One of the steps toward becoming a licensed tattoo artist is a learning/hazing process known as being a "shop apprentice".

One man wants to set up a traditional, "College Style" school that does away with this process. I asked a couple of friends who are tattoo artists what they think of keeping vs. doing away with apprentices.

Sergio "Sketch" Alarcon of Aspired Vision Studio said:

Becoming a tattoo artist isn't just given, you have to earn it. Having to take a class to become one isn't going to teach you how to approach a client about a tattoo or to even educate them about after care, how to stroke your machine in the right direction to get smooth shading or even to get clean line. You learn these things in person, the old TRADITIONAL WAY, standing behind your mentors back and just watch him tattoo and asking questions why do you do things this way etc. yes being an apprentice does mean you have to take care of their schedule, clean tattoo instruments, toilets, moping etc, but all that breaks a habit and teaches you how to become clean and sanitary and responsible in scheduling and appointment. Personally it's just a way for them to make easy money for an industry that should should be taught not sold.

Matt Xero of Pumpin' Ink Tattoo said:

Ok, so my take on this is kinda split. I'm psyched that someone is doing their best to properly train apprentices but there is a certain humbleness that comes with the enduring process of in shop hazing and bitch work. You have to clean up everybody's mess because you need to grasp the necessary cleanliness. You need to deal with cleaning tubes for the entire shop so the when you go to tattoo you are keen to spotting incorrectly cleaned tubes for your own use. These things can only be taught and engraved on the soul via repetitive action. Personally our shop apprentices are told they're probably not going to make it AND we are ok with that because if they last ... if they deal with the multitude of shit we dish out ...  then, and ONLY THEN, are they entitled to learn this skill that enables them to take their art across the world and no matter where they land they are never far from like minded individuals willing to pay for your services.

Jose Aguirre, of Notorious Tattoo, said:

No he's wrong. Shit some shops don't even charge for apprenticeships so if I'm teaching u its gone be tough love n if they don't got tough skin and the work ethic to do as you're told and learn, in the end they can't make a career out of it. Shit I'm doing it and I'm grateful. Lil divas nowadays want shit handed to them.

Whether you're an artist, apprentice or just an "ink enthusiast", what do you think about this?


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