Thanks to some ISP issues this week will be a “better late than never” edition.
Thanks to the wonders of social media, my inbox and facebook wall have been slammed with links about this first story. Justifiably so, as it has the potential to affect not only the community, but also anyone interested in getting tattooed in the future. I honestly wish I was using hyperbole there, but in reality, this actually can have a big impact on the tattooing industry. I’m sure by now you know what I’m talking about, but if you haven’t heard yet, TLC is planning on airing a new series starting next week called “Tattoo School”. The show’s description reads:
Award-winning Tattoo Artist Lisa Fasulo runs a hands-on and unconventional tattoo school in upstate NY where students from all walks of life learn how to tattoo in just two weeks. These rookie students are seeking to change their lives through tattooing. With just two intense weeks under Lisa’s instruction, they will get the experience tattooing on body after body with artwork of varying levels of difficulty. Rookie students, models risking their skin to first time body artists, a rebellious instructor and unconventional training…who will bear the drama of competition and survive?
So according to them anyone can pick up a machine and learn to tattoo in 2 weeks. It also looks like they’re stepping up the “drama” to make good TV by adding some kind of competition factor. Who can last the full 2 weeks? As if 2 weeks is somehow a long time to learn to tattoo. It’s this point here that most people have a problem with. TLC’s programming has been consistently portraying the tattoo industry as a drama filled joke where legitimate artists are used as pawns in a scripted soap opera, with the work taking a back seat. On top of that this new show will give viewers the impression that anyone can learn to tattoo in a couple of weeks.
This isn’t about having to “pay your dues” or doing bitch work at a shop in order to earn your apprenticeship, this is about taking a legitimate trade/artform and misinforming people about it. Learning to tattoo takes a long time, months to years. Learning to tattoo well takes a lot longer.
Putting that aside for the moment, lets take a look at the larger ramifications of this television series and the school it is promoting. A large number of studios won’t take an artist who only has 2 weeks of experience, this means that the graduates from this program will be forced to find other ways to continue to tattoo, which inevitably will lead to tattooing out of their home. I don’t think I need to explain anything beyond that. As for the show, it will give people the idea that all it takes is a machine and a few hours of practice to know what to do. With the availability of machines on e-bay, as well as those “tattoo starter kits”, there could be an increase of the number of people who think “well if they can learn everything in 2 weeks, it must be easy”. They then go out, get a kit, and start working from home. Taking a look at the school’s website, here is what students will be receiving for their almost 5 thousand dollar tuition:
What does the tuition include?
* A professional tattoo machine.
* 80 Hours of tattoo instruction with certified, experienced, award winning, tattoo instructors.
* FREE lodging for 2 weeks.
* Dozens of willing, prescreened human models for you to learn and practice on.
* Use of all our equipment at our State of the Art tattoo training facilities.
* Informational binder with all the important contacts and sources for all things “tattoo related”.
* DVD of machine tuning produced by the TLC staff.
* Tattoo techniques textbook
* Tattoo License permit (as per county)
* Certificate of Completion upon course graduation.
* Tattoo Learning Center T-Shirt.
* Transportation to and from the student housing daily.
* DVD with digital pictures of all the tattoos you completed while at school (enough for a beginning portfolio).
*** LOTS and LOTS of nurturing and emotional support that makes us the finest tattoo school!
You’d think that if they wanted to be a responsible school, they’d include an autoclave with tuition. Reading through her blog post on hate mail, it seems that Lisa believes that people find this to be a bad idea simply because you need to “pay your dues”. While that may have been the case in the past, nowadays apprentices focus mainly on the art and technique. Sure there are a lot of people who stick to the old school methods, but that isn’t why people are opposed to this type of “school”. What she doesn’t seem to understand is that tattooing is an artform, one that takes years to master, and to convince people that it only takes 2 weeks to teach someone is doing a disservice to the students and the profession. It’s also highly irresponsible, and only serves to create more and more scratchers, giving legitimate artists a bad name. With tattooing as popular as it is now, local governments are starting to pay more attention to studios, which isn’t a bad thing as most studios welcome strict health code regulations, but when the politicians hear about artists in basements spreading diseases, then you end up with studios being forced to close down because of new zoning laws preventing studios from operating.
Of course, this has caught the attention of a number of different people. A quick google search reveals a number of studios and publications getting on board, encouraging people not to watch the program. There is a facebook event page, a boycott page, as well as an online petition (feel free to skip the donate page). A number of people have also taken to using this image as their facebook profile photo:
While not watching the program is a good start, Alie K (IAM: alouicious) had this to say with regards to the program:
Been seeing a lot of people changing their avatars to the ‘boycott tlc logo’. Hey, it’s great that you are unhappy about a network’s decision to produce a show that won’t do much except give people false hopes about being the ‘next Kat Von D’, but complaining about it won’t do much except make you look like a whiner.
Instead of having a black cloud looming over your head, do something PROACTIVE about it. Unhappy with TLC’s decision? CONTACT THEM! They have an ethics hotline where you can actually phone them and give them what for (though you may want to have something pre-written to follow so that you don’t fly off the handle and sound like an jabbering idiot – which of course, you are not). They also have a viewer relations link where you can type them a letter and let them know your displeasure.
