Art has always been a huge part of my life. I started going to specialized school for art since so began middle school. However, for many years, and especially since finishing my undergraduate degree, I have struggled to find where my place in the art world would be. I was at odds with the idea of producing artwork for a market that would determine my work's worth based on personal connections, seniority, and class and not on the actual merit of the work made.
Recently I've come to the exciting revelation that my talents for illustration, business, and hospitality are a perfect match for the ever-growing tattoo industry. I've had a chance to work with a highly regarded shop in Brooklyn, New York , and they have offered me a place in their apprentice program and a full time position as an artist at their shop when I'm done.
Apprenticeships in the tattoo industry are incredibley hard to come by and are especially hard for women. To put it into perspective, only 13 out of 40 shops in Chicago have female artists, and of those shops, less than 3 of the artist employed are women.
To gain a traditional apprenticeship, you usually have to either have a close relationship with an artist or owner of the shop and more often than not that relationship is built by spending many, many hours and dollars getting work done to yourself in that shop. After all that, you also need an extensive tattoo based illustration portfolio, that you are expected to do without guidance. All the while hoping the shop will be accepting apprentances in the first place. If you are lucky enough to get this far, you then work in shop doing remedial front desk and cleaning duties for months, and usually over a year, before you are shown how to use a machine and allowed to practice with one, even on fruit.
For someone like me that has had to always work full time since leaving home when I was 18 to support myself, this unstructured and time consuming model of a traditional apprentanceship is not an option I can begin to entertain.
The shop that I would like to work with offers a different approach to apprenticeships. Body and Soul Tattoo treats their apprenticeships as a personalized, structured program with a curriculum, a time frame, and most importantly, garunteed job placement.
The money that I am trying to raise will help me cover the tuition costs of the program.
As I've stated above, it's extremely motivating to finally have a career goal that I can put my heart and talent into and be proud of. On top of that, to already have my foot in the door is especially exciting.
Risks and challenges
Currently, I am holding down a full time business management position in Boston. My challenge lies in commuting to and from New York and Boston biweekly to complete the required apprenticeship hours while maintaining my current source of income. Having to work full time while completing a full time course load during my undergraduate career has made me no stranger to multitasking and sleepless nights. I am fully prepared for the amount of hours I will have to commit to achieveing my goal.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)