Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What has the Tattoo Industry Become

I often wonder this all the time. When I first started it was nothing but old Sailor Jerry tattoo designs on a wall full of flash. When going through an apprenticeship back then we would trace, trace and trace mountains of flash designs.This was an excellent exercise to train our hands to be familiar with the designs we were about to do. Then of course maybe after a year of doing various steps in the apprenticeship we would finally hit skin. Back in the late 80s and 90s tattooing was still reserved for the bikers, convicts or military. It wasn't as mainstream as it is today. Shops were few far and between back then so getting into a shop as an apprentice was an honor. Of course that was the time when the internet was in it's newborn stage.

The style was traditional back then. Some artist like "GUY" was at the forefront of the industry with his way out there color blending techniques and use of abstract stuff. But when you visited a shop back then it would be walk in the door and pick something off the wall. Now a days a real shop (Not one just started by a guy with a machine off the internet) you wont find any of the flash of days gone by. Most artist will create a custom piece for their customers. The stuff the artist do now a days have really brought tattooing into the modern times. Color is fantastic and black and grey even more alive then yesterday, women are now a majority of clients which is fantastic for the industry as a whole. We at Twilight Dreamz Tattoo are always looking to hire talented female artist.

What else has really changed in the industry is the laws that govern shops. I remember all the way up to 2002 being able to smoke a cig with a client right there in the chair as work was being done. Looking back that wasn't the best image for shops. Some of the actions or antics as I say we did back then really put the industry back many years. I also believe it's that image that fuels the scratchers to go out there thinking tattoo parties are sterile or doing someones tattoo on a couch is safe and free from disease. But as medical science has evolved so have we in the industry. The 70's brought a ban of tattooing in the state of New York because of Hepatitis outbreaks. Artist would autoclave old needles back then and had no knowledge of how disease was spread. Now in modern times we have the tools to combat diseases like that and not only keep the public safe but also the artist. Many of the greats died because of hepatitis because quiet frankly they didnt have the education. They would tattoo about anywhere and without the proper protection as simple as gloves.

I see alot of that in people who just order a machine and try to tattoo. They try and clean barrels in their starter kits with such things as bleach or just boiling water. Yes I know pretty nasty. I think the main problem with the kitchen wizards out there is all the supply houses. Back in the day supply houses would only sell to those shops they knew for a fact were legit. Now such places like Superior Tattoo Supply or Worldwide Tattoo Supply sell to everyone with a credit card without any regard to the public safety. Maybe a good idea would be for all the professional shops to boycott such supply houses. Buy from only those that confirm the shops as legit. Right now I think the industry is at the point where not at the state level but the federal level rules and regulations should be passed to regulate the industry. We do not want our industry to go back to the dark times in our history. We want it to move forward and grow. It's pretty bad that hairdressers are regulated and have to attend a min of 1,000 hours of training but tattoo artist do not have a standard to live up too. When regulation is out there and there is bite to the law with actual enforcement you will see the days of the kitchen wizards vanish. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Why not to go to the famous Tattoo Parties or Kitchen Wizards

Think about it. Would you go to some witch doctor when your sick? Or would you go to a licensed doctor? It often amazes me how little people care about their health. In Illinois Tattoo Shops are licensed by the Department of Public Health. Tattoo shops are inspected in order to comply with State Code. Staff in any licensed shop is trained in not giving you some nasty disease that can quiet literally kill you. Most know of HIV-AIDS. But that terrible disease is the least of your worries. Hepititis C is the big one in the tattoo industry. This horrible disease is passed by blood to blood contact or lack of proper sterilization. This is a virus that is so strong that it has been proven to have a shelf life of up to 17 days. Sure you read the ad on craigslist or heard from a friend just how good and sterile joe idiot is working out of the house. He's even BBP or Bloodborne certified. Well anyone can get a BBP certification off the web. But more important is if they look at the material within the course they would know what they do is against everything BBP teaches.

Tattoo Studios are as clean as most hospital ERS and for good reason. But walk into that tattoo party and see someone getting that tattoo laying on a couch, or that nice picture of beer cans or pop cans right in the procedure area. Even better right there at the kitchen table where people eat. Again would you go to a doctor set up like this? So why would you go to someone who just bought a machine off EBAY and has no training at all other then YOUTUBE? Tattooing is a serious buiness and a trade that is taught from master to student. Bacteria is everywhere. It does not matter if the ad states that they use disposable tubes. It only takes that fresh wound rubbing up against that couch or kitchen table to catch the dreaded MRSA. Another bad one that never leaves you.

Ask yourself why is it that this individual is tattooing out of their house or at a party? Why not get into a licensed shop? The number one answer is that they do not possess the talent nor do they have the drive to learn the craft. It's quick money for them and a chance to meet new friends. Why would you spend $100 on a pair of air jordans which will last at best 5 years and turn around and spend half of that on some crap tattoo that lasts the rest of your life and if lucky a disease that comes with it?

Most shops now adays have changed their pricing structure to accomadate the customer. So it's no longer true what the kitchen wizard has to say about how much cheaper they are compared to shops. You can really go out there and get a fantastic peace from a license shop rather then risk your health and even life to save a few bucks.

In closing view your artist portfolio, don't let non trained apprentices tattoo on you and most of all BUYER BEWARE. Because your next piece of art could lead you to a Hospital ER just because you wanted to spend less on a piece of art then a pair of shoes.