Victor

Myth of the professional Tattooer

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A myth is a widely held but false belief or idea.

The Tattoo scene is so backwards, right now it is like the wild west where anything goes. On one hand, the right of personal freedom and self-direction demands that anyone should be able to tattoo if they want to, but it really it should be the on par with a hobby painter who practices painting to gain skill, then when their work is of sufficient quality, they put on a few shows and take on professional commissions if their work is worth it. If they are good enough, they can paint full time to support themselves professionally. Anyone can buy paintbrushes and paint supplies. Just owning paint brushes does not make someone a professional painter, that leap in reasoning is unreasonable. A professional painter is someone who has technical skill within that medium and artistic vision sufficient to produce art, even still there art is only in demand if they produce something worth having.

Also anyone should be able to play music if they want to, but it should be the on par with a hobby musician who practices to gain skill, then when their work is of sufficient quality, they put on a few shows and maybe record a songs and if they are good enough they get signed in a record deal and can be considered a professional musician, again only if their work is worth it. If they are good enough, they can play music full time to support themselves professionally. Anyone can buy a guitar and play music. Just owning a guitar does not make someone a professional musician, that leap in reasoning is again unreasonable. A professional musician is someone who has technical skill within that medium and artistic vision sufficient to produce original music or skillfully replay someone else’s music, even still there music is only in demand if they produce something worth listening to.

Unfortunately the myth of the professional Tattooer has taken hold and we are all suffering for it. Tattoo equipment does not make a professional. What makes a professional Tattooer is the combination of three things: (1) thorough trade specific medical and hygiene understanding for everyone’s safety; (2) Technical proficiency in use of Tattoo equipment and application techniques; (3) visual arts background to comprehend reproduction or creation of visual art projects. Without all three of the above, it is a recipe for permanent disaster.

Really great Tattooers become proficient in all three qualities and then push the boundaries of each, producing safer, longer lasting great art for their clients.

No two artists are the same, each has a unique combination of taste and experience that potentially allow for a creative rendition of even familiar subjects which may wonderfully unique or masterfully refined and precise. Each Tattooer should be measured by their accomplishments, held responsible for their actions and praised only when deserving.

The cure to bad tattooing is twofold, an educated public making conscious choices and educated Tattooers who strive for perfection and mastery of tattoo art and application.

Supporting Tattooers who deserve your support makes more of them, alternatively supporting bad Tattooers makes more of them too, so think twice about who you commission for your next art project, the consequences affect us all. Each time you support an artist who deserves it, there is one more good tattoo in the world, which helps to reshape society’s collective view on the Tattoo Scene for the good of us all. The black eye on the reputation of tattoo was created by a bunch of seedy characters and can be slowly erased by the decisions each of us make and who we support for applications of Tattoos.

Here in Nova Scotia Canada the tattoo Scene is quite a circus, I made a similar post on our local Nova Scotia Tattoo Forum:

http://home.novascotiatattooforum.ca/index.php/topic,749.0.html

...but have had no response as of yet.

What say you World Tattoo Scene?

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Supporting Tattooers who deserve your support makes more of them, alternatively supporting bad Tattooers makes more of them too, so think twice about who you commission for your next art project, the consequences affect us all. Each time you support an artist who deserves it, there is one more good tattoo in the world, which helps to reshape society’s collective view on the Tattoo Scene for the good of us all. The black eye on the reputation of tattoo was created by a bunch of seedy characters and can be slowly erased by the decisions each of us make and who we support for applications of Tattoos.

I think it's a given that regulars here are aficionados of good tattooing. So you're preaching to the choir, here on LST at least. If you've read around you probably noticed the calibre of work people are getting.

I don't really have a view on whether tattooing is a profession or a craft, I'll leave that one to the tattooers.

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I think it's a given that regulars here are aficionados of good tattooing. So you're preaching to the choir, here on LST at least. If you've read around you probably noticed the calibre of work people are getting.

Preaching to the choir means I am in good company.

Sometimes stating the obvious is good to generate a dialogue on the subject, which may not be obvious to some.

I though I would post my thoughts and get feed back, which I am, thank you everyone.

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Ditto to what the others said.

And to address the idea of more public education (including some of what was posted in your intro thread), from my perspective as a non-tattooer, I don't necessarily think it's a good idea. "You get the tattoo you deserve" is something thrown around quite a bit around here. Tattoos aren't for everyone, and in this day and age when there are plenty of resources out there (this website, instagram, etc), and plenty of good/GREAT tattooers, if you're stupid/ignorant enough to believe whatever mr. tattooed guy on whatever dumb TV show tells you, or if you can't be bothered to do a little digging, find the good stuff, that's your fault.

