Apprenticeship so far FWIW

stevie_stevo

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So, I'm almost a year into an 'apprenticeship' but this is what I've learnt so far....The tattoo game is cut throat (at least here in Warsaw it is). The traditional studio as it was 'once upon a time' no longer exists here. There may be a select couple of them with time served resident artists, but 95% of them are 'hire a station' studios with a continual rotation of artists. 50% studio cut from your clients is the norm unless you are right on top of your game with a solid client base and fully booked months in advance.

So, my apprenticeship......? Basically I haven't been specifically taught anything with regards to tattooing. It's not like there has been a structured learning or development programme, more like an occasional comment or random bit of advice from the studio owner, but often advice has been conflicting/confusing and badly timed. On one occasion I mentioned that I struggled with a specific yellow ink after I'd finished a tattoo, to which I was told, don't use that ink, It's sh*t..... So why the fu*k is it on your ink shelf then? was my first thought. I pay 50% on all work I do to the studio on all clients that I find using social media with paid promotions, and have only been given 3 clients from the studio in return. Each of them being full of scars and cover up jobs. Once a week I have to get there early and clean the studio for free.

To summarise, I haven't really been on an apprenticeship, I'm just another revenue stream and free cleaning service for the studio. I've been 'taught' very little and any progress I have made has 99% been just from tattooing, making mistakes, and figuring shit out myself.

I continue to go there though.....mainly because I think it's far better for me to operate from a studio than from my apartment. I doubt I would get as many clients if I were a bedroom scratcher and I wouldn't want all and sundry coming to my home. It also looks better on my 'CV' I think. Those are the only reasons I can think of....I'll probably keep on going for another 9 months or so. Hopefully by then my work will be at a level where I can go to another studio as an 'artist'........I'm open to offers anywhere in the world BTW!!!😂

Anyway, feel free to comment, advise, or criticise...
 
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Torb

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Hey mate. That sounds horrible. I think that's why I have never pursued an apprenticeship. I realize that apprenticeships can be the best way to go forward but I don't deal with stress well. It seems like there are alot of big egos in the tattoo game unfortunately. You should find another shop that values you.
 

gadsden1776

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after a year that is a cr@p situation. My apprenticeship was old school. I started at the front desk, then cleaning, then drawing & stenciling for my mentors (our shop had up to 9 artists at any given time & 3 apprentices that covered a 24/7 shop). Then, I got to tattoo... on people I brought in. Apprentices just got tips. Never charged clients. When an apprentice graduated they got 25%, 75 to the shop. Never had to pay a dime for the apprenticeship. after 3 months 35% after 3 months 45%. after that it was negotiable.

like you said though... you vested & it gives you credibility. So milk it for the image & move on as soon as you get a decent comfort level & portfolio built up.
 

TexasPT

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are you better now than you were a year ago?
did the ability to tattoo from a shop get you more clients?
Were you able to watch other artists work and interact with clients?
Are you getting repeat clients?

if so...it's not all for nothing. Just trying to put a positive set of eyes on it.

And like Gadsen said...it gives you credibility. You're a solid enough artist when it's time to jump ship you'll be able to.



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Dzikichrzan

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Yeah Man feel you. You brits are far more nice than people in Poland. seems like they just dont care really, but at lest your CV as you said will look better innit? Anyway your portfolio is a key in my opinion. And to me you did progress quite a lot Man. On your own or not.
 

MalligaMallan

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I agree with the others, sounds total crap. But yes, surely better to endure it if you benefit from it in the long run.

When going through your ig it looks like you're progressing, and that's the most important. That, and that you will be able to work from a(nother) shop in the future.

♥️
 

Juneau23

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No one can say that the path of the apprentice is all honey and flowers but this sounds awful to me, especially after a year. From a personal perspective this is just the result of a very competitive environment having in mind that you're living on a capital, the business is pretty much a rat race with not much respect or empathy towards newcomers.

I'm sure all this process will make you stronger and get a lot of experience. I can tell you Barcelona is more chill regarding this but still if you want to live from tattooing you need to be on top game level.

You're on the right way! Keep going and be ready to catch the next train when it appears.
 

stevie_stevo

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All comments and replies are spot on. I think it's important for younger people to know about these kind of 'apprenticeship' practices and avoid them at all costs so they don't get exploited. I'm old enough and ugly enough to deal with it and rationalise it, but someone younger might get completely disheartened by it.....
 

KyleBl4ck

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Nice man, keep it up.

The tattoo game is cut throat

You have no idea.... The best way to make it is to go somewhere that the artists don't have the ego that comes with experience. A lot of artists have been growing more and more egotistical from what I've noticed. Especially in bigger cities.

With that being said, for the first year of my apprenticeship I was a glorified cleaning service and bitch for the shop. For 6 months after, I did nothing but fake skin, and then did 6 months of tattoos for free on friends and clients who had previously gotten bad tattoos from the shop as a way to make up for it.

Anyway, I wish you the best of luck in your apprenticeship. I wouldn't be anywhere near where I am if I hadn't found one. Just make sure they aren't taking advantage of you. I left my apprenticeship 2 years in because I was being taken advantage and I'm officially 1 year into skin and 4 months into my job at a new shop. [heres some of my work : ]

Trust me, once you figure it out, you'll grow fast if you keep your nose to the ground and push yourself.
 

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stevie_stevo

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Nice man, keep it up.



You have no idea.... The best way to make it is to go somewhere that the artists don't have the ego that comes with experience. A lot of artists have been growing more and more egotistical from what I've noticed. Especially in bigger cities.

With that being said, for the first year of my apprenticeship I was a glorified cleaning service and bitch for the shop. For 6 months after, I did nothing but fake skin, and then did 6 months of tattoos for free on friends and clients who had previously gotten bad tattoos from the shop as a way to make up for it.

Anyway, I wish you the best of luck in your apprenticeship. I wouldn't be anywhere near where I am if I hadn't found one. Just make sure they aren't taking advantage of you. I left my apprenticeship 2 years in because I was being taken advantage and I'm officially 1 year into skin and 4 months into my job at a new shop. [heres some of my work : ]

Trust me, once you figure it out, you'll grow fast if you keep your nose to the ground and push yourself.
Brilliant. Thanks 🙏 sounds like a common story
 

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