"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!" -Benjamin Franklin

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


So, I've been totally unmotivated and uninspired for quite a while now, and it just keeps getting worse.  Don't wanna draw, don't wanna paint, and really don't care that much about tattooing.  Why?  For the same reasons that I've mentioned plenty of times right here in my blogity-blog thing.  What I love doing has been ruined by douchebags and TV executives.  I should be able to rise above all of this and just say 'fuck 'em all', but it just keeps getting harder.  It's depressing to see what has happened to the industry and how it's affecting my business.  More TV shows, more scratchers- it just goes on and on.
I started the day yesterday with a guy that looked like a fuckin' junkie getting mad at me because I wouldn't sell him any ink caps.  Really?  Ink caps?  You're scratching out of your house, slinging that ol' hepatitis, and you can't find anything to use for ink caps?
Not long after he left, while I was still having my coffee, I came across a story on the internet about another damn tattoo TV show that we're all supposed to be so fucking thrilled about- 'Ink Master' starring Dave Navarro and brought to us by the folks that brought us Miami/LA/New York Ink.  This one will be a tattoo competition.  Hey wait a minute, doesn't Oxygen have a show about to air that's a tattoo competition show?  That's cool, we probably need 2 of those.  The media people are just gonna keep putting these things on and running tattooing into the fuckin' ground.  As long as they can make a buck off of it, what does it matter what it does to the tattoo industry?
Not long after I find that gem, I run across this ad on Craig's List:
Inkaholiks Luxury Tattoos is looking for 2 ELITE style tattoo artists in the Buckhead Atlanta area to represent ATL as part of the Inkaholiks Artist roster! These are the ONLY spots available for local artists so you only need apply if you are a true Inkaholik! Must be willing to be filmed for reality show. Please respond to this ad with Resume and Portfolio. 
These douchebags aren't even open yet and they're looking to get their own stupid reality show.  This place says that they will be an upscale tattoo/hair salon/lounge- what the fuck is that? 
And here's what they have to say about the 'lounge':
Before you "hit the streets" step into the InkLounge where the hottest DJs in Buckhead are spinning the tightest tunes and the beautiful people are down for the party. InkLounge is a chic nightspot in the heart of ATL where the music is hot and the people are hotter. You have to be 21 to have this kinda fun, and make sure your dress is to impress.  
Why do idiots like this feel the need to turn tattooing into anything but fucking tattooing?  They have a grand opening coming up that they're advertising and guess who's gonna be there- Dave Navarro.  Is this really what tattooing has become- stupid reality shows and washed up junkie rockers?  It's fuckin' depressing.  
I don't know what to do to try to get my mojo back and actually want to be a part of this industry.  I sat down at my drawing table yesterday after reading all this bullshit and just stared at a pad of tracing paper, pencil in hand, unable to do a fuckin' thing.  I'm having a really hard time finding any reason to want to be a part of this anymore.


  1. You, have to continue because your fuckin great. Dave Navarro ain't got nothin on you kid!! Fuck the media, fuck the press. They won't have control much longer anyway. Your a great artist and no one will ever take that away from you, and not a lot of people can even claim to be what you are. I'm sorry this bullshit is even happening. It's disgusted!

  2. Couldn't have put it better myself!

  3. Hello Dave.
    The sell out will have happened in about two years worldwide (US and Europe) and the good ones will survive. This is what happened with the Bike building craze on discovery channel (in Germany the sessions are still broadcasted) and some of the bigger names got even bigger (OCC) and now face the problem of too many employees/debts.
    As mentioned before, your knowledge will not go away but most of the scratchers will go away.
    The exposure of good tattoos is massive right now, that even the stupiest person will learn to distinguish good and bad tattoos.

    For the better, there will also be a lot of people attracted to the industry who might bring the scene forward artistically, people who never would have considered the tattoo lifestyle. I am very convinced about that.
    And this is not necessarily a bad thing.

