Thursday, March 15, 2012

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

This was about the 5th tattoo I ever did.

Definition of APPRENTICE

1
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.