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31285 Temecula Parkway Suite 170
Temecula CA 92592

The school of tattoo

Tattoo artists usually go through an apprenticeship, which takes up to 2 years where they are taught the basics of tattooing. They have to be the shop lackey for at least 1 year of that. I got to clean the shop where I learned, I got to do all of the jobs that nobody else wanted to do. I washed people’s vehicles, babysat children and did any number of odd jobs that had nothing to do with tattooing. I also got to do all of the thankless jobs that were associated with tattooing. It was a lot of work with not much, if any, praise. I was notified immediately when I did something wrong though. I didn’t get paid, but owed money for the apprenticeship and had to work that off when the apprenticeship was over. The shop where I learned made it hard and I am so thankful, looking back on it. In this business only the strong survive especially if you are female. The tools I was given then have helped me so much in my life as it is now. If you asked me then I would have claimed I was being used and abused.

If you are thinking about this as a career, let me tell you that there are easier ways to make much more money. You are going to have to pay your dues, even if you are a girl or guy screwing your way into the business. The rest of the artists at the shop will resent you and treat you like shit. You may luck out and be handed the job. I don t take on apprentices, because I don’t need another kid, along with all of the emotional headaches that come with that territory. I am not willing to listen to someone bitch about how I’m treating him poorly I would be giving them their career. People today just aren’t into working as hard as I would need them to, for no money just the knowledge. So I don’t bother with apprentices, but good luck finding someone who will. It’s a pretty fun lifestyle.

I have seen a few tattoo schools. They are mostly a joke when you really look into what goes into learning to tattoo. It is the equivalent to the 3 day permanent cosmetics seminars. It takes most of the 2 year standard apprenticeship to really learn how to tattoo, to learn all of the ins and outs of the business. I’ve been working in the industry for 30 years and STILL I don’t know everything.

Most tattoo shops will not consider training at a tattoo “school” as sufficient education to work in their shops. A couple of thousand dollars and 2 weeks vs. a couple thousand more and 2 years is no contest! You get what you pay for.