TrixieFaux

Plainskins say the darndest things...

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At a recent convention, it DID look like at least 75% of the artists were having fun. I mean, you are artists, you have the talent and you have found a medium that you can make a living with. Beats driving a taxi, doesn't it? I was blessed with an OCD engineer brain. I can fix any particle accelerator, but I can't draw a round circle. Of course, the cyclotrons don't squirm and throw tantrums (often).

It's more that it's a disrespectful and ignorant statement, due to how hard we all do work. A hobby is a passing interest... Playing guitar is a hobby I really enjoy. Just because you're having fun, doesn't mean you're not working extremely hard.

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Honestly, I saw it as a compliment that you have found something that you are not only good at, but appear to be enjoying. Some seem to try to find something wrong about everything they hear. Some try to find something good in everything they hear.

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Honestly, I saw it as a compliment that you have found something that you are not only good at, but appear to be enjoying. Some seem to try to find something wrong about everything they hear. Some try to find something good in everything they hear.

And some people don't really know how to articulate their compliments and phrase what they want to say well. This was a case of that.

"Man, it's cool you guys found something you're passionate about."

"Man, it's rad how much fun you have at work."

"Man, this doesn't even seem like a career, just a hobby."

One of those doesn't fit the other two in terms of how it sounds. Also, if you think I'm looking for something wrong in what people say to me, or have a negative disposition, then you don't know anything about me. My signature and my username sum me up pretty well.

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"Hobby" is the touchy word here. A hobby is something you're doing on the side, that's not as important as the primary stuff you do in life to survive - work, eat, provide, etc. Hobbies embody the luxury of time one has available for other less vital pursuits.

It would be great if we all had jobs that we love, doing things we love, maybe even as much as we love our hobbies. But saying a career SEEMS like a hobby can be interpreted as demeaning a career.

Sometimes it all come down to how a single word is used. And I don't think the original comment was meant to demean the careers of tattoo artists (even tho it kinda does). Quite possibly it was a statement of wishful envy, that someone has a career that seems so fun.

YMMV.

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I knew what he meant, and I passed it off jokingly. I made it clear what tattooing is to myself, my coworkers, and those who take it seriously. As I said, some people don't know how to phrase what they mean, and I helped him learn, hopefully.

Also, whenever I hear someone say "Do something you love, and you'll never work a day in your life" it strikes me as infinitely uninformed... I love drawing, painting, and tattooing, but it's very hard work. Who knew that all those nights with two hours sleep drawing the same thing 20 times in a row didn't count as work? And it implies that you're supposed to hate your job (and, of course, usually do it to a subpar level because you don't care about it), which is a poor mindset to have as a standard bearer.

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Tattooing is so easy! I get similar comments every once in a while about bar tending. "It's like you guys get to party every night! Must be awesome. You must be wasted every night!"

Oh man.

As a bookstore worker I hear "you must sit around and read" at least once a week. It is a nice job, but...nope. Seems like a lot of these envious comments are directed towards people who essentially work manual or retail jobs.

Re: loving your work, that's only ever made it harder, in my experience. The expectations you set for yourself tend to be higher.

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Oh man.

As a bookstore worker I hear "you must sit around and read" at least once a week. It is a nice job, but...nope. Seems like a lot of these envious comments are directed towards people who essentially work manual or retail jobs.

Re: loving your work, that's only ever made it harder, in my experience. The expectations you set for yourself tend to be higher.

I worked once in a bookstore and while I liked that job, it was pretty much entirely shelving books and answering really dumb questions from customers. I don't even remember how many times somebody asked me to help them find a book when all they could remember about it was MAYBE the colour of the book's cover.

I brew beer for a living now and pretty much everybody in the world thinks that I have the greatest job ever, because apparently grown-ass adults think that brewers sit at the bar and drink beer all day. Which isn't what I do. I think I've had a proper sit-down, take the time I'm legally entitled to lunch break maybe two or three times in the seven years I've been a brewer, because I don't have time for breaks in a regular workday. If I may go on a tangent here, I think you're right that there's a lot of envy here and a misperception that there's something, I don't know how to express this, maybe more "soulful" about working with one's hands. That book "Shop Class as Soul Craft" that came out a few years ago and was fairly popular despite being overall pretty terrible was a big purveyor of this kind of bullshit. I think also Richard Florida and the whole bullshit notion of a "creative class" and the idea that we're all involved in some kind of creative enterprise (you know, like working in a big box retail store, and just make sure that this so-called creativity has an economically useful function) hasn't helped with the idea that artisans have these wonderful jobs. Work is work, it's a means to an end.

