3 Tips to get into a Tattoo Shop
Do you wanna be a tattoo artist? Well, in this video I’m gonna share with you three tips that are gonna help you get your foot in that door, that shop that could potentially be where you become a tattoo apprentice.
My name is Ben Shaw. I’m a 22 year tattoo artist, and over the past two decades I’ve seen. Fail at trying to get into the industry because they haven’t applied these techniques. It actually took me four years of messing up and making plenty mistakes before I got my apprenticeship. And in this video I’m gonna share with you what actually has worked.
So my first attempt to getting an apprenticeship was on my 16th birthday. I was getting a arm band in this smoke filled tattoo parlor by a big old bearded biker named Cilo and had my arm laying over his belly as he, his head cocked to the side and his eyes squinting from the cigarette smoke. He didn’t want to burn and he was going to town on my arm.
Oh, CILO. Would you teach me how to tattoo, sir? Hell no. Kid. Too hard. Don’t even. Have you heard that before? I’m sure you have. That’s why you’re probably watching this video. Probably been told that in a nicer way and sometimes in a more aggressive way, but I kept getting told that over and over and over again.
This was back in the nineties too, so I didn’t have eBay or Craigslist or Facebook to buy equipment. The only way you could get in is if you knew somebody and I knew nobody. I ended up having to enlist in the military. I didn’t have a good job or a college scholarship, which was depressing. And honestly, if I stayed there any longer, I knew I was gonna go crazy because I wasn’t chasing my passion.
I wasn’t chasing my dreams and I was not being challenged. You felt that way? I was even being told beyond the tattoo artist know. I mean, I had some support in my family, but I had friends that were kind of poo-pooing on my dream, but I get it. It was scary. It was terrifying. Right. I’m pretty sure you’re pretty nervous getting into the industry.
You’re gonna be permanently marking people’s skin. Not to mention, it’s a lot of hard work, dedication, a lot of time, not your free time, not much video came time after you become a tattoo artist. Not to fully mention the aspect. There’s never any guaranteed money, but tell you what, I went all in and I’m so glad I did because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here today.
So what did I do? What are the three tips been?
Tip number one? Well, I got tattooed just like with cilo. I got tattooed and was told no, and I got tattooed like 4, 5, 6 other times was told no, go get tattooed. You’re gonna have to put some reps in. But that’s the best way to spend hours of time with an artist.
You may build a good relationship. You may even build a friendship, and that is something huge for us. As a mentor. We wanna make sure that the people we’re taking in, well, we can hang around them for a little bit of time to teach them.
Tip number two, hang out at a shop. I used to hang out in the front lobby and just draw on a sketchbook.
I would chat with the clients or how about the artist? I mean, event shows there long enough to where I saw a need for the trash to go out. I took the trash out. They needed to sweep the floor. I grabbed the broom. I was even there long enough and paid enough attention listening to the counter person that I could answer the phone and and help with that as well. I started to invest in the studio with time and energy before they ever decided to invest in me.
And then the third tip. Now this is the tip that I didn’t use, but I’ve seen it work on my last. Three apprentices apply for a counter position. This is the foundational jumps. These is where you learn the foundations of tattooing, really ins and outs of a tattoo.
Shop out functions on a daily basis. All the sterilization processes and cross contamination prevention. Definitely keep an eye out for that counter position, and that’s a good litmus test to see if it’s well even really for you or not. If I had not applied those techniques, like I said, I wouldn’t be here today giving you that message.
If you do not apply these techniques, you’re probably gonna still be well where you’re at looking for videos on how to get an apprenticeship, you gotta build that relationship. You have to apply these techniques. Eventually, in 2000 I started tattooing in Southern California, and I guarantee you, if I didn’t apply those things well I wouldn’t be here giving you this awesome information.
So I’m gonna. If you wanna be a tattoo artist, be patient and go get tattooed. Spend some time in the chair, get to know the artists. Start to inquire about what it takes. Get into the industry or into their studio. Hang out if you can draw in the lobby or find out if your shop, or if the shop has any sort of events or, uh, paint night or something.
See if you can’t participate, help out. And finally, keeping out for those counter position jobs because of. Gold. Well, hopefully this information was helpful and you liked it. Go ahead and hit that subscribe button, ring that bell, that way you’re aware when I make some more content to help you get into the industry.
Oh, please leave some comments below. Let me know if this information help, and if you have any more questions, definitely try to help you as much as I can. All right. Go out. Good luck.