In the early days when people used to represent themselves through symbols, marks and various scars, they started carving their body either with stones and other sharp materials. It sooner became a source of inspiration for others as people started adopting those habits from the ancient age. The method of carving or puncturing the skin, and placing ink pigment inside it, is called tattoo from the ancient Polynesian word tatau. The most ancient human found to this day with tattoos on his body dates back to 5300 BC.
Tattoos today are considered to be one of the finest forms of artwork since the last 10-20 years as people have adopted new ways to make tattoos. Before it was only possible to achieve very basic and simple tattoos, since there weren’t many needle configurations available or colors.
Today, with the evolution of tattooing, there are far too many options in colors, needles and machines, which have since the last 20 years given the possibility for much more intricate and detailed tattoos to be created. Since then, many artists of other forms (e.g. fine artists, painters, sculptors, graphic designers and so on) have moved their talents and knowledge into the tattoo industry, helping the art of tattooing progress to the high level of artistry we see it stand today.
With this change, we have also seen a rapid rise in the trend of getting tattoos. For others it is just a means of decorating their bodies with artwork, the same as one would hang a beautiful painting in their house. For others, a tattoo tells one's story to the world through a visual representation of an essential minute, individual, or memory from their life.
The tattooist and the customer experience the piece's formation at the same time, and the individual getting inked trusts a piece of his body and the story he wants portrayed, to the craftsman who will be responsible for creating a beautiful and permanent tattoo.
Through social media platforms and networks like Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram and also many tv shows which made tattooing much more available and acceptable, many tattoo artists and tattoo enthusiasts are connected today. But on the downside, from this big social media explosion, too many people and especially kids and teenagers, see tattooing today as something far too easy to do and a quick way to make a buck or two. They think they can just go buy an eBay tattoo machine and start tattooing their friends. Many of them do so, without any proper education or any knowledge whatsoever about hygiene, and the risks involved or dangers of getting or making tattoos without health and safety regulations (some of which can include getting hepatitis, blood diseases or other serious infections). These so called “tattooists” are not capable of drawing a simple design or a single straight line but they have “learnt” the art of tattooing. And we have also seen many real tattooists starting to offer courses lasting only a few weeks!, offering certificates of completion and promising to make the students the next Cat Von D or Ami James of tattooing!
People need to understand that there is no quick way in getting good and being professional at this craft. Same as with any other craft or profession. If it takes 3 years to be a beautician and pull off peoples hairs and treat their skins, think how much time it would really need to know not only how to draw properly, but to know how skin anatomy works, how to apply properly a tattoo and how different skins work, not to mention the fact you are doing an invasive procedure on peoples bodies which should be performed in a clean environment with proper knowledge of hygiene as you would expect in any dentist or small surgical theater.
So you really have two honest choices. You either put the hours in, working free for few years for a good tattooist in exchange for him to teach you his craft, or you need to be expected to pay a lot of money, in attending classes, courses, and on top of that having to buy your own equipment, machines and setting up a professional studio from top to bottom. It would probably cost you the same as going to study at any private institution for couple of years only to learn to tattoo. And it should. If it doesn’t, you are probably doing it wrong and will end up harming other people in the process. Paying 200 or 500 or even 1000 euro for a tattoo course and expecting to be experienced enough to start tattooing is ridiculous. This is how much a good tattoo artist could expect to get paid by doing 3-4 tattoos, so why would he /she really offer you to give you all his/her knowledge for so cheap?? And not to say that there aren’t also a lot of others charging way more than that, without still offering any really value to your money, without offering good information, proper education and training, and again you end up not knowing how to tattoo properly and safely.
Health, hygiene, safety and proper hygienic procedures need to be followed in order to guarantee a safe and hygienic workplace for the client getting tattooed. That is why tattooing in homes, bedrooms, garages and so on is dangerous and also illegal in many cases. Tattoo studios have standards like separate rooms for each artist and client during the procedure of tattooing, sterile single use equipment, gloves, etc.
For the tattoo artist who is really professional and devoted to their craft, there is nothing really easy about it. It takes time, effort, hard work, and a real passion for what you do and the artwork you create. After all, you are marking someone else’s body for a lifetime, and you only get one shot at it. Plus you need to do it safely.
People should always select and choose a professional tattoo studio, where all health and safety regulations are followed and met, which will guarantee not only a safe tattoo but a high quality one also. For this, you need to be prepared to pay a lot more that the 10 - 20 or 50 euro your friend of a friend, cousin, niece, buddy or neighbor charges for and does in his bedroom. Professional and high quality tattoos cost, because they are the result of countless hours spent by the artist in learning his craft, in mastering his skills, hours spent in designing, drawing, painting, costs of high quality materials and equipment used while tattooing and also the knowledge to provide this experience in a safe and hygienic environment.
And if you are really interested and going around looking to learn and get into the industry of tattooing, wishing to become a tattooer or tattoo artist, make a good search before you decide where you will go learn and who you will trust to give your money. Look at their own work, their studios, the standards they keep, search the internet for more information about how to go about learning to tattoo THE RIGHT WAY. If you find something and it looks too easy or too cheap to be true, it is probably because it isn’t true. And if you find something or somewhere that it looks difficult and hard, and will require a lot of your effort, patience and hard work, that is the place you should be. After all, there isn’t anything free in this life, and you really shouldn’t expect that you can really learn to tattoo in a few days or weeks, when to the professionals, it took them years.
Author: Christos Tziortzis
(Tattoo artist & owner at Chris Cosmos Tattoo Studio)
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