Blog By M. Mitera
The body modification industry is not an easy business to break in to. While the industry is a lot more welcoming to new people than it used to be, it’s not just a matter of walking in to a shop and being offered a job as a piercer or tattoo artist. Becoming a member of this industry requires dedication, time, and the desire to exceed, as well as thick skin. It isn’t something that will happen overnight. States that require licenses usually require a year of training with a licensed professional with no less than 1500 hours apprenticed. There are some states that don’t require an actual license but still require that you go through the year or more of training.
Having a proper apprenticeship is key to a good career. An apprenticeship is usually an organic relationship that grows from occasional client to regular client to friend to apprentice. Typically, you don’t just apply for the spot. Your potential mentor should recognize your desire to join the industry and if they feel that they are comfortable with having an apprentice, they will ask you if you would like to learn under their watch. It’s important to not pressure someone to take you on. If their heart isn’t in it, then you will not get the full apprenticeship that is necessary to be a great artist.
Be careful of anyone who asks you to pay them for an apprenticeship. While some mentors will charge a fee or a percentage of what you make, there are some people who will ask for large sums of money upfront and that is something to be careful of. Another red flag is a shop that has multiple apprentices at any given time. These “apprentice factories” don’t typically teach the aspects of the job thoroughly and instead want as many people working in the shop white paying them as little money as possible. There are people out there who view apprentices as free labor and that should never be the case.
Being a body piercer or tattoo artist is a serious job. You are putting people at risk and it’s your responsibility to know what you’re doing. An apprenticeship is a foundation. You can’t build anything without the foundation so this time is crucial to the future of your work. Always ask questions and pay attention. Take criticism and use it to improve yourself and try your hardest not to get discouraged if things go differently than you planned. As of right now, none of the artists at Spider-Bite Body Piercing or Tattoo Angus are accepting apprentices but you can always call us and ask questions if you’re curious. We will be happy to try to help the best we can!