  4. Sorry to have to disagree with you, Michael, but this has been going on for TOO long now. I don't see any good coming out of it. The things you say are the things I thought years ago, but nothing is changing (at least not for the better). The bike building thing never got this bad, and people seem to care less and less about 'good' tattoos- they're not learning ANYTHING. They just want to be covered in tattoos so that they can be part of the hip masses, they don't care about quality. I've even had people tell me "your tattoos are too good- my shit's gotta look 'street' ".

  5. Don't let the fuckers win Dave, stay strong!

  6. I run into the same fucking bullshit but its not people asking for ink caps its phone calls asking advice or to buy fucking needles. On top of cover-ups I can't stand cover ups now its every day or can you redo this tattoo they did a "good job" its just faded yea right shit all shit. I agree very much with you the tv shows helped and hurt they helped by making tattoos more acceptable but hurt because now thats the cool thing to be oh i wanna be a tattoo artist i can draw a stick figure how hard could it be...

  7. Everyone is expecting me to be Kat Von D and I'm not nor would I ever want to be!!! It's not that I don't want the tattoo industry to thrive with the new business, but I feel like my learning process is being impeded here because, like you said, people want to be covered in tattoos and they don't really want to put thought into it. I don't know if I'll ever make it past the crappy script phase even though I know i'm capable of so much more. There is a sea of work to be done and yet a sad lack of challenges. The art and the history/meaning behind this whole thing is being lost behind the media stupor. I feel like America has bastardized the passion and the skill.

  8. @Dave
    Ok, I stand corrected, as you seem to know more about the Tattoo craze in the US. In Germany, tattooing also become overly popular after the tramp stamp craze of the early 2000s, but not as much as it probably happened in your country. Everything seems to be a little bigger and bolder on your side of the atlantic ocean. The perspective I get from some German tattooer friends here close to Frankfurt is, that the 'not so good shops' will go out of business in the next few years, because of the educational factor the exposure of good tattoos has on the people getting tattooed. They do not see it as dramatical as you do. Again this seems to be based on the fact that the exploit from the TV industry is always a little later in Europe and much less. We also only have one TV station which broadcasts such stuff at all, and then only on Wednesdays at 11 p.m.. On the other side we had an overkill of conventions this year in Germany alone, with the formerly reputable Frankfurt Tattoo Convention becoming so big that it becomes useless for people coming to them...Guys like Viktor Portugal were sitting in their booth and had nothing to do because there were 600 other artists tattooing. This happened mainly due to the greed of the protective forces behind the origanisation. This bubble which will burst within the next 2 years. I sincerly hope.

    In fact I could write the same dissappointed stuff you write about the tattoo business about the games industry, having been being so long in it. I would only have to exchange tattoo with 'games' and suppliers with 'suits'... I am also fed up and at a point where I need a change (see above)and hopefully get my shit together to jump ship.
    As you might have guessed by now, i am not a tattooer, but watch the scene quite some time (to be honest since the mid 90's when Bikergangs discovered the tattoo scene in Germany as a cheap source of income (protection)). So i sold my soul to the devil and did Art and Art Production for Games. But i can not see my carreer babysitting youngsters and watching them doing the same mistakes again and again. So for me the opening up of the tattoo business is a good thing as i do not have to sell my soul to the local Outlaws MC in order to tattoo. I was recently accepted in a well established and high quality tattoo studio as an 'apprentice'. with the perspective to be tattoing there in a few years (this all happens very slowly and in my rare spare time), in the meantime drawing with them and learning all the aspects of the business (dealing with clients, hygiene, flash design, machine setup, workstation prep...).

    So for me the tattoo craze opens an opportunity which i can not miss and do not want to miss. There are just too many fucking bad tattooers out there which need to get the finger shown - i hope to own them by cranking out quality.

  9. Congrats on your apprenticeship. It's always nice to see someone doing it the right way. I certainly hope that things never get that bad there as they have here. None of the shit shops around here ever close, they just keep opening. The customers just go shop to shop looking for the lowest price, regardless of quality or cleanliness.