Instead of typing things like, “YOUR NEW SHOW IS STUPID AND IS TAKING BUSINESS AWAY FROM ME! YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE FOR PRODUCING IT!”, which won’t do that much except maybe make someone on the other end say, “Heh heh – looks like we pissed off another one”, consider writing about what makes the tattoo industry what it is and why you feel that advertising about a school will give an individual a false sense of “yeah I can do that! Look how easy it is! A real apprenticeship takes too much time. I can’t be bothered with that”. We all know that tattooing isn’t easy in the least.
We’ve all seen tattoos done by ‘some dude in his basement’. Some of us have been asked to cover them up with a ‘real’ tattoo. Sending a ‘newly schooled’ person out into the wild with their ‘new gun so they can start tattin’ people up’ will only result in people tattooing out of their homes (because they aren’t talented enough to get into a real shop) and potentially causing outbreaks of staph infections and worse, because these individuals are unable or unwilling to get the proper supplies to protect themselves and their clients (a dental bib is about the same as a paper towel, right?).
Perhaps we should focus our emails on health and safety issues as well as terrible tattoos that people will be complaining about the cost to cover up or laser off a few years down the line. In the mean time, REAL artists should focus on self-promotion and marketing to make themselves stand out above the sub-par, lazy, tattoo school artists. Either that, or get REALLY GOOD at doing coverups.
Courtesy of Lorin Hay:
If anyone would like to call and leave Lisa Fasulo a message of support in her new TLC Tattoo School project, her number is **1-800-466-4117 **. Show her some love!! Especially since she has blocked her Facebook account from receiving any friends request or messages, and has removed her Twitter account. Another number you can use is 518-428-4271. The listed email addresses for her are Tattoosbylisa@aol.com and firstname.lastname@example.org and The address of the school is 1301 CURRY ROAD ROTTERDAM NY 12306
Courtesy of Chris Collins:
Please do not air the Tattoo School show. It is irresponsible to let people think that just because some states have lacking heath code enforcement and education requirements that it is okay to do something as potentially dangerous as tattoo the public as an amateur. That show is a time bomb waiting for lawsuit and further more just dangerous to let the public think it’s as simple as a few hours “education” and then you are okay to to practice a somewhat invasive procedure. Please pull the plug on this.
To get in contact with TLC directly, you can find their phone contact information here: http://corporate.discovery.com/contact/ethics-hotline/ it has the contact phone number for all the countries that air TLC programming. The US and Canada number is 1-800-398-6395. You can also send in a written complaint via this page: http://corporate.discovery.com/contact/viewer-relations/.
As I said earlier, this program is angering a large portion of the community. While complaining on facebook is one thing, if you feel this does affect you negatively in some way, or you think that it is irresponsible programming, get in touch with TLC directly and let them know. Contacting advertisers is also a way to send a message to TLC, for without advertising a program can’t stay on the air.
I’ve dedicated a big chunk of today’s news to one story already, but there is more news this week. Keep on reading to see the rest of this week’s news.
Now in another story that ties into the today’s lead story, police in Newport, RI have issued a citation against an 18 year old tattoo artist. It turns out that you need a license to tattoo in Newport. Oh and that you shouldn’t set up shop in the middle of a park.
Julian Rodrigo, 18, of 195 Admiral Kalbfus Road, Newport, was issued a court summons on Saturday for illegally tattooing minors and not having a tattoo parlor license.
As part of a follow-up, police met with a the mother of a 16-year-old who Rodrigo tattooed. According to reports, she was upset because her son was able to get tattoos without her consent. She said Rodrigo was giving tattoos to juveniles in the Rolling Green area and was not licensed or trained.
Police spoke with Rodrigo, who said he did not know he needed a license, and that he had bought the equipment online. Officers came to an agreement with the reporting party that since Rodrigo had no prior criminal history and was unaware of the law that required him to have a license, to only issue him a citation.
Maybe Julian should have taken a 2 week course after buying his kit online. Then again, not too many studios would hire an artist with 2 weeks experience and a machine bought online, so he probably would have ended up in the park anyway.
Another story that’s been hitting the social media feeds is an “interactive tattoo“. Originally this was streamed online, but thanks to the wonders of video editing, there’s a shortened version available. The idea behind it, is that with a QR code, an iPhone, a design company, and a corporate sponsor, you can get a tattoo that when viewed using a specific app, will animate the tattoo.
As part of whisky brand Ballantine’s “Leave an Impression” campaign, Paris-based tattoo artist Karl Marc seared a QR code onto his friend Marco’s chest. Marc says the whisky company approached him and asked if he would be interested in executing the tattoo — a QR code that unlocked an animation when scanned — via a live stream on the brand’s Facebook Page. The brand is doing similar events with other artists, from ice sculptors to graffiti artists. “The video was made during four hours, all live, with no breaks or interruptions,” Marc says. “I had a camera strapped to my head as well as microphones and battery packs. We didn’t know if the Matrix code would actually work right up to the very end. It worked on paper, but would it work as a tattoo?”
