Monday, March 26, 2012

I have some very exciting news! I am currently working on self publishing this blog into a book! It will be ready to print within the next two weeks. Once that is done, I will get back to writing new articles to start a new cycle of blogs! I have been brain storming like crazy and have a whole new catalog of topics I will be exploring. Also I have written a blog for another blog and here it is:
so exciting to have one of my articles published somewhere else for once!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

more on tattoo apprenticeship...story of my start.

This was about the 5th tattoo I ever did.

Definition of APPRENTICE

a : one bound by indenture to serve another for a prescribed period with a view to learning an art or trade b : one who is learning by practical experience under skilled workers a trade, art, or calling

I have been reminiscing about my first start in tattooing and I brought out a box of mementos I have.  I couldn't really find any old pictures of tattoos I have done or pics of the shops I worked at unfortunately but I managed a few... 

 To remember back to my old days is kinda fun and it seems like ages ago, yet not that long ago at the same time for me, but I do realize that I have been in this a long time! When I think that I have been tattooing for 13 years I always have thought that it is not that long of a time span, but then I start thinking about how I have never done anything else except for this. I only worked a "normal" job for the first 9 months of my apprenticeship and that is it. I worked at a grocery store for 6 months as a bagger and then 3 months in a cubicle as a customer service rep. I quit that job and told the supervisor it was because I am an artist and I can't be in a cubicle!

The first time I ever went into a tattoo shop was when I was either 14 or 15. I became friends with some guys that tattooed cause a friend of mine got a tattoo there. I was 17 when I got my first tattoo. At this time I was painting a lot and started hanging out there and organizing stuff. One night after getting my second tattoo on my leg, I asked the guy to teach me and he agreed. I remembered being excited. I turned 18 at this point and started my apprenticeship. It pretty much sucked. I cleaned a lot,scrubbed tubes and made needles. I got some friends to tattoo on eventually and it was just like one experiment after another. It was really frustrating and my instruction was not the best, but for what it was then, I am sure it was like other apprenticeships. It was taking me along time to get good, and so that's when I dropped my other job. I figured that it was the only was I was going to progress at all so I saved up $3000. which is a lot of money for a teenager and I just prayed and hoped that it would work out.  Even when winters were slow at the shop, I never got another job for income. I just dealt with being poor. I could not be away from the shop. All winter long for years, I would watch the guys play video games. I drew stuff  ( like tribal, that was the coolest shit back then) and cleaned, waited and prayed for someone to walk thru the door. Apparently it did work out because  twelve years later I am still doing it and  have never had to or wanted to do anything else. I can't see myself ever stopping. I have worked so hard to be where I am with this. I do get tired sometimes more recently and  I think about my future, when I am older- how my body will feel. I am hoping as I near my 50's to be doing something more gentle on my body like doing garden designing but we will see.
my station at In 2 Skin 2006

I don't blame people for wanting to learn how to tattoo  it is the coolest thing I have ever done. It is a challenge and will force you to be strong in many ways. It is a warriors job. Or a Priestess' job if you are like me.
I always tell people I got my apprenticeship by dumb luck. I fell right into. I didn't have to struggle and be turned down by several people and be called a scratcher. I didn't try to get an apprenticeship for like 8 years like my brother in tattooing, Harry. But I have worked so hard for the subsequent years. It is truly a dream job and I think it is great to recognizance the hardships but you gotta recognize the rewards that come with it. too. I fuckin' do and I thank the Goddess everyday! This job is a heavy responsibility and only the people that are truly meant to be in this field ride the waves of it.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Tattoo Apprenticeship

I got a email recently from someone who was interested in tattooing and I get that from time to time. So here it is- what I believe is the way to go about getting involved in tattooing...Reminder, I am strong minded and opinionated so you can take what you will from this.

When I receive emails from people basically asking for my input, I give it to them and then they say Ok, whatever and I never hear anything like "oh, that sounds right and I really value your opinion" It's always a let down for me when it ends that way. It's like people that no nothing about this industry just can't accept the truth I give them.

There is certain steps to getting started in tattoos or seeking a apprenticeship and yes, you do need one I don't believe in teaching yourself out of a house!

So first off you must be an artist. Right? You must be someone that loves to draw and has been doing it for many years. If you get this crazy idea that you want to become a tattoo artist for some reason, figure out why you are compelled. I always tell people that are interested in becoming a tattooer is that you must get tattooed by as many people that (you admire) can. Seek them out, look at their books, save the money and get tattooed. Do not be annoying and  pick their brains about it, but observe to yourself. I would advise you not to tell anyone you want to become a tattooer, they will most likely laugh at you.
Do not even think about buying a tattoo kit online. This is awful and should be illegal. Tattooing involves blood borne pathogens. You need to be trained in this matter with a professional on how to handle the equipment and keep yourself and others safe. I think it is so terrible that companies sell this equipment to anyone online. When I first started it was very hard to have equipment available and you had to be a professional! A lot guys back in the day had and used homemade equipment...machines, ink, etc.
So basically you have to get an apprenticeship in tattooing, ya dig so far?
In order to get one- it is very hard, but there are some guys that do apprentice people. You should have a artists portfolio- a portfolio that includes drawings that you have done, maybe some paintings, but drawings are  closer to tattooing and that is where a potential instructor could really read where you are at with your art.
The basics of tattoos start with traditional work. Study Sailor Jerry's work. He is the American Master of this and you will learn a ton from this. And they don't call him a master for nothin'! When you start with tattoos it starts with lines, so this is what you need to practice to get anywhere else. Basics first then comes techniques.
All these people that contact me don't even know who Sailor Jerry  is and don't want to practice drawing coloring book style tattoo but I believe you must!
There is so many books on tattoo history now, I would study that as well. Know who the Godfathers are. Really immerse yourself. It seems like all the people that contact me about wanting to tattoo are art students, having a degree in some kind of art form through a design school, but the thing you must realize is that tattooing is nothing like painting or printing or sculpting.
This field is a very very hard line of work. It is not all fun and games like the TV shows portray. It takes a ton of hard work and diligence... Most people are not cut out for this line of work. It is a heavy responsibility. So not for the faint heart. A lot of people that tattoo can not have families. You most likely will not have health insurance or dental coverage. You will not have a retirement plan.
This is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, but I believe I was born for it. I started very young by dumb luck and wouldn't change a thing. Yet, I think sometimes to myself if I knew then what I know now, would I even have gotten myself in this?  Hellz yes I would!