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Jake Anderson

Is it offensive...

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I think our American culture has a severe lack of respect for trade professions, especially trade professions in which the educational model is based on an apprenticeship relationship. Skills like welding, carpentry, and fabrication all require an enormous amount of skill, patience, vision, and aptitude.

My mom is an educator and my dad is a Snap-On Tools franchisee. I think these careers also fit into this skilled tradesmen category. As for myself, I am a pastor, and was required to attain a four-year bachelors degree, before attending seminary. My seminary education required four years of rigorous study and practical application to attain a masters degree. In fact, in two short years of part time schooling, I could obtain a doctorate degree in pastoral leadership. I was trained in academia, but in actuality, what I do for a living is really a trade. I make this argument to other pastors who were trained in the same way as I, and many of them are offended by this notion. They see themselves as rigorously trained artists, in many ways, and reject the idea that we are "mere" tradesman. And there is an artistic piece to it, for sure. Just as there is for welders, and fabricators, and salespeople. And tattooers, I think. But I'm not sure I want to be seen as an artist. Artists are often flaky and produce only when they feel inspired or moved to do so. Tradesmen aren't afforded that liberty. Pastors are expected to produce and perform day in and day out. As are teachers, salesmen, and tattooers. I claim my profession as a trade proudly, and I think calling a tattooers merely an "artist" sells them short in a big way. What they (and I, if you'll grant me that) produce is most definitely an artform, but I think a good tattooer must be so much more than simply am artist. Am I the only one who feels this way?

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Well, all respects to you, but my personal feeling is that a SkyPilot is an intellectual, first, last, and foremost. I don't see any correlation to a craftsman there at all.

The word "artist", applied to a tattooer, has undergone a great change over the last 30 or so years. At one time, GOOD tattooers called themselves artists, more in the way of "artisans" than as in "van Gogh"-type artists, if you can 'ear me on that. That is how the word "tattooist" came into usage, and for a good long while, at least while I was coming up, that was how many tattooers described themselves. Now, tattooer denotes the craft of tattooing and all that goes into it. Big difference.

I'm a machinist, first, last, and foremost. Also a toolmaker, a gaugemaker, and a gunsmith, but firstly a machinist. Started in the trades as an apprentice when I was 13 years old, sweeping the floor and cleaning machines.

To my mind, when you say "craftsman", or "tradesman", you are talking about someone who makes things, who works with their hands. Anyone who makes their living with words, well, they're something else. Not better, not worse, but not tradesmen or craftsmen...or Women.

Now that's just me, I'm old and have pretty set ideas, so if someone wants to think of themselves as a tradesman, and they write books, or ad copy, or sermons, or whatever, hey-who am I to argue?!

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Both replies are helpful. Thank you. I'm struggling with fleshing out my thoughts on this, which is why I decided to start a thread. I definitely didn't write this to say I'm right and you're wrong. I'm looking for input to help form my ideas.

SStu, yes, thank you. That makes a lot of sense.

Dan, I am most decidedly not first, last, and foremost an intellectual. My job is first, last, and foremost relational. Intellectual studies should inform how I do what I do, but intellectual studies in and of themselves are not what I do. I found this line most helpful:

"To my mind, when you say "craftsman", or "tradesman", you are talking about someone who makes things, who works with their hands. Anyone who makes their living with words, well, they're something else. Not better, not worse, but not tradesmen or craftsmen...or Women." I'd agree with you. Like I said, I'm struggling to flesh this out. I need a different word.

But as to my question about tattooists and my reluctance to call them "artists" because of the full-breadth of meaning that the term "artist" implies; I just wish there was a way to maintain the positive connotations that accompany the title "artist" while at the same time giving a nod to the reality of them being expected to produce quality work day in and day out.

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Why is this in the General Tattoo Discussion thread?

If you consider the term "artist" to have any negative connotations, that says more about you than about Art. I smell this thread being dragged into the incredibly boring and repetitive discussion of "What is Art?" which I doubt you have the capacity to fully understand due to the rambling nature of your poorly posed questions.

If "Craft" solely applies to people who make things with their hands, why do actors refer to the craft of acting?

There is also a craft to writing. As in Journalism, Non-fiction or even fiction. These do not necessarily require the craftsperson to make something with their hands.

The term "Creative" is often used to refer to mostly inspiration-led endeavours that may be viewed as artistic by the layperson.

In actual fact it can simply refer to anyone who creates something, anything. Being creative doesn't make anyone special, or different. It's a very common human activity.

If you think there is a lack of respect for craft-based trades, you're moving in the wrong social circles.

If you think the lack of value placed on trades is offensive, you certainly live a very comfortable life.

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Why is this in the General Tattoo Discussion thread?

baffled by this also.

Artists are often flaky and produce only when they feel inspired or moved to do so.

This speaks volumes for your level of art appreciation and artists themselves.

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I don't really understand the question but I do find fault with the negative view of artists--I've always respected artists. Many of my friends are artists. My sister is an oil painter, and I would hardly call her flaky. She works hard and is a perfectionist. Does she work on her own time table? Yes, she is fortunate enough to be able to do that. Her paintings are beautiful. She is not raking in the dough but finally in her late forties is beginning to carve out a living for herself selling her artwork.

I am a teacher. I have never considered myself a tradesman. I do agree with you, I have to work day in and day out--always performing, and I don't get to set my own hours. There is also a degree of creativity and performance to what I do.

Basically, I respect anyone who works hard, whether they are an artist or not. As for who I get tattooed by--I will choose good artists who are also good tattooers...

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Most all tattoo artists I've known over the last few decades are a little out of step with the rest of the recognized work force. Mondays off... late starts... open late (which they have to be to take care of those who do work a 9-5). They tend to be a tad quirky, as most great artists through history are.

However, the great tattoo artists out there are those who open the shop religiously on time, are there for appointments, treat the customer with respect (tough to do at times...) and bang out a great tattoo each and every time.

CG

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I think it is an interesting question, but not even something that I have ever thought about. To be honest, one of the key personality traits of every tattooer I have been around is not really giving a damn about what people think of you. I don't care what people want to categorize me as. I do my own thing, if you dig it, cool, if not, kick rocks. Just my .02

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