I was released from prison a couple months ago after a 12 year bid. I spent 10 of those years running tattoos with a single needle. I did everything from line art to full portraits. I was obviously using a homemade machine and a single needle. The guy who taught me was a pretty renowned tattoo artist that got caught up in some bad stuff, and ended up with a life sentence. He taught me everything from circle shading, whip shading, grey washes, etc. I’m very confident with lines as well. By the time I was released, I had at least 1,000 tattoos under my belt. The only problem is that I don’t have squat for a portfolio. I can’t show off any of my work since most of them are still locked up, or lost touch after their release. I have been looking for a job, but in today’s market, it’s not really easy for an ex-con to get hired when there’s 100 other people applying for the same job. So a friend told me I should start doing tattoos. He said he would buy the tattoo machine and all the gear to get me started. He has seen my work, and said I would do great on the streets.
Would I still have to apprentice under someone? There are quite a few differences from prison equipment vs. street equipment — for one, on the streets you don’t have to make your ink from burning lard and creating soot. Should I apprentice? The problem with that is I can’t afford to be out of a paying job. I need to start making money as soon as possible so I can stay in my place, and eat. I really wish I had at least one piece to show off, but I don’t. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I made one dumb decision when I was a kid that put me away for 12 years, and I want to make an honest living. I am never going back to prison.
Thanks in advance for any advice!
Yes. Tattooing is a form of surgery. You need to know all the proper techniques so you don’t cause bodily harm.
I say yes too,the the tattoo world has changed a lot in 10 years,and it’s a hell of a lot different out in the world than it is on the mainline.
I say yes too,the tattoo world has changed a lot,learn the business.
I appreciate the feedback, and did further research into apprenticeships. This may come across a little rash, but I think it’s a complete bullshit maneuver by tattoo artists to get someone into their shop to basically do shit work for free. If I’m there to learn the business, then I would snap if they told me to go get them lunch or clean out the bathrooms. If I’m not getting paid, I’m not doing the plebe work of some 17 year old that doesn’t know a damn thing about the craft. And I sure as hell ain’t paying someone to be their apprentice. If you are an artist and want to teach your craft, you can do it in a method that doesn’t demean the apprentice. This isn’t the Karate Kid where he had to wax cars and paint fences to master karate moves. Getting lunch or scrubbing toilets isn’t going to teach me a damn thing about how to do proper tattoos or how to run a tattoo business. It will only teach me how to be an arrogant prick who treats everyone below them like shit. I’m trying to become a tattoo artist, not join a military academy. I’m too old, and not in the mood to go through a bullshit hazing period.
I know that sounds rash, and I’m not trying to be a dick. But I’m 41 and have been tattooing for 10 years. Some sites even say in order to become a professional, you MUST go through an apprenticeship. That’s complete horseshit. Sorry, I just don’t buy into that line of bullshit thinking. And I could care less if I’m accepted into the “tattoo artist community”. I’m here for myself and my future clients, not to earn goody points with people I don’t know or care about. I might not win a popularity contest, but I could care less. The tattoo world couldn’t have changed that much. At the end of the day, the ink goes into the skin the exact same way. I would maybe go to a shop for a couple weeks and run some simple flash art under supervision, but spending a year or more as a slave…no thanks.
well ok,I know this sounds rash,but,why the fuck did you even come here and ask ? you seem like you already had your mind made up.
so you open a scratcher shop,do some mainline style tattoos for 6 months and have a piercer and then it’s just another fly by night closing like we all see all the time.
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