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It's been my understanding that the general public has no interest in educating themselves on the subject of tattooing. Most just want to know where they can get the cheapest tattoo closest to where they live. The people I work with know I have tattoos and they constantly ask me, "where's the best place to get tattoos in town? You've got them so you must know." I tell them, they ask how much, I tell them to ask the artist and that's where they stop because it's too much work or they say "well they're probably over priced," and at that point I just roll my eyes. To echo the others, yeah this is preaching to the choir because the people on here all express an interest in tattoos beyond just getting them. I may sound like a pessimist, but I believe that most will never bother to ever educate themselves about tattoos, their history, the culture surrounding them, or search for the amazing artists all around the world. It's all about convenience. And to be honest, I'd rather it be that way.

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There should be much stricter laws on tattoo shops although this would also drive the shit work and scratchers underground in which case the authorities have an even harder time to at least enforce the health and safety standards as above board on tattooing.

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It's kind of a catch 22 with tattooing, because with painting and playing music, if you mess up you can start over and there are no permanent mistakes. But when it comes to tattooing, the only way to get good at it is to do it. The philosophy of many here would be to never go to an amateur or inexperienced artist, yet there is no way to become a professional without experience, and the only way to get experience is to tattoo. You see what I'm saying? This really sounds like a bit of a rant to me. Everybody starts somewhere. Unless you have a natural ability, your first few tattoos are not going to be perfect. But you have to get experience somehow.

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It's kind of a catch 22 with tattooing, ....Everybody starts somewhere. .... But you have to get experience somehow.

Yes that would be practicing on your friends, as a hobby until you get good, not opening up a Store front claiming to be a "Professional Tattoo Shop".

(2) To peterpoose, strickter laws do not stop bad artists, doing crappy dirty tattoos. Hence the need for an educated public regulating the Tattoo Scene by each decision they make.

As for everyone else...

Assumption is a problem with the modern tattoo scene which is inundated by TV and media propaganda created to push tattoo products and artificial hype, to generate more consumers.

Saying that People deserve the tattoo they get used in a negative connotation, is a generalization fraught with logical issues,: such as “that guy got a bad tattoo - he should have known better, so he deserves what he gets”, when the reality may be that the person by chance/randomly walk into a location where a bad artist happens to be - assumption is the problem.

On the other hand, does someone deserve to get a good tattoo when they by chance/randomly walk into a location where a true artist happens to be and end up receiving a good quality tattoo - using the same assumption as the above paragraph?

Thinking of this another way, do people deserve to be defrauded of their money or valuables, merely because they trusted someone. When people are taken advantage of, it is the fault of the person seeking to gain from that relationship, motivated to lie, cheat and steal, from the victim. I do not think a victim is at completely at fault, for being robbed, it is the robber who has the motivation and responsibility of taking from the intended victims. It is human nature to trust others and hope for the best, that is how confidence men operate, using human nature against the victim.

On the other hand this is an open market where the rule of the day is “buyer beware”, unfortunately people do not realize it, as a consequence of media propaganda.

So when innocent victim Joe Blow walking into ACME PRO TATTOO SHOP and ask for something nice and walks out with a horror show tattoo, that looks awful, as in sketchily done, bad placement, wrong size for the body area, and on and on and on... The problem there, is bad Tattooers who are preying on the innocent assuming public.

The cure for that, is to educate the public, so they are not so easily mislead. Dispelling the myth of the Professional Tattooer, may jog people’s consciousness out of the blind consumer mentality and realise that it is a “buyer beware” experience.

Free-will is a bitch, we are responsible for the choices we make, but at least we can make educated choices.

Someone who researches artist, and their work, then seeks out the best artist for their particular art project, ie. the right tool for the job, deserves a good tattoo, but that does not always mean they will get it.

The person who ignorantly walks into any tattoo shop, thinking they will get something good, because they are unaware of the pitfalls and the tattoo scene at this time do not deserve a bad tattoo though they may get it.

Just because you have a good tattoo, do you deserve it?

I think everyone deserves to have a good tattoo.

When I started getting tattoos there were no forum like this, to gain understanding and insight into the Tattoo Scene, Tattoo art and Tattoo Artist, it was really the dark ages. We have an opportunity now to direct the Tattoo scene into a good place, where educated people can make educated choices.

