Long gone are the days of the taboo tattoo. Today’s mentality of accepting body art is a very different scene than what German immigrant Martin Hildebrandt experienced as the first professional tattoo artist in the U.S. in the 1840s.
With rising popularity, particularly over the last couple of decades, tattoo studios across the country have seen a steady increase in business. In fact, with more than 20% of American adults sporting at least one tattoo, those who wear the permanent ink adornments in order to stand out tend to go back for more and more. Naturally, as the demand for tattoos has risen, so has the demand for tattoo artists.
Tattoo trade schools offering tattoo apprenticeship programs are growing with the boom. An attractive career path for artistic individuals looking for something a bit more unique and offbeat, tattoo education offers a distinctive medium for budding artists.
So is tattoo school for you?
Tattoo trade schools focus not only on developing the artistic talent of the student, but many other aspects as well. Getting to know the market is one important step. As mainstream as tattoos have become, a tattoo artist can benefit greatly by inking a customer who has already gotten a tattoo, as the one in five adults in the U.S. that have one or more tattoos create a strong potential customer base, and that’s not even considering those with blank canvases for skin.
However, there is a lot of hard work and preparation that goes into the process to become a tattoo artist, and even with the growing demand, it can be difficult to break into the tattoo and body piercing scene as an unknown or independent artist. Experts in the body art industry tend to give out the same advice: find a good, reputable, licensed tattoo artist under whom to apprentice. A good tattoo trade school will offer solid, thorough apprenticeships that cover the whole spectrum of tattoo education, from creating tattoos, to proper needle sterilization and cleanliness, to minimizing the pain of getting a tattoo and procedures for caring for a new tattoo.
A good tattoo artist will have built a diverse portfolio, be knowledgeable in an array of tattoo styles and equipment, and have strong communication skills in order to properly communicate with customers and put them at ease.
There are many things to think about when considering a career as a tattoo artist. Perhaps the most important, though, is the impact that a tattoo artist can have. A tattoo apprentice is not just learning a technical skill. It is a talent that leaves an everlasting imprint.