A tattoo Artist (also tattooer or tattooist) is an individual who applies permanent decorative tattoos, often in an established business called a “tattoo shop,” “tattoo studio” or ‘”tattoo parlour.” Tattoo artists usually learn their craft via an apprenticeship under a trained and experienced mentor.
Williams Tattz can create original tattoo designs for his customers, or he may use flash (pre-drawn, stock images that can be traced onto the skin) or variations of known designs.
A tattoo artist traditionally earns the title by completing an apprenticeship under strict guidelines from an experienced senior tattoo artist. A tattoo apprenticeship can last as long as five years. The apprentice will be trained in sanitation and proper safety techniques, typically during the first six months to a year of the apprenticeship. During this time, the apprentice is not allowed to tattoo, but will be expected to maintain the cleanliness of the studio and learn by observation. The cost of apprenticing can range from free labor around the shop to tens of thousands of dollars. Apprentices are generally expected to be excellent at drawing, with an ability to excel at customising design ideas and genres, as well as various other styles of art in general.
The practice of tattooing without proper training also carries serious health risks. Studies have shown that there is a significant risk of contracting Hepatitis C when tattoos are carried out using cheap, non-sterilized tattooing equipment. These risks are found to be higher on unregulated premises.
People who tattoo without proper training in the art of tattooing are commonly known as ‘scratchers’. Scratchers often operate from home, but may also operate from an unlicensed studio. In addition, scratchers may offer reduced rates in order to attract customers away from professional tattoo shops. In the USA, practicing without a license is a criminal offense in many states.
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