The cure from bad tattoo applicators / Tattooers is public education, but then again there is the saying " you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink", but at least offer the water, hence this thread.

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@Victor, that's my point at least this way the government can keep some sort of tabs on the health and safety part of it, they don't give a shit whether the artist is any good or not. Stricter laws on training perhaps? Try becoming a nurse. you will see governing bodies where you must pass to become one. Try practising as a doctor or a plastic surgeon without the proper governing bodies, you end up in prison. A shit tattoo doesn't harm anyone, a shit tattoo artist hurts people and this is where I say much stricter laws are needed. As I said this would probably drive the underground culture of shitcunts even further away from Health and Safety.

Trying to educate the whole world is a tough thing to do and I will be right behind you on that but it is impossible. I am trying with my map to at least help some people who are trying to research. The tattoo world is exploding and I think researching is becoming easier and easier.

There was nothing online when I was trying to research great artists. I joined a Ukrainian forum and paid taxi drivers from this forum to try and find out Dmitriys contact details before he was as famous as now. So it takes some dedication also on the customer to get the best, sadly there will always be people who will walk in to a shop and ask for a cat paw behind their ear with a shit word underneath it and when they are told £60 minimum, they walk out mumbling under their breath "What for a fucking small tattoo like that" (I watched this happen with my own eyes in a reputable shop and while there at least 4 more girls came in asking for similar crap, one was 16 and with her mum to sign the documents to allow it:)

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@Victor, that's my point at least this way the government can keep some sort of tabs on the health and safety part of it, they don't give a shit whether the artist is any good or not. Stricter laws on training perhaps? Try becoming a nurse. you will see governing bodies where you must pass to become one. Try practising as a doctor or a plastic surgeon without the proper governing bodies, you end up in prison. A shit tattoo doesn't harm anyone, a shit tattoo artist hurts people and this is where I say much stricter laws are needed. As I said this would probably drive the underground culture of shitcunts even further away from Health and Safety.

Trying to educate the whole world is a tough thing to do and I will be right behind you on that but it is impossible. I am trying with my map to at least help some people who are trying to research. The tattoo world is exploding and I think researching is becoming easier and easier.

There was nothing online when I was trying to research great artists. I joined a Ukrainian forum and paid taxi drivers from this forum to try and find out Dmitriys contact details before he was as famous as now. So it takes some dedication also on the customer to get the best, sadly there will always be people who will walk in to a shop and ask for a cat paw behind their ear with a shit word underneath it and when they are told £60 minimum, they walk out mumbling under their breath "What for a fucking small tattoo like that" (I watched this happen with my own eyes in a reputable shop and while there at least 4 more girls came in asking for similar crap, one was 16 and with her mum to sign the documents to allow it:)

Thank you for that.

My beef with Government regulations, is that they merely charge money for registration and fines for things that were perfectly lawful beforehand. Despite regulations, you can read about how many horror stories come out of so called regulated New York shops, it is frightening.

We have to take responsibility for ourselves and stop relying on the false hope of government security blanked for protection. Mr Frankling once said "Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither" and I agree. Take responsibility for yourself.

Besides Health regulation have nothing to do with skill in tattoo application or Artistic merit.

There is another quote which is interesting and relevant “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” When the public is educated on Tattoo basics, ie what to look for in a good Tattoo and Tattooer, you no longer need to tell someone where to get a good clean, solid, artistic tattoo, because they will be able to choose (making an educated choice) the right artist for them and their project, for the rest of their life.

Public education is the cure, not just a bandage stuck over a problem that lingers.

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Thank you for that.

My beef with Government regulations, is that they merely charge money for registration and fines for things that were perfectly lawful beforehand. Despite regulations, you can read about how many horror stories come out of so called regulated New York shops, it is frightening.

We have to take responsibility for ourselves and stop relying on the false hope of government security blanked for protection. Mr Frankling once said "Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither" and I agree. Take responsibility for yourself.

Besides Health regulation have nothing to do with skill in tattoo application or Artistic merit.

There is another quote which is interesting and relevant “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” When the public is educated on Tattoo basics, ie what to look for in a good Tattoo and Tattooer, you no longer need to tell someone where to get a good clean, solid, artistic tattoo, because they will be able to choose (making an educated choice) the right artist for them and their project, for the rest of their life.

