Where to Find Them
So you’ve reached the end of your tattoo training, and you’re ready to venture into the realm of professional tattooing, maybe you’re even dreaming of becoming a world renowned tattoo artist, but first you need to find a job. You want to find a place where you can feel comfortable enough to further-hone your skills and become part of your own tattoo wolf pack.
If only it was as easy as that. There are most likely only a handful of reputable parlors in your local area and these establishments expect the best. Tattooing is about applying permanent works of art to customers in a sterile environment. So you can bet that these businesses take hiring tattooists seriously. They expect artists of great technical calibre, but also someone who abides by the health and safety regulation to ensure the welfare of customers, because all it takes is one unfortunate health incident to ruin the reputation of an established business. Not only is the art and the procedure important, but also the behavior and attitude towards customers is just as vital, to inspire repeat business and rave reviews. The modern day tattooist has to host a variety of skills to a high-calibrate. You as a tattooist need to know how to effectively display these traits if you are to stand a good chance of getting a job as a tattooist at your chosen tattoo parlor.
With all the potential parlors out there, you can define what your boundaries are, what are you willing to do to get a tattoo job? Are you willing to relocate, are you willing to learn and adopt another tattoo style to assimilate into a new parlor and adopt there theme and style in tattooing. These are questions you need to ask yourself, because if you say yes to these then you are only increasing your odds of acquiring a tattoo position, in the beginning your best option is to be adaptable. In this article, I’m going to guide you and give you an array of advantageous tips that you can use to acquire the tattooist job you want.
Need to know on landing your first tattoo Jobs
First of all you may need to ask yourself how determined are you to establish your career as a tattooist, because moving to another city should be a considerable option. Many cities vary on the amount of tattooing shops to tattoo artists, each of these ratios differ. If you are looking for your first job and you do not have as much experience perhaps as other artists looking for the same job in your area, then it is in your best interest to search for a city that has a higher ratio of tattoo shops, these shops will be more willing to hire a newbie with less experience and it could set you on track to developing yourself and gaining that much needed experience. Many tattooists start by doing exactly this and when they have gathered enough experience and knowledge, they head back to their hometowns to open their own tattooing parlours.
The ratio of tattoo shops to artists isn’t the only factor that you should take into consideration; some of the areas where you will look for available tattoo jobs may very well be areas that are highly saturated with tattoo shops. If the shops are tightly crowded together and occupy the same footfall area, this only increases business competition and may slow the amount of work you will get as a tattoo artist; ultimately leading in less experience for you annually. The competition may also force the tattoo parlors to be reliant on their reputations being perceived as flawless, and they may be reluctant to hire you, because of your lack of experience and the chances of you making a mistake is much higher.
Remember, location, doesn’t have to be a permanent thing. What is paramount is gaining that experience and improving your overall ability. Once you have achieved a certain level of professional experience you can then decide whether you want to stay with that parlour, maybe you would like to seek a parlor with a little more renown or set-up your own business. It’s all up to you!
All renowned professional tattooists are known for their ability with needle and ink, it is the first thing you think of when looking for a job, ‘how good is this establishment at producing great artistic pieces’ and you would also be right to think that this is an obviously paramount attribute for tattoo parlors when they are considering new candidates. Although, however proficient in tattooing you may be and in showcasing your great technical ability, qualifications and proof of training in reputable establishments is more important, because what it comes down to is, “are you trained in health and safety procedures” and “will you look after our customers and not produce any side-problems for our business”, this is what they are thinking internally and rightly so. Reputable experience in these procedures can put you ahead of the competition, so if you are still thinking of training and have read ahead, make your decision about where you train; the most important decision and if you doubt the place where you have trained, it isn’t too late to join a reputable tattoo school and gain more experience.
Once the formalities and the vital knowledge of where you have trained has been uncovered and that part of the dialogue with the tattooist is over, this is when your talents truly come into play; this is your chance to impress them. Showcasing your talent through a portfolio isn’t just a case of chucking every drawing or design you have ever detailed and designed into a book and saying ‘Voila’’. You need to think about how each piece represents you as a tattoo artist and how you wish to be represented. Is there a particular style you want to be known for? Or do you wish to show of your versatility? Rearrange your designs to suit you and remember to put your best designs at the front, because the tattooist may be initially busy and might only check the first initial pages and arrange another meeting for a longer interview if they like your first impressions.
Although I must admit if you have already tried to impress a tattooist with your portfolio and qualification, there may have been another quality you were being examined for without your knowledge; customer service skills. The tattooist may have been carefully examining your personality and disposition, and whether you conducted yourself in respectable manner. These are important traits, for what is primarily a customer service business. Many parlors are in tight competition with one another and when parlor talents can’t be differentiated, the customer may go on a family member or friend’s recommendation. These recommendations are based on not just the quality of the design, but the overall experience, atmosphere and behavior of the parlor and tattooist. You as a tattooist need to make your customers feel comfortable and reassure them, in what they may think is nerve-racking experience.
The Best Places for Tattoo Artists
Preferably some of the best tattoo destinations for starting your career are places like LA, London and Bangkok which are trendy city hubs that have a strong tattooing culture and are popular with the younger generation. The sheer volume of people and positive outlook on tattooing culture will see the rise of many business and a shared wealth of footfall. This means it’s easier for you to find a tattooing job. Examine the place you’re thinking of moving too and ask yourself, ‘does it have a renowned tattoo culture?’ or ‘Is the tattoo culture in this city growing?’
On the contrary, if a city has a low number of tattoo business, but you have noticed or heard of the tattoo culture starting to increase and inspire younger generations within that city than it could be a prime location to set up tattoo business after you have accumulated the tattooing experience from your tattooing job.
The Worst Cities for Artists
There are cities and areas that do not possess the same enthusiasm as the places mentioned above, and this may have something to do with cultural connotations or a generation trend, you need to research and understand the populace of the area you are thinking of going to. Because if there is no desire for tattoos in that particular area, then you are obviously going to have a hard time finding work or even getting it.
Do your research! Are the people that belong to that city widely religious, what is the overall religious stance of their views on tattoos, does the city have an aging population and so on. These may seem like trivial matters and you may think that this won’t count for everyone in the city. In which you are right, but these things do count and can make a considerable difference on your career as a tattooist. You want to give yourself the best possible start.