The television channel TLC is about to start showing a programme called Tattoo School, following a group of people with aspirations to become tattooists as they go through a two week course. For $4800, and 80 hours of ‘lessons’, these people are then sent away with a brand new tattoo machine to continue their lives as tattooists.
Here at Skunx we think this is not just irresponsible but also an insult to all of the artists who learnt their trade by apprenticing with a licensed expert. The artist who has set up the schools is not someone we’ve ever heard of.
Becoming a tattooist is not something that can be taught in two weeks. It's not simply about knowing the mechanics of how to tattoo, it's about creating the best possible tattoo and experience for the person involved. Knowing how to prevent infection, cross contamination and other potential risks is one of the most important things that a tattooist needs to learn.
Aside from these health concerns, we also think the show raises questions about the ethics of sending people out to potentially scar others after mere weeks of training. This programme is giving the impression that learning to tattoo is a short process which can be undertaken by anyone. It isn’t.
We are regulated and licensed by the local authority, who we pay to regularly inspect the premises and our equipment to ensure the highest possible standards. Working in this profession is not something that should be undertaken lightly. The thought of people thinking that they are fully qualified to tattoo after two weeks horrifies all of us here.
The industry is fighting back and we would implore you to sign this petition calling for the show to be pulled from the air http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/tattooschool/
Nick, Steve, Kerry, Darren and Hannah
Skunx Tattoo, London