Friday, July 8, 2011

It's been a while but I need to vent about "Tattoo School"

Jason and I have had a busy year and I've just not had time to sit down and write anything. I felt compelled to do so today after reading about a documentary airing on TLC next week called "Tattoo School".

From what I can gather, if you put up 5k of money you can learn how to tattoo in just two short weeks. You will learn all the basics and get to skip the part where you toil away in tattoo shops for years cleaning toilets and never getting to touch a tattoo machine. They even offer free housing for those two weeks, what a deal. Sounds great, right?

This is not great at all. This is just another step in making a mockery of a profession so many of my friends and of course my other half call their career and their passion. Learning a life long trade should not be a two week course, end of story. If you want to be an Accountant you don't take a two week course and after those two weeks you are magically an Accountant. You spend years in college learning about Accounting and/or toiling away at entry level jobs until you reach the point in your career where you are respected at your desired position.

I see nothing wrong with someone who wants to tattoo starting at the bottom and working their way up. Many of my friends served a one or two year apprenticeship where they started with sweeping and mopping the floors and ended with becoming a licensed tattoo artist. Yes many of them even payed money to learn how to tattoo. They paid it because they considered it the same as paying for a college education. Even those that didn't serve a "formal" apprenticeship spent those same years struggling to break in to the tattoo world. They've spent years dedicating their life to learning how to tattoo and now one idiotic documentary is going to make it seem as if it should only take two weeks to learn how to tattoo.

I'm sure some who read this will think who cares about a documentary on a tattoo school. You would care if you've watched your spouse, loved one or friend spend years of their life learning to perfect their craft. I've watched them struggle, sweat, doubt themselves, build up confidence in themselves, work hard, draw every day, paint every day, tattoo every day, and basically give their life over to tattooing. I've done this for over 16 years now and will continue to watch from the sidelines as they continue to learn, as learning how to tattoo is a lifetime endeavor and not a two week course.

As an end note, Jason and Hobo's Tattoo does not accept apprenticeships. Jason will be teaching his nephew sometime in the future how to tattoo but that will be end of any apprenticeships through Hobo's under Jason's management. His only real apprentice to date has been Tony who we are happy to say has been with us since the day he started mopping the shop floors about six years ago and is now a thriving tattoo artist working in the same booth he used to clean for other artists.

Thanks for reading,


  1. Well said Thanks so much!. When I am ready for an apprentice I plan to only ever have one, and a tattoo school will get them NO closer to being that one.
    Betty B