Our profession, craft of tattooers, is one of those unique ones, which ones you don’t learn in schools or short courses. You learn it by one teaching it to you. You have to understand the whole path to master it. By yourself, you just can’t understand it all, because you don’t know how to create it. You can extrapolate some by yourself, but not the history and legacy, that makes the community around the craft. You don’t go to among surgeons, plumbers nor sailors and tell them how to do it right. You go and ask kindly, how they do it. And that is learning from someone. Some tattooers say they are self taught, but truly, you have to learn from someone. Skills just do not appear suddenly to you. Fact is, you don’t learn just from one tattooer, your “master”, you learn from everyone you work with. Even if you are a “master” 😀
“What I cannot create, I do not understand.”
As I am living in a outer archipelago, lighthouse island, I get to see all those marine pilots do their work year around. As the archipelago is rocky and full of shipwrecks, it is pretty important to know the right route. No matter how good you are, navigating in archipelago is hard if you never been there. As marine pilots navigates the hard route for ships helping them avoid sailing to the rocks, so does the teacher of tattoo art for the tattoo apprentice.
That relationship is unique, and needs a lot of growing and respect. There are a lot of wrong reasons to get into craft, when apprenticeship do not end well. It is never about just you, it is always about quality tattoo and what kind of energies you pass on by making it. COMMITMENT is important, as learning takes time, and you can not tie a bond to several crafts at the same time if you truly want to focus on properly. Learning from community, history of it and all the rocks on the route, make you stay alive in the best craft on earth.
You earn it by being humble and honest to yourself, remembering you are no different than others, no matter what your gender, race, status or any other feature is, and have pure joy from successes. So do the teacher re-lives these feelings. Main part is to know, when get off from the ship under your guidance. As you may not be the pilot for good on particular vessel, you need to know when your job is done. It is important to think at first place, what kind of vessels you are ready to guide in your waters, and from what reasons they are there, and what they are bringing to harbors. As being a teaching pilot, you need to question yourself and your beliefs all the time, COMMUNICATE and let other pilots talk too. Dunning-Kruger effect and cognitive dissonance affects to all of us.
When apprenticeship has gone well, you may sail together safely. That is one relationship you always remember. Like I always will remember Ile, with whom I got guided into craft… to pass again forward secrets of tattoo witchcraft. 🙂