Public education is the cure, not just a bandage stuck over a problem that lingers.

I totally agree with you mate but there is a saying here in the UK " you can't educate a cunt"

I have friends who really do not give a shit about the tattoo art itself just so long as they have a tattoo and it is as cheap as possible.

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My issue here is that while I more or less agree with the idea of educating people about tattoos so that they have the understanding to be able to look at, recognise, and get good work, I still don't want to read the OP's post. It isn't engaging, it doesn't connect with people, and I don't think it even makes a genuine attempt to connect with people. I also feel that one of the things that makes LST a really special place is that there is a tremendous amount of first-hand knowledge and experience here, at this point mostly with collectors, though if you look back far enough there used to be a lot of really great artists posting here too, and @Victor, I've seen a lot of thoughts and ideas from you so far, but you haven't said if you're an artist or a collector, you haven't told us about your tattoos or told good tattoo stories, you haven't posted pictures. Tattoo pictures are like currency here. This matters. Experience matters. It's always better to speak specifically and to direct personal experience.

As far as trying to educate people about good tattoos--and I don't mean to imply any kind of tattoo evangelism here, because when it comes down to it, people get the tattoos they get and if people are going to go to hacks and butchers, that isn't going to have any effect on the tattoos I get--I think LST's motto of GET GOOD TATTOOS is key here. In my day to day life, people I know who are interested in tattoos will talk to me because it's obvious from looking at me that I like tattoos and I get good ones, and I can direct them to good shops and artists, or offer them solid advice. I have a friend who recently started getting tattooed who wasn't especially interested in tattoos until me and my wife started getting seriously tattooed because he didn't know that tattoos could look like the ones we get. He thought they all looked like the shitty ones you typically see around. Good tattoos begets good tattoos.

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Can you please stop talking about tattoos as a "scene"?

Scene is defined by merriam-webster as:

a : sphere of activity

Scene - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary

When I speak of the Tattoo Scene I am speaking of a sphere of activity around Tattoo and Tattoo Culture, that is Tattoo collectors, advocates, Tattooers and everyone involved, as opposed to calling this thing we are part of a Tattoo Industry. Other people say Tattoo Industry which is to me a misnomer, industry is economic activity concerned with the processing of raw materials and manufacture of goods in factories.

merriam-webster defines Industry as:

: the process of making products by using machinery and factories

Industry - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary

So to me the Car Industry is assembly line workers and the companies that assemble cars on a mass scale for sale. The Car Scene is everyone who enjoy the sphere of activity around cars, from car collector, car fans, car builders, they go to Car Shows, whether it is import cars or classic cars or muscle cars… you see where I am going with this.

To me people who share a common sphere of activity around Tattoos are part of the Tattoo Scene (similar to the music scene), people who manufacture tattoo supplies are the Tattoo Industry.

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@Victor I don't see a "common sphere of activity" around tattoos. For the overwhelming majority of people who get tattoos or are planning on getting tattoos, their involvement in tattoos begins and ends with going into a shop and getting tattooed. And that is totally fine, I think there's nothing wrong with getting tattoos and not wanting to get covered or go to conventions or participate in forums like this one. When I think of a "scene" I think of people organized around a common interest, sure, but I also see a lot of boundaries and exclusion and trying to fit in, and that is going to push a lot of people away. If you want people to get better tattoos, being open and inclusive and actually listening to people is going to be far more useful.

Now let's see some tattoo pictures.

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Honestly I am a bit lazy so......maybe this was answered already but......

Who do you feel should be the one to "educate" the general public?

Also.....you can give the info to people....tell them who the best people are to go to....tell them why they shouldn't go to non-properly trained tattoo artist......AND 8 out of 10 times they will listen to what you say......AND still go to their cousin's, brother's, uncle and get tattooed in his kitchen or a shitty shop!

I think anyone who has been around tattooing for more than a couple years has been frustrated by their friends who ask but don't listen......

But most of all I am interested in who you think should be the ones educating the public?

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Honestly I am a bit lazy so......maybe this was answered already but......

Who do you feel should be the one to "educate" the general public?

Also.....you can give the info to people....tell them who the best people are to go to....tell them why they shouldn't go to non-properly trained tattoo artist......AND 8 out of 10 times they will listen to what you say......AND still go to their cousin's, brother's, uncle and get tattooed in his kitchen or a shitty shop!

I think anyone who has been around tattooing for more than a couple years has been frustrated by their friends who ask but don't listen......