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Also, whenever I hear someone say "Do something you love, and you'll never work a day in your life" it strikes me as infinitely uninformed... I love drawing, painting, and tattooing, but it's very hard work. Who knew that all those nights with two hours sleep drawing the same thing 20 times in a row didn't count as work? And it implies that you're supposed to hate your job (and, of course, usually do it to a subpar level because you don't care about it), which is a poor mindset to have as a standard bearer.

I wholeheartedly agree with this. I think it's a common misconception for people with office jobs or regular 9-to-5's who get to leave their work at work at the end of the day. I used to think things like that when I was younger and just getting into the workforce, had office jobs, etc. Then a few yers ago I got laid off, and I started selling the art that had been a hobby, and I was surprisingly able to make a living at it.

Now I know better than to think or say that it seems like a hobby because it's fun. This used to be a hobby, but that was when I didn't have to rely on it to support myself and a couple of kids. I love my work, and it is fun, but it's also WORK. I do it from home, with at least one kid home most of the time because I make enough to pay the bills and buy food, but not enough to pay for daycare or rent a studio. More often than not I can't work during the day because I'm busy with the kid, so up late working on a new piece, or, like this month, several because there's an art show coming up and I have to have enough to stock a booth for an entire weekend.

Yeah, it's fun, and I wouldn't trade it for anything even as exhausting as it can be, but man, is it hard work!

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If I may go on a tangent here, I think you're right that there's a lot of envy here and a misperception that there's something, I don't know how to express this, maybe more "soulful" about working with one's hands. That book "Shop Class as Soul Craft" that came out a few years ago and was fairly popular despite being overall pretty terrible was a big purveyor of this kind of bullshit. I think also Richard Florida and the whole bullshit notion of a "creative class" and the idea that we're all involved in some kind of creative enterprise (you know, like working in a big box retail store, and just make sure that this so-called creativity has an economically useful function) hasn't helped with the idea that artisans have these wonderful jobs. Work is work, it's a means to an end.

I think maybe some of this comes from how disconnected a lot of jobs are from what they ultimately wind up producing. (I feel like I saw a stand-up comedian go on a tangent about this recently but can't remember who it was. Patton Oswalt, maybe? Anyway, I'm about to rip off that person's ideas.) So if the only way you make anything immediate and with your hands in the average day is via your hobby, then maybe it's easier to assume that artisans or craftspeople=glorified hobbyists. But of course this doesn't apply to folks making stuff in an industrial setting overseas. Nobody assumes that their manual labor is more "soulful" than our desk jobs.

I never read that book but am disappointed to hear that it's terrible, if only for the reason that I loved shop class and find tinkering satisfying in a non-work context and would be interested in reading a good book on that subject.

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I never read that book but am disappointed to hear that it's terrible, if only for the reason that I loved shop class and find tinkering satisfying in a non-work context and would be interested in reading a good book on that subject.

The book really isn't about that at all. Basically, the guy who wrote it got a PhD in philosophy, ended up working at a think tank, really disliked doing that because he felt that his work there, instead of involving actual thought and reason, was just him giving an intellectual cover for policies already decided upon by oil companies and the like, so he quit that and started up a motorcycle repair shop where he only worked on old bikes. He got a lot of guff from family and friends about this because he was "supposed" to have a job like the one at the think tank with his kind of background and education, so the book is basically a justification as to how he didn't waste the money mommy and daddy paid for his education and that manual work involves a lot more skill and intellect than people who have no first hand experience of manual work understand. There are a lot of really superficial treatments of philosophy in there, naive understandings of economics, but I think what really bothered me about it is that he doesn't really understand work. Like I'm sure having a motorcycle shop where you get to only work on fun projects is great, but that isn't the reality of work, nor can it be the reality of work. He's talking about a glorified hobby. I just googled the author and it looks like he works in a university currently, so I guess my suspicions that he's a hobbyist are pretty much correct.

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@polliwog, try Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. 1970's classic and just a very involving read. In terms of modern philosophical musings on work I read Alain de Botton's The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work the other week and would highly recommend it.

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I think it's also worth noting that the "labour of love" thing is also often used as a cover to underpay/overwork people, i.e. if you are doing it because it makes your soul sing or whatever, then that is reward enough. Loving what you do does not mean you don't deserve to be properly compensated for it! You get a lot of that shit in academia too.

