LadyGabe

"So you wanna be a Tattoo Artist?"

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I read this earlier today and loved it! It highlights the reality to wannabe apprentices compared to the Kat Von D ideal of living like a rockstar.

Can't see that it has been shared already... hope this isn't a duplicate thread!

I am looking to gain an apprenticeship at present, and I know how difficult it is to get someone interested in my work! It isn't easy but would be worth it!

If you are thinking about getting into the industry, give this a read and a lot of thought!

Those of you already experienced and in the industry, it would be awesome if you'd like to add your thoughts along this subject too.

Click out the link / or continue reading below...

Brandon Collins: “So you wanna be a tattoo artist?” | TAM Blog

"With the invention of tattoo “reality” shows, the average un-tattooed or mildly tattooed person is led to believe that tattoo artists are superheroes: they can draw an entire back piece in 15 minutes, go out to the clubs all night and still come to work on time, able to tattoo whatever you want, wherever you want it.

That sounds awfully appealing to some kids–but it couldn’t be any further from the truth. Anyone who has spent time in a tattoo shop knows that most tattooers are your average hardworking dads and moms with mortgages, car payments and phone bills,not prima donna rockstars that get VIP everywhere and drive Lamborghini’s. Those TV shows make a mockery of our profession and because of them, our trade has been diluted by half-ass, mediocre tattooers. Not only have these hacks not paid their dues, but they pump out crappy $20 tattoos that the average joes doesn’t even realize are shit.

Before deciding you want to be a tattooer, think about this: Say my appointment for the day doesn’t show up, so that $400 I needed to pay rent and put food on my table will just have to wait. If YOU go to work and no one shows up, YOU still get paid and so you can afford to sit home home and watch “TATTOO SCHOOL” and say to your stoned roommate “bro, I can totally do that shit!”. You get breaks and paid holidays, insurance and an guaranteed paycheck every week. We don’t. We work 50-60 hours a week tattooing, drawing and painting with no medical benefits and no retirement funds.

Don’t listen to your family. That skull with the lightning bolts and a joint in its mouth you drew in the 8th grade ISN’T amazing. Your parents, close family members and friends are always going to tell you that you are a natural artist. Their biased encouragement will only give you the false confidence to go into a tattoo shop and get your feelings hurt. Tattooing isn’t a hobby or something just to pass the time. It is a profession and a sole mean of income, so if you think we will welcome you and your “tat guns” into our trade with open arms, you are sorely mistaken. Apprenticeships are meant to be hard–to weed out the undeserving. If you are lucky enough to get one (and I do mean lucky) you will be taught a skill that can carry you for the rest of your life and you are forever indebted to the person who taught you. There are those dip-shits that don’t have the balls to go into a tattoo shop and try to get an apprenticeship – or they did and were tossed out, just order some “guns” online and “do tats” out of their house. Not only is this completely disgusting, unsanitary and unethical, but also illegal. Don’t even think about doing that. Those fucktards can do some real and irreversible damage to someone not to mention potentially spread disease.

Most tattoo artists don’t make a lot of money. Tattooers get paid by the hour but that money isn’t dumped right into our pockets. We have to give a percentage to the shop and pay for supplies and what-not. In reality we only get a fraction of what we charge for your tattoo. So when you tell me, “Dannnng $100?… Thats a lot, you must be rich!” and I want to run a steel spike through your head, you will understand why. As I mentioned before, if an appointment doesn’t show up or you don’t have anything scheduled, you don’t get paid. Imagine going to your job at Home Depot or where ever and working a full day without pay.

So next time you have the urge to be like Kat Von D or whatever rockstar tattooer is the flavor of the week… remember this: Countless hours of work for minimal pay and no benefits is the life that we have chosen and will defend with extreme prejudice. Do yourself a favor: keep your day job, and leave our profession alone."

Written by Brandon Collins

Brandon owns and works at Nightmare Studios in Reno, NV.

Welcome to Nightmare Studios

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Thank you for sending this my way!

I have been reading through from the beginning and I feel like such an arrogant tool after reading it...

With trying to get into the industry for sometime I thought I knew my shit. That I knew the best ways to approach for an apprenticeship, get peoples attention etc... but after spending the last hour pouring over that thread and finding other threads like it I am discovering so much I didn't know or had not even contemplated.

I am realising more and more how important it is for me to work on the relationships I have already within the industry. And not to just know what commitment is expected of me as a potential apprentice, but the huge commitment an artist makes in becoming your mentor. I don't know why, but I must have been too silly or over excited to properly contemplate that before. It is not just about my commitment and what I can offer but what it means as a big responsibility on them and their time.

Wake up call duly received! :)

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While I agree on a lot of the points the article brought up, the overall tone of assuming that every 'wannabe' tattoist wants to live the rockstar live and kids themselves about their drawing skills is harsh. Besides, in my opinion, those types of people wont be searching around the internet for what is required of the job. Articles like this, while with good intentions about bringing potential apprentices down to earth could actually be driving the more serious people away because of some articles generalizing that everyone is not worth it and to stay out of their way.

Not trying to offend anyone and I do greatly respect the business and the hard work that goes with it, but this is just my thoughts.

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While I agree on a lot of the points the article brought up, the overall tone of assuming that every 'wannabe' tattoist wants to live the rockstar live and kids themselves about their drawing skills is harsh. Besides, in my opinion, those types of people wont be searching around the internet for what is required of the job. Articles like this, while with good intentions about bringing potential apprentices down to earth could actually be driving the more serious people away because of some articles generalizing that everyone is not worth it and to stay out of their way.

Not trying to offend anyone and I do greatly respect the business and the hard work that goes with it, but this is just my thoughts.

I think you make a very good point. I enjoyed the article, and think it has a lot to offer, to seperate the serious from the "rockstar" wannabes, but then I do understand it can deter people from going out there and trying to be taken seriously as well. My biggest hestitation in approaching studios with my work is knowing how often they have people come in with a small half arsed sketch of a skull and expect to be taken seriously. They give you a look before I even get past "I have a portfolio" that makes me feel embarrassed! :) But I do get a lot of great feedback as yet nobody has felt ready to take me personally on and be my mentor. Someone will one day! Just have to be the right fit....

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@LadyGabe

Don't walk in and ask for an apprenticeship........ask them to look at your art work and see if they can give you advice! Ask if they have a night where they get together and draw and if so if you can come draw with them so you can get better.......ask them if they need some help cleaning up around the shop or if you can maybe hang out when you have free time!

These are just suggestions.....

It is my personal opinion that a person should be offered and apprenticeship......not really need to ask for it!

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I know exactly what you mean and don't worry I never go in with that expectation! :)

I have only approached for artists to check out my work and to offer advice etc... I have done painting with a friend who is an artist and have others who have offered some time to look over my portfolio. Not silly expectations but thanks for the advice about asking about drawing with them in the evenings, appreciate it :)

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