But most of all I am interested in who you think should be the ones educating the public?

Yep. I think a ratio of 8 out of 10 is being a bit generous. It is a bit presumptious to say that people want good tattoos. The majority of people who walk through our door (a street shop, admittedly) just want a 'tattoo'. That's it. Good or bad, they don't know and they don't care. There is a huge number of people who don't see tattoos as art, and they don't have the same requirements as a collector, or someone who loves the art/craft of tattooing. They want their mum's date of birth, or some bird silhouettes, or their boyfriends name. They honestly do not possess that filter in their brain that can identify a good tattoo or a bad one. These people neither want nor require education. It is a bit elitist of us to assume they do.

There's too much information out there already, as I'm sure fellow tattooists will attest to, and indeed they have in various threads on here. I'm currently in the middle of a full sleeve on a customer who didn't ever want a tattoo until he started watching Miami Ink, so you can imagine the pain of dealing with him (it's a whole other story in itself). We recently had to sit through three episodes of Ink Master that a customer had on his iPad whilst being tattooed. Too much information.

Do you want a nice tattoo? Yes. Then here is some of my work, if you like it, let's get you booked in. That should be the long and short of it.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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My issue here is that while I more or less agree with the idea of educating people about tattoos so that they have the understanding to be able to look at, recognise, and get good work, I still don't want to read the OP's post. It isn't engaging, it doesn't connect with people, and I don't think it even makes a genuine attempt to connect with people. I also feel that one of the things that makes LST a really special place is that there is a tremendous amount of first-hand knowledge and experience here, at this point mostly with collectors, though if you look back far enough there used to be a lot of really great artists posting here too, and @Victor, I've seen a lot of thoughts and ideas from you so far, but you haven't said if you're an artist or a collector, you haven't told us about your tattoos or told good tattoo stories, you haven't posted pictures. Tattoo pictures are like currency here. This matters. Experience matters. It's always better to speak specifically and to direct personal experience.

As far as trying to educate people about good tattoos--and I don't mean to imply any kind of tattoo evangelism here, because when it comes down to it, people get the tattoos they get and if people are going to go to hacks and butchers, that isn't going to have any effect on the tattoos I get--I think LST's motto of GET GOOD TATTOOS is key here. In my day to day life, people I know who are interested in tattoos will talk to me because it's obvious from looking at me that I like tattoos and I get good ones, and I can direct them to good shops and artists, or offer them solid advice. I have a friend who recently started getting tattooed who wasn't especially interested in tattoos until me and my wife started getting seriously tattooed because he didn't know that tattoos could look like the ones we get. He thought they all looked like the shitty ones you typically see around. Good tattoos begets good tattoos.

I appreciate your feedback.

(1) On here I am a Tattoo Enthusiast, Collector and Critic.

(2) I think that to point out the myth of the Professional Tattooer as a simple truth, is hopefully subtly pushing people in the right direction of "GET GOOD TATTOOS". Once you learn something, you cannot un-know it.

- - - Updated - - -

Honestly I am a bit lazy so......maybe this was answered already but......

Who do you feel should be the one to "educate" the general public?

Also.....you can give the info to people....tell them who the best people are to go to....tell them why they shouldn't go to non-properly trained tattoo artist......AND 8 out of 10 times they will listen to what you say......AND still go to their cousin's, brother's, uncle and get tattooed in his kitchen or a shitty shop!

I think anyone who has been around tattooing for more than a couple years has been frustrated by their friends who ask but don't listen......

But most of all I am interested in who you think should be the ones educating the public?

I do not think a spokes-person is the answer, I think the answer is to think about some universal truths that people can easily understand, related to and adopt, so as to clear the profitable bullshit fog surrounding the Tattoo Scene.

I am advocating simple education to help people to choose the right Tattooer for them. That simple process may cure a lot of the issues I see complained about. Simple is key to solving complex issues.

Again you cannot force learning on someone who does not want it, but if they do, why not make the simple truths easy to follow. So removing some of the Myths that are predominant in Tattoo Culture is a step in the right direction.

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(1) On here I am a Tattoo Enthusiast, Collector and Critic.

I'm a little confused by this statement... Am I correct to interpret this as "I am a tattoo artist but not willing to be up front and honest about my background on this particular internet forum?" I ask because I read your posts and they are all very thorough but it is very difficult to truly appreciate your statements without some info on what shapes your perspective of these issues.

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