Tattooing is a practice that has been around for centuries, and continues to only become more popular. A tattoo artist is someone who is passionate about designing and applying tattoos to all areas of a customers’ body. Artist can employ an immense amount of techniques in order to achieve the client’s desired look. Being a tattoo artist may allow you the freedom of experimenting on a regular basis with the work you do, as some clients will express an idea of what they would like and then it is up to the artist to portray the given image. This leaves you to the devices of your creativity and also the opportunity to create ‘one of a kind’ pieces. There will also be times when clients will come in knowing exactly what they would like and have an image ready for you. In this career, potential artist can expect diversity in clientele, meeting new people, trying new techniques, and the ability to not be held back in the work that they do. It is between the artist, the client, and their imagination.
There are many schools that are dedicated to the art of tattooing. While at each school the curriculum may vary slightly, one can expect to cover artistic techniques, outlining, color and shading techniques, tattoo traditions and culture, business and legal aspects of the industry, sterilizing and handling equipment, machine and equipment operation, tattoo practice and finally portfolio development. The length of the courses depends on the tattoo school you choose to attend, some take as little as 2 weeks while some can take up to 2 years. Deciding on a school will ultimately boil down to what works best for you.
In 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported an annual median salary of $53,720 for all other artists and related workers not listed individually, including tattoo artists. PayScale.com noted a median salary of $31,121 for tattoo artists in 2014. A decrease of 1% in job openings was expected for this group of artists and related workers from 2012-2022, per the BLS.