  10. Why go on? Because you're the fucking MAN!!! We have this new girl at work who claims her mom is a tattoo "artist". Well, she lifts up her shirt to show me some work she'd gotten done on her ribs, and all I could think inside my head was, "That shit sucks!" I am honored to have you as my tattooer, because you ARE an artist, and I wear your work proudly every day. Luke and I make the 2 hour drive when we want shit done because, you're talented, you're safe, you're honest, and you're a Yankee asshole just like me! (heehee) Keep doing what do, cause you're doing it right!!! XO Chin up buttercup!

  11. I have been trying to get into the industry for awhile now and score an apprenticeship somewhere. I love to draw and paint and I adore tattooing as an art form and I don't even give a shit if I make money off of it, I just like to do it. I don't want to be a "scratcher" but that is what I am, and I find it hard to get into a shop because of people such as the ones you've mentioned above. A lot of good tattoo artists are closing their doors to people like me who really just want to learn and tattoo and create beautiful art, but all they see on the outside is a "scratcher". Well, my thoughts are, if you want people to be better, then teach the ones who really want it. I'm not saying this is any tattoo artists fault, it's people like you're talking about who ruin it for people like me, because when I ask to learn, they assume I'm just going to run off and open my own shop and I have no idea what I'm doing and I'm gonna end up being another piece of shit ruining the industry. It really sucks, and I hate that it is the way it is, but what can we do to stop it? There are people like me out here who love the industry, though don't know a whole lot about it other than what we see, which is the negativity and reality shows and bullshit. All I care about is the art, but all I see is wonderful artists like yourself starting to buckle under the load of bullshit they see around them. It just really sucks, but I'm not gonna stop until I'm tattooing and I would like to be one of the people who respect this industry for what it is, and the more I learn about it, the more I love it and the more I don't want to see it ruined by others who have no respect for art or other people. Sorry if this rant offended anyone, but I just felt I needed to say something, even if no one's listening or no one hears it, I still said it. Keep doin' what you're doin' man. You're amazing.

  12. I agree with Vanessa, all this shit is doing is making the Industry jaded to all those who actually put all their heart and soul into being a tattoo artist. It comes down to shops closing their doors to all of those who want to be true apprenticed artists, and then all we are left with is the douchebags and their fifty dollar tattoo kits. I don't know about any of you but I want the tattoo Industry to thrive with amazing artists. Its not going to happen if this keeps going on. Yeah the media is ruining it, fuck Ahmi, or Kat Von Bitch... But why let them win, why sit around and mope, search out a good kid with allot of heart, talent, and promise and take him under your wing, and fight back...

  13. You need an Internet vacation Buddy:) Two weeks with no Internet will get you motivated again;)

  14. well, from a scratcher.... im tired of bein a fuckin scratcher... i been lookin for a REAL artist to apprentice me and i cant seem to find any , anywhere, ir youre passionate enough about your industry, maybe YOU can point me in the right direction, i never claim to be an artist nor do i claim to be "the shit" , like all these hack scratchers who do, i LOVE tattooing and all the aspects, but i have a lot to learn and i really want to, so, plz, some advice?? www.facebook.com/inkinctattoos thomas powell

  15. Okay, What the fuck IS an apprentice anyhow? and for that matter, define Scratcher.

    Im sick and fucking tired of this internet generation jumping on the fucking bandwagon. Buying a cheap machine and calling yourself a tattooist, tattooer, what the fuck ever does not make you cool, Its just a fucking trend, trust me.

    @valerie, The reason those people are turning you down as a student is because most of us really dont want to be a part of the "trend". You see, we know that 99% of those getting into tattooing will loose interest within a short period of time when the next "cool" thing hits.

    This is why I dont bother taking on an "apprentice", the term makes me sick at my stomach. Take your miami ink, LA ink, tattoo hero american chopper trendy fucking bullshit and shove it up your ass where you left your acid wash jeans, your members only jacket and your gangster rap and leave the tattooing to those who do it because we dont give a fuck what people think is "Cool".