With all the online tattoo education and training like YouTube tutorials, webinars, online courses, tattoo time-lapse videos and the vast, vast ocean of products that can be easily purchased online and delivered to your doorstep… Why would anyone submit themselves to 2-5 years of unpaid work?
Tattoo Apprenticeships don’t grow on trees
What if your only chance of an apprenticeship is under an artist that barely deserves the title? What if there is no artist that would take you in as an apprentice?
Well, you might as well do it on your own, right?
The internet has indeed made everything easier to learn and easier to get, but there is no equivalent video or forum to being in a tattoo shop day in and day out, soaking it in live action.
It’s opening the shop – which is a meditation on its own, waking your creative self up, chat over morning coffee trying to warm up your hand and eye muscles to start drawing.
During the day, you see the artists deal with walk-in clients and their unexpected and unstudied requests, you see them dealing with custom designs, trying to connect to the client’s vision and still be true to their art, you see them dealing with pricing, time, frustration, satisfaction and pride of a well done tattoo but you most of all see them dealing with their ego, which is perhaps the most crucial skill to succeed in this industry.
If your ego is bigger than you, you’ll never be open to learn. So put your ego aside, because being the tattoo shop’s “bitch”, believe it or not, is a privilege; it’s the chance you get to put your foot in the industry’s door, explore and eavesdrop.
What if I can’t get an apprenticeship?
Then offer yourself as a receptionist, cleaner, errand boy/girl or whatever.
The point is hanging out in the shop and getting the hang of it.
Now I’ll let you in on a little secret: sometimes, you learn how NOT to do stuff. Be it interaction with clients, shop routine, attitude or technical/artistic issues. You get to learn from other people’s mistakes and that’s priceless.
If you’re already under an apprenticeship, please share your story in the comments; I’d love to know how you’re doing – ego aside! Subscribe here for more 🙂
Love & Ink,