by John Bradley of
Captain Jack's Tattoo
Everything you wanted to know about apprenticeships but were afraid to ask.
First let me say that even though this tech tip is off the beaten path, due to an outstanding amount of email, I feel that something had to be written about apprenticeships. So here goes
Find someone who you feel comfortable with. Someone who has enough time in the business that knows the technical aspect of tattooing. Someone who knows the difference between a fence post and a binding post. Someone who is respected in the industry. Someone who is going to start you off from the ground up, learn about machines, to make needles, make inks, customer relationship. Someone who has a clean shop and clean work habits. > CROSS-CONTAMINATION ( http://www.bodyartweb.com/tip3.html ) Because the habits you learn from the beginning will reflect in YOUR tattooing habits. Most of all someone who will treat you and his customers with respect. Now if you could just find someone like that
there out theyre somewhere. Now you have to ask yourself
why should this person share everything they know about tattooing with me? What do I have to offer that person? Ask yourself
What am I willing to offer? Well first
how about a lot of time in his or her chair? Letting them do some serious work on you. By doing this you are letting them now that you are totally dedicated to the art of tattooing. While you are in the chair
talk to him or her and let them know you are interested
let them know what you have to offer him
or the tattoo industry. Go to shows and conventions and meet some of the other artist. Visit there shops and see how things are run in other shops
this way you get the feel of what goes on in other shops.
Dont let the blind lead the blind
make sure that the tattooist is a good tattooist and knows the technical aspects of the business. He or she could be the best artist that you have ever seen, but if they dont know to technically place the ink under the skin properly and if it fades in a year or two
then you will not make it in the business very long. Check out his shop. Is it dirty? Is it run like a business or is it just a hang out for the local kids? Check out these things because if you are going to apprentice there then you are going to have to spend a lot of your time there and this is probable where your first job as a tattooist will be. Make it worth your time and effort.
If the first thing that comes out of their mouth is dollars and cents and sign on the dotted line
then RUN, and dont look back! REMEMBER, the art of tattooing is taught not bought it has to come from someone who takes you under their wing because they believe that you will one day add something to this business that may be lacking and that you will add something positive that you will bring tattooing to a new positive acceptance and most of all you will represent the tattoo industry and give it the image and respect that it deserves. Dont be used
dont let someone lead you on by telling you that they will teach you how to tattoo but every time you go to the shop they either have no time, arent in the mood or just want to keep you around just to do odd jobs they dont feel like doing-cleaning, making stencils, picking up there lunch etc
Now like I said
it is very hard to find someone who fits this criteria of what to look for in someone to apprentice under, but if you want it bad enough, then you will go get it. Also, you dont have to apprentice under just one tattooist, you can (work) apprentice under a few different shops. This way you get a good foundation.
Check out my article in Tattoo Revue, that can give you a little more insite about the world of apprenticeships. > http://www.bodyartweb.com/jbart.html I myself have never taken on an apprentice. Though I have helped out many young tattooist. Fortunately I have a 13-year-old son who has gone all out in learning the business
he comes to work with me on the weekends during school time and all week during the summer. He answers the phone, keeps the shop clean, answers the customers questions, sets up for me, mixes inks and makes needles, and draws a bit for the customers, etc. This is the way to go, from the bottom up. Last year he built his first tattoo machine from spare parts and practices on grapefruits in his spare time. Every old time tattooist that I know whose sons have grown up in this business have all done it this way, from the bottom up and everyone of them have made it in this business and have made a big impact in this industry. Remember, learn the business from the bottom up and dont give up your full time job.
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by John Bradley of Captain Jack's Tattoo
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