Why Tattoos?


My family was really kind of pissed about the idea of me “wasting” an art degree on something like tattooing. Granted, I consider myself lucky that my parents don’t think I’m wasting a college education by getting a degree in art, so I don’t take it all that personally. I think they were kind of hoping I would go into graphic design or become a film animator or something. The idea just never appealed to me. I take classes like that only when I have to. I’m so tired of dealing with what I call the “Pixar” people. The ones who think that if they do well enough in the CG classes, they’re going to go straight to work for the best animation company of all time. Because it really happens that way, doesn’t it? Personally, my philosophy is that if I’m going to sit at a desk in front of a computer all day, I might as well become an accountant or something. Yeah, it’d be cool to live in a treehouse and make a truckload of money, but the idea of sitting at a desk in an office all day gives me the heebie-jeebies regardless of what it’s for. I got into drawing because I was bored in school and would sit there with easy access to a pencil and paper. While the idea of getting paid to draw is absolutely appealing, I just couldn’t picture my stuff hanging in museums or galleries with price tags attached.

You can see my dilemma now, can’t you? I didn’t want to be a “fine” artistand the thought of computer anything makes me want to scream. So that left…well, stuff like cartooning and tattoos, basically. I would love to be as successful as that marathon-running, Tesla-driving Oatmeal guy, but you have to have something to say when you’re cartooning. My sister says I’m not smart enough to sustain something like that. She’d know, she’s the brains in the family (but here’s a secret: she can’t draw worth a damn, so she can go sit at her boring desk job the rest of her life and be smug about it for all I care). I have something to say maybe once a month, although I’ll make an effort for this blog, OK? Just don’t blame me if it is a post about nothing.

So anyway, I got a tattoo. I drew up a union soldier with a flag behind him and brought it to a local shop. You know that was coming with my name and childhood and all that. The owner/head artist, Jimmy, was manning the desk when I went in and he really liked my drawing. It took two incredibly painful sessions to get it on my arm but it’s there now. While Jimmy was doing his work, we really got to talking and I thought about how great it would be to have a job like his. I mean, I understand that it isn’t easy and that you live and die by the work you do and how many clients you see and all that but…. Art you put on the wall is boring. Tattoos are LIVING art. You are the canvas. My dad couldn’t even really be mad about the tattoo, which was too bad—I had this whole “you made me this way” speech prepared and everything, maybe I’ll post it here one day. Mom was pissed though. “Why’d you have to get it so big?” Because it was the only way to show some of the details, Ma. “You’re going to be stuck with that for-ever!” Now you’re getting it!

I’m here in art school learning techniques and styles in the hopes that I’ll be able to satisfy clients with anything they can think of. Plus my parents told me that I had to either get a job or go to college, and all the tattoo shops around here don’t pay tattoo apprentices, (in fact, I have found so far that it is mostly the opposite) so I figured I had better start my apprentice now while I’m blowing through the money Mom and Dad so graciously socked away for this exact purpose.