"With the recent influx of mediocre, if not straight-out, talentless hacks permeating our beloved industry as a whole as of late, the attention of us professionals has been turned onto these "scratchers", avoiding the true problem if one were to ask me. This menace is not, contrary to popular opinion, the scratchers themselves, but rather the general population of tattoo-seeking individuals, who today, despite the overwhelming advances in tattoo practices and the technological methods available to discern good from bad, simply seem to refuse to educate themselves on what used to be considered common fucking sense.
If it were not for the sheer laziness and cheap mindsets that presently dominate our American society, us professional tattooers, who by all means, dedicate our lives to this passion, to this artform, this lifestyle, then we would not have the problems which face us today. No, the true plague of the modern-day tattooer is not the swelling of the tattoo ranks, perpetrated by less-than competent artists, but rather in the increasing stupidity of the average person today, who easily dismisses what we true professionals do as ordinary and not unlike any other job one might assume in the workforce today. This is just plain ignorance and its abounding through every facet of our society today, not just the sacred force of tattooing. Your average person on the street these days seems to give little thought into anything regarding permanence; they want what they want because they've been manipulated by a structureless society, conned into believing themselves as special, and find it nearly impossible to display patience for anything. There is no doubt whatsoever that we are presently living within the context of a disposable, throw-away culture, and for the majority, this seems perfectly normal, if not the pretext for just breathing and being alive today. This will be this country's downfall, and quite possibly, contribute to tattooing's own rapid decline.
Obviously, this does not include everyone; there is a small faction of enthusiasts that do understand the importance of true art, no matter the form it takes, whether it be drawing, painting, writing, or what-have-you. These people are the saviors of all that is presently being lost and we can only hope through higher education and a resolved will, that we pros can somehow turn the tide of this dumbing-down of all that we hold dearly. The underlying problem of this also, in my opinion, is the simple fact that the average tattooee has little knowledge or respect for us or what we do; they seem to assume that what I can do, the guy down the street can do just as well, and for a better price. To anybody with half of a brain, this is a ridiculous mode of thinking. I can only parallel it with the thought that all doctors are the same, that all lawyers do the same thing, have the same knowledge and practice their chosen profession all in the same manner.
So, while I could easily continue this rant into further avenues, I will leave it at this: I believe in brutal honesty, no matter the cost. In a world full of lies and manipulations, the truth is all we have left to defend ourselves against the rapidly growing advancement of degradation I see all around us, not just in the tattoo community, but with the world in general, and most certainly in this country. This issue is just the tip of a much larger problem and will most likely never be solved until us pros all band together and take a stand against these travesties which walk into our shops/second homes on a daily basis.
I began this note due to a post from a fellow tattooer, who lightly suggested that we start charging these people over the top to fix the mistakes, that they themselves were willing participants in. We all begin with a choice after all..you can either be a wise consumer and do your research into whatever topic you're debating, or you can be a mindless drone who just wants something for as little next to nothing as possible. I myself agree with that principle, and I believe maybe thats really the root of all of our problems: that modern Americans have no principles as a whole. We have nothing which binds us in solidarity..which I think is why most of tattooers split from that sect of society and tried to live a more beautiful, spiritual life where we controlled what is important; we just could not stand the dictation by the norms any longer. And where are we today? Threatened with extinction by a bunch of radical nobody's who wouldn't even have this prestigious power had they not had willing participants to trade their skins and dignity for $40? Sadly, that's what it appears like out there on the horizon.
Obviously, tattooing is not going anywhere, but it is being threatened with the television shows and ad campaigns and clothing lines and how its being marketed to the masses that up until now were almost unaware. And ironically, though it should be more open and honest with the rise of its popularity, more informative, it is only being spoiled and degraded into just another job. This is not a job to us. It is most matter-of-factly our lives these people are fucking with. It's our food on the table, the roof over our heads, our dignity and pride, our love. It is everything to us, and I for one cannot stand to see it so unmercifully surrendered to a bunch of halfwit retards with no business being here in the first place, most certainly including the ones who allow this to happen: their "clients". If it were not for these cheap, unethical patrons, I would not be typing this and the scratcher down the street would not be making better money than me today. But, you can bet he is.
So, if we want the scratchers to stop, the tv shows to die horrible, dishonorable deaths and the public to become more aware of what great tattooing is and looks like, it has to start with us, ourselves. We should charge more to cover these messes; we should refuse to make ourselves petty and give into bad ideas. We need to fucking say no. Maybe we need to make the tattoo shop a scary place again. Then, possibly, we can get back to and resume what we all loved about this art in the first place and we wouldn't be allowing any of this nonsense to walk all over us; none of us took this hard, winding road in hopes of writing out names and pop culture phrases on the tops of silly girls' feet or pretending to be interested in peoples backstories or the implied meaning behind the tattoo..it was for the art and doing something better than anybody else could do it. It was because it was a hard thing to do and took being clever or lucky to find your way in and even more difficult to remain safe within its bosom. It was an honor to be a tattooer and not an easily accessible one at that. It required diligence, total devotion, hard work and a lot of skill. I myself can't believe I'm still around sometimes with all the talent out there today, but am proud that I am. These people I speak of, the hacks and their devotees who keep them in business have no pride. Let's at least show the latter what it looks like. That's all we can do. Tattooers united!
Hearts & Attacks,