Tattooing Takes Another Media Hit

I’m going to allude to people, places and production companies in this post rather than outright name them because there have been far too many cowardly litigation threats surrounding tattooing in recent months, and those involved strike me as the sort who may be on the phone to solicitors within minutes of reading this.
I’d like to iterate that the following is MY PERSONAL OPINION…though I doubt I’m alone with these thoughts.I’m not going to dissect the programme because that would take all day and frankly, you should try to watch it to comprehend the reasons for my (and many others’) disdain.

Another TV show aired this week which claimed to follow the journey of a wannabe tattoo apprentice. It didn’t; it condensed the entire process (fine, it’s TV, I understand); it put the ‘star’ (guffaw) into situations she was in no way prepared for; it once again presented an untrue and predominantly negative view of tattooing (you’d think we’d be used to that by now). I’d love to have seen the brief for this show and read exactly how it was pitched and what the intended outcome was. Was there a specific demographic? Was it originally scheduled as a series? At what point did they view the finished product and think it was…good?

It wasn’t a car crash; it was far worse than that. Her attitude was appalling, her drawings awful, and there is no way that she was ready to advance to learning the technicalities of tattooing. I’ve seen many prospective apprentices’ portfolios and how talented and determined these people are: where’s the justice in this former glamour model landing an apprenticeship when so many deserving people continue their search for a mentor? I’ve really had enough of this. Tattooing is not a sideshow, nor is it a commodity to be exploited at the expense of the community’s credibility. As a representation, it was totally inadequate and in no way a true documentation of the art of tattoo.The few positives to emerge came about when she was advised to seek an apprenticeship elsewhere upon refusing to clean a studio, and a closing shot saw another tattooist saying he thought she didn’t have what it took.

The mere fact that she refused to sweep floors and clean because it would waste time that she ‘should’ be spending learning to tattoo is far more telling than she realises. In fact, I’ll address the remaining portion of my diatribe to the ‘apprentice’ herself…
Congratulations, you’ve proven that you have no respect for the lineage of this art form you so desperately want to be a part of – referring to it as a ‘scene’ made me vomit in my mouth ever so slightly, which was a shame after I’d devoured such a delicious pizza prior to viewing. I have no time for cliques or keeping people out of tattooing because I feel the door should be open to those who deserve a chance, but you really and truly have nothing to bring to the table.

Go and read about those who paved the way for your latest interest, study the work of every pioneer of every style known to man, be gracious in the questions you ask people you admire and respect, get tattooed by them whenever possible…actually, do you know what? I’m wasting my time writing this. Anyone who truly wants an apprenticeship will immerse themselves in every aspect of tattooing and already comprehend the long road they must traverse, and they’ll walk the walk if they want it bad enough. You want it on a plate and served to a specification of your choosing. Perhaps I’ll eat these words someday but without a polar shift in your outlook, you won’t ever come close to producing excellent (or even competent) tattoos. As someone far wiser than I once said, “Respect cannot be learned, purchased or acquired- it can only be earned.”

Published in: on 09/30/2010 at 10:32 am  Leave a Comment  

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