enough to work at a better shop. Trying to talk your way into a job is a lost cause. I am not saying it's impossible to become a tattooer, but it sure isn't going to be handed to anyone who walks in the door on a random wednesday.

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@David Flores gave the best advice anyone could give about anything in life really. Talk less, listen more. I was going to post earlier and say that but I didn't really want to make enough effort to post a reply. Largely due to exercising that exact motto. The sooner that any and all people start to become less self involved and stop thinking that anything they do is important, then the sooner we all start to benefit. I'd also say look up the word humble or humility and then meditate on that until it is the starting point of all of your thoughts.
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But this isn't work of a scratcher......i am not expecting any welcome mat or any applause for my courageness to be a hack...i do good work that i am proud of and my clients are happy with....is all the work fantastic no but its way early and its a long road...

Good luck with all that. It doesn't take any courage to be a hack, just the lack of understanding of what is going to happen when one of your "clients" ISN'T happy about some of you work that isn't "fantastic".

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I am perplexed by you Brian wermwood. did you want sympathy from this post?

after you first realized that being a scratcher meant no love, why would you even think that going into a shop as a random dude not laying a dollar on the table, and spilling your scratcher beans out was gonna work for you?

you actually told them your stealing their hard earned food from their table and then go on to say you want to suck up some info from them..

and you thought it would go down any other way?

you kinda got off easy!

my mentor/shop owner literally refers to me as his bulldog, as its one of my shop duty's to physically remove scratchers/solicters/douchebags from the floor.

and i take it personal with scratchers cause im here busting my ass all week for peanuts with a wife and 2 kids and some dudes out there trying to take easy street and by pass the hard work to clock dollar.. basicly your crossing dudes picket line

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no one is taking money out y'all's pocket stop that nonsense...there will be plenty of coverup work for everyone in the future...don't care for any sympathy...just thought it was odd customer service...each is own...thank you all for the best wishes...good luck to you all...namaste

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no one is taking money out y'all's pocket stop that nonsense...there will be plenty of coverup work for everyone in the future...

Because it's well known that all the good artists tattoo people with the hopes that their piece will get covered up later on.

"Not the work of a scratcher", you say? I beg to differ.

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no one is taking money out y'all's pocket stop that nonsense...there will be plenty of coverup work for everyone in the future...don't care for any sympathy...just thought it was odd customer service...each is own...thank you all for the best wishes...good luck to you all...namaste

If you didn't spend money you weren't a customer.

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