You’re probably wondering if the tat is fake — after all, that Facebook friend tattoo turned out to be an advertising campaign, as did the Ray-Ban tattoo. But Marc says that the ink is the real deal. And it does seems likely. There’s no hidden viral agenda here: Ballantine’s hosted the live stream of the process on its brand page. Marc says he’s been getting a lot of requests lately for QR code tats, and he told us that he will be working with a company called MIYU productions on more ink of this ilk. Marc provided us with Marco’s design. You can scan it to check out the animation that currently graces Marco’s body. Use ScanLife to access the video.
As cool as this is. All I could think about at the end of the video was that he just put his phone on top of a fresh tattoo barehanded, and that he was typing on the keyboard without changing gloves from the machine.
Just a couple more quick tattoo related stories this week. The first is from San Francisco where a high school teacher had to make good on a bet he made with his students.
Stanley Richards, a teacher at San Francisco’s City Arts and Technology High School, promised students he would get a tattoo of the school’s vice principal if they could raise the school’s score on the California Academic Performance Index by 50 points. The school was expected to raise the score by 7 points at the time. “I was 99 percent sure that it wouldn’t happen” Richards said. He now has a large tattoo of Vice Principal Paul Koh on his calf. In the portrait, Koh is dressed in samurai clothing and slaying a dragon that represents standardized tests.
Over in the UK a bride-to-be was kicked out of a club for the serious crime of having a bachelorette party while tattooed.
Miss Trigg and four friends went in to the venue to begin their big night out, but it wasn’t long before bouncers told her to go. The mum-of-two of said: “They let us in and we went straight to the ladies. “Then as soon as we came out they told us to leave as it was the club policy not to let tattooed people in. “I am not exactly the type who would make trouble. I’m just a mum who wanted to enjoy herself on her hen night. “I think it is very discriminatory, because there are so many people with tattoos these days. “Mine are quite pretty too, with flowers and fairies, so I don’t know why they would ask me to leave. It really spoiled my evening.”
Previously, club owner Dick de Vigne has stated the club did not encourage heavily-tattooed customers. He said: “We have always said we don’t have rules, just very high standards. We look at each case on its merits.” Mr de Vigne said when people became regulars at the club, they were encouraged to cover tattoos.
The sad thing is, this happens at restaurants in the US as well. Those of you with a good memory will recall that Rachel was kicked out of a restaurant a few years back because she was sporting “gang tattoos”.
Today’s last story comes from Australia where doctors are urging the government to crack down on heavy surgical modification. While the story is heavily biased towards the side of the doctors, they did interview the lovely miss Zephyr*Elf about her own experiences with surgical modifications.
Medical professionals are dealing with a surge of backyard “body-modification” surgeries gone wrong, with two people needing intensive care for infections. Many of the modification procedures carried out in South Australia are performed by international professional “skin artists” during fly-in visits. RAH staff said they were alarmed at a “surge” in cases at its emergency department from extreme modifications. Police were called to investigate one incident involving the hospitalisation of a young woman at the RAH this month.
Extreme modification techniques include tongue-splitting, scarification, branding and having implants put under the skin. RAH emergency department nurse practitioner Melissa Curtis said she had treated two people with complications from silicon implants this year. The RAH’s plastic surgery unit also had treated several other cases in the past 12 months.
There are no laws in South Australia outlawing body modification for adults. The Sunday Mail does not know where the surgeries were performed. City-based Modify Body Piercings has hosted a Canadian professional body modification practitioner for three week-long stints since opening in 2009. Modify employee Harmony Capper said he was always booked out for the duration of his stay. “It’s important that bookings are made in advance because if it’s a permanent body modification you really need to think about it and be sure,” she said. Professional Tattooing Association of Australia SA spokeswoman Morag Draper said the surgeries were legal for adults. “It is important that these places are providing post-modification support,” she said. AMA state president Dr Peter Sharley said: “These are unnecessary and dangerous procedures with risks of haemorrhaging, infection and disfigurement. Surgeons are highly trained and would not be involved in this sort of destructive surgery.”
Zephyr Elf – aka Kasey Hilder – scars and cuts her body for art’s sake. “Art, self-expression – for me, having a malleable appearance is really integral to my cultural identity,” she said. “Being a chameleon is a lot of fun.” The Adelaide student and alternative model began modifying her body with a nose piercing at 16. Since then, Zephyr, now 21, has had her tongue split, her ears surgically pointed, undergone 90 piercings, acquired 14 tattoos and is currently planning a scarification design for her leg.
Evidently a sterile room at a professional studio is now considered a “backyard”. I think what upsets me the most is that they’re lumping together highly respected modification artists with people who are ill informed and performing modifications on themselves. Knowing who this mysterious Canadian is, I know for certain that he takes all possible precautions and stays in touch with his clients even while not in the country. A far cry from cutting someone open and leaving them to fend for themselves. Of course, making wild accusations and using biased language is a sign of good reporting right?
One last thing. If you are as opposed to this “tattoo school” as we are, get involved. Contact TLC and let them know just how bad an idea this is. http://corporate.discovery.com/contact/viewer-relations/ & http://corporate.discovery.com/contact/ethics-hotline/.