Like I totally want to be a Tattoo Artist
I am approached pretty regularly by people looking for an apprenticeship and/or wanting to tattoo. We are on TV now and all, so I understand the lure of what looks to be (and indeed can be) a really fun job.
Now usually what happens is that they will call or stop in and want to know how they can make this happen.
Normally I tell them that they really need to come in with some art work for me to look at.
If they do indeed show up with artwork I will start with a series of questions designed for me to get to know them better. From there based on the answers to these questions I will usually give them an assignment. Sometimes it is to go home and draw a set of flash. Sometimes it is as basic as “go figure out why you would like to do this and what you have to offer and come back and tell me about it”.
I never see 99% of them again.
So what I am figuring is that they want me to give them a career and a lifetime of knowledge for absolutely nothing in return. Some of them actually are under the impression that I should pay them during their apprenticeship period.
If you are interested in apprenticing under me and would like to come talk to me… here are some of the questions that you can expect to hear and what I would be expecting from you:
- Why do you want to tattoo?
- Why do you want me to apprentice you?
- Do you have tattoos?
- Who have you been tattooed by?
- What kind of art background do you have?
- Do you have a portfolio put together geared towards tattooing? Is that portfolio professionally presented? Or is it a bunch of notepaper and school projects stuck in a folder?
- What do you have to offer me or my studio in return?
- How would you be an asset to the industry?
- What steps have you taken to educate yourself? Art classes? Medical classes? Magazine subscriptions? Online research?
- Do you have a job or situation which will support you during your apprenticeship? Can you handle working and apprenticing at the same time?
- Have you done any flash sheets? Are you selling them?
- Have you been to any Tattoo Conventions?
- Are you willing to commit to working out of my shop for 2-5 years after your apprenticeship is completed?
I would expect that you would have good answers to all of these questions – that you would not be appalled that I could ask you something that ‘stupid‘. And above and beyond all of that – that you NOT have been trying it out, tattooing your buddies or have already purchased your first ‘gun’ off of e-bay.
Beyond that if I ask you to go home and draw flash I expect that you actually follow through with it. Why would I invest a year (or more) into teaching you my trade if you can’t draw some flash up?!?