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1.Tattoo schools ran by people that cannot tattoo and charge huge amounts of money to teach people what they don't know how to do within my trade, is a scam that needs to stop.
My shared opinion that reputable tattooers are not teaching the main public how to tattoo in Oregon, says a lot for the climate of who is making a living at pushing forward new fledglings into our industry. There are maybe two people I would suggest going to in this state that will teach a person, how to tattoo and all that comes with that responsibility. That's it. Two.
The system is not perfect. It never was and is long due for a new standard that eliminates the possibility of a defunct tattooer that couldn't make it tattooing from taking ten thousand dollars a pop from some naive person, just wanting a career change or looking for a life profession. Am I going to make this change by starting a school? No. I have no desire to make a living off of making more tattooers. I've had two main apprentices in my twenty six years. Who earned their apprenticeships not by paying for them. I helped flame a few other fires that I believed in, that if they could make it, would aspire to making a good change in this business for the better. And they did. If you are wanting to be a tattooer. Ask yourself, what is your reason for wanting to become a tattooer? I'm wondering what motivates everyone these days. Is it really only to make money and be famous? Yicks. Since only a couple of decades ago, we weren't regarded with much respect in society or acknowledged as being a viable trade.
2.There are tattoo pigments that are food grade and not harmful to the body. We use them daily.
The sad part of firing off answers in this type of format, is not all of a conversation is conveyed to point or made in the cut. Our filmed conversation was about the changes that came in the nineties when tattooing started getting more main stream. There was a huge surge of new companies (not ran by tattooers) popping up that were making easy to apply pigments. Bright easy to put in colors that ended up being toxic. I stayed true with my first supply company if I was not using my own pigments. At one of the shops I was working at we banned in coming artists from using a particular brand of pigment in our shop and was then threatened by the company not to slander their product after we requested a material safety data sheet. Which they refused to give us upon request.
I guess my point in bringing up something like this was how important it is for people to use the available technology to inform oneself as to whom they are getting tattooed by. If you are going to invest your money on body art, make sure you are going to someone who is qualified, educated, practices some ethics, and is trained in knowing what they are doing to you as well as what they are putting into you.
3. Fad or Art?
I've got some really beautiful work on me and I've got some really goofy tattoos on me that I got with other tattooer friends. Spontaneous tattoos to mark some silly bonding moments in some forgotten city adventures.
Do I care what I put on people...yes and no. I do practice a huge amount of responsibility as to what I am tattooing and on whom. Every person is different. Every single one of you. If a person comes in that hasn't figured out what they want to do with the rest of their life, or is in a questionable mental state and just wants to say fuck off to their parents/society by having me tattoo their face or hands. Yeah, I'm not your girl.
If you have figured out who the hell you are in this life and can live with the consequences of your actions and want to take the shock out of the closet...yeah, I may help you with that experience. All depends on who you are and how you will live it. I'm not here on this planet to help anyone compound their life with more suffering. I learned early in my career how terrible that can be.
I love tattooing and would rather make some beautiful piece on you that you can share with your future grand kids. Knowing you will not regret it later in life. Every ten years it seems the fads come back and reinvent themselves. Bastardized tribal is out now, which means it will be back in again someday not too long from now. Just like traditional americana was out for awhile and then made a huge comeback. Just like jail house single needle style tattoos were out and now are the bees knees again. I'm a walking bill board of my life career trends. You can look at my body suit and see all the fads I road in on. Today the small print text on the rib cage is hip with the kids, because they saw some rock star sporting it in a magazine.
My wish for people to make better decisions is to help them be aware of these pressures and how they make us do shit to ourselves without our completely understanding why. I can live with my goofy tattoos. I am a tattooer. Have been my entire adult life. In saying this, I would rather say no to you, than take your money.
My intention on doing this show was to share my view point as to the condition of my industry at this time and how some positive changes could occur if some facts were made public.
I wanted to caution people to make better educated decisions about getting tattooed. To share some of the things that are bothering me and some of my colleagues. I had hoped to use this format to let people know how much of a racket the tattoo schools are and how they are hurting this profession. Not just by squirting out certificates to anyone who has the money to pay for one. But also by the lack of integrity that is being practiced in exploiting this wonderful art. Like I said in the above paragraph, no one reputable is teaching here in Oregon because anyone that is reputable, other than the two that I know of, are tattooing for a living, not teaching just to get by. There is no job placement once you get your certificate. With no portfolio to work from to show your abilities. You will not get a job at a reputable shop. I have met way to many strippers with tattoo certification that can't get a job because they haven't tattooed enough people. Hence why we made the comments as to how these fledglings after not being able to acquire a job with working tattooers, go and open up their own shops. Which over saturates our market. These same people are charging the same rates that someone with experience is charging, only to practice on you. If you are an educated collector, you know the difference. Not everyone knows.
If you are a want to be tattooer, I would hope after spending thousands of dollars to have someone shuffle you through the required hours of training to be in this industry you would want to have something to show for your investment after making it. I believe the true path to preserving this trade for the future, if you want to be a tattooer, is by taking an apprenticeship with a world class tattooer. If you don't have what it takes to inspire a master tattooer to teach you what they know, then maybe you shouldn't be a tattooer. It's really not for everyone nor was it meant to be for everyone.
This trade has such a rich history that was long over looked and under appreciated by main stream for way too long because it wasn't accepted in the norm. Now that it is accepted by society for the time being. I would like to preserve what is left of it's dignity. Real deal.