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I have occasionally had bookstore employees ask me what the cover looked like if I couldn't remember the title or author of the book I was after. But if the title or author escaped me, I could nearly always tell them the genre at least, so there was something of a starting point.

I haven't worked in a bookstore, but I can imagine how frustrating it is to hear things like that all day.

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The book really isn't about that at all. Basically, the guy who wrote it got a PhD in philosophy, ended up working at a think tank, really disliked doing that because he felt that his work there, instead of involving actual thought and reason, was just him giving an intellectual cover for policies already decided upon by oil companies and the like, so he quit that and started up a motorcycle repair shop where he only worked on old bikes. He got a lot of guff from family and friends about this because he was "supposed" to have a job like the one at the think tank with his kind of background and education, so the book is basically a justification as to how he didn't waste the money mommy and daddy paid for his education and that manual work involves a lot more skill and intellect than people who have no first hand experience of manual work understand.

That's a shame. I'd say there was some pretty deceptive marketing of that book.

Re: what @Pugilist said, only the other week I was talking to a potter who was bemoaning how many people try to talk down prices, as if he surely can't be serious about trying to make a living off his work.

I sort of enjoy the stupid questions these days. If I can find a book with very little information, the customer's usually pretty impressed and grateful. Hero of the bookstore! (When in reality people buy the same few hundred books over and over, plus whatever is new and popular, and it's easy to become familiar with them after eight years...) I'm mostly just happy that the store's doing well and that I have this job, and that I can maybe one-up Google or Amazon. Keep the stupid questions coming! (Though it's always exciting when someone brings in not just a name or a title, but an ISBN.)

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I get asked about my blackout all the damn time.

"But why would you want to just get the colour black? I mean, did you just run out of ideas?"

"Are you just trying to look dirty?"

My favorite one: "But what happens when you get old? You're just going to have a black leg."

The second I tell them that you can tattoo over it, that spawns a whole new era and stupid questions. Don't even get me started on my ears....

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Most people probably don't know you can tattoo over solid black. I didn't, until just now when I read your post, and I'm almost willing to bet that I'm not the only person on this site who didn't know that before you said it.

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...I can't believe this thread has been dormant for 6 months.

Last night we went to a wedding. I wore a little black dress with thin straps so the top third of my backpiece showed. I had my hair up. Overall, I got positive reviews or no comments - it was very cool.

However, "Jackass" (as he was come to be called), came up to me at the bar. Picture 60 y/o paunch, light pink button-down, partially untucked - all the guys were all still wearing suit jackets. Partially in the bottle. So he is chatting me up and then sees my tattoo.

Him: Wow, I just saw your art. It seems like the entire back is a "new thing." The first time I saw one was when we took our son to a dude ranch in Texas and a girl had one. It was quite alluring.

Me: ::eesh::

Him: So this was probably more than one session?

Me: Yes, it was two. (Actually, it was 20).

Him: So, how is your Hepatitis C? Is it under control?

Me: Excuse me?

Him: You know, your Hep C. And your Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B?

Me (deadpanned): Everything is under control.

Him: You know, I ask, because you had more than one session, so there was more than one needle. So you have to keep it under control.

Me, (skeeved out and walking away): It's fine.

So I tell my friends, and we all get weirded out. Shudders. So anyway, later in the night, I want to go back to the bar and get a drink for me and the Hubs. But Jackass is there talking with another guy I don't know. But I go up anyway and talk straight to the bartender and order.

Him to buddy: There are a lot of women in those same little black dresses. They must all shop at the same store.

Me: ::Stars straight ahead::

Him (announcing into the air): Well, I guess no one heard that.

Me (walking away with my drinks): I'm sorry, it must be my Hepatitis C showing.

Him: Excuse me?

Me: IT MUST BE MY HEP C SHOWING.

Him (huffed up and offended): I was just being concerned.

?!? Super shudders. Eeeeesh. One of my girlfriends said I should have rubbed my arm over his and "gotten my Hep C all over him." But I was too skeeved out to even consider touching him.

I hate people who play these little word power games. I have to come up with a few more standard answers to assholes. Happily, I did get the chance to smack him back down.

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@SeeSea sounds like you handled yourself pretty well there - ignore fools like this

i do this thing where i pretend people like that are just furniture - background

anyway i find that reactions to tattoos tell me an enormous amount about a person

unfortunately it aint always positive

meh

be psyched about your upcoming tatt :)

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