My friend Ben posted this earlier today about the tattoo industry and I found it too important not to repost. If you’re a tattooer, tattoo enthusiast or anyone interested or involved in the tattoo industry, you should give this a read!
"To my tattoo friends: There are reasons people think tattooing is easy, a job where you just hang out, or some other silly, shitty, soft way of life. The prime reason, I think, is the lack of uniform ethical/business standards and a very wide range of high level tattooers representing the trade in a lot of different ways. There are people out there who tattoo well who also exploit the trade’s popularity for their own business interests and others who tattoo well but are closed off, quiet and keep it mired in the traditions of yesteryear. There are many other examples of behavior which give a false impression of what it really takes to tattoo but I chose those two because its easy to point at popular examples of both.
I say this all the time, “a good tattooer, like any other tradesman, will likely make his job look easy to the untrained eye.” This, coupled with a “fun” atmosphere in which people essentially draw on people’s skin drives an impression of our trade that is anything but representative of hard-working, educated, capable, contributing members of their community.
Easy and fun are very attractive attributes of any job. And that’s the problem; a client walks into a shop, is met with what seems like a hang out or night club, not a professional business place or art studio, and then walks away with a skewed impression of our trade. Couple that with the T.V. shows and a bunch of half-ass tattooers trying to protect their livelihood by not sharing information or blatantly giving out false information forces people with the notion they can tattoo without proper guidance to go out on their own.
I hear and read big names like Aitchison, Tyrell and Barth giving out real quality information all the time… FOR FREE. and the reason is that the more people who can understand how to build a good tattoo, the more it will help everyone in tattooing by raising the aggregate quality of all tattoos. This awareness will raise the bar of quality across the board for existing tattooers and apprentices just beginning to see just how far the road is to go.
If you think there are a lot of unqualified people doing tattoos and you also claim to own a bit of the trades reputation, you need to represent the trade in such a way there is no doubt as to what it takes to do this.” - Ryan Ben Kelly