Thanks everyone who is coming in to Depot Town tattoo in support of walk in Wednesdays! So far it has been awesome. You are keepin us busy and we are doing fun tattoos. There are tattoo shops opeing up all over the place!!! We appreciate the fact that our clients know the difference between a poor quality tattoo and a good quality tattoo. Our clients understand that a discounted tattoo is not worth the risk!!!! Thanks to Everyone!
SEE YOU THIS WEDNESDAY!!!! Tell your friends
When you come up north this summer come get a tattoo! For all you locals, we are really happy to have such a great shop in your neck of the woods! call for an appointment 1-231-922-9000
This week has been very productive. Here are some of the tattoos and other stuff that we have been doing!
……I guess. Because we had so many guests this weekend! It was a lot of fun. Matt Shamah Came to visit. Josh Mason was in town. Nick Fabini and his whole crew! Dusty Neal was tattooing and so was Scott Updike. It was cool seeing so many good tattooers in the same building. It was how I imagine tattoo conventions even started! It was ironic that everyone ended up coming on the same weekend. It just happened to work out that way and we all made due. But I think we have to be a bit more organized if possible with our scheduling. We will work on that. Meanwhile, Depot Town Tattoo and Front Street Tattoo are happy to have guest artist when the opportunity presents itself.
Warning: If you do not like opinionated strong willed women you should not read this blog! Do yourself and me a favor and don’t waste our time.
So what does it mean to go to art school? Most Art school students enter college right out of high school. A lot of them have parents who are paying for their tuition. Those who do not have parental support are relaying on loans, grants and scholarships (mainly loans). Those who don’t go right out of high school usually had some life circumstance that prevented them from going to college such as poor guidance, no money, or no ambition, just to name a few.
In my case, I had all of those reasons for not going to college after high school. In fact I was married at 17 and dropped out of high school. I promptly went and got my adult high school diploma. And that sets the stage for what I am about to tell you.
I went to Art school, I graduated with high honors and I walked across a stage in my cap and gown for the first time in my life. It felt really good to do that in that moment. Despite these thoughts, for once in my life I felt that I made some accomplishment. I did it on my own without the help from my parents. I raised my two children without the help of their father all the while. I was very lucky to have my fiancé who is the most supportive person I have ever known. And I did get to know some instructors who were very helpful to me. However because I learn critical thinking skills in college I can’t help but think about how fantastic it all seemed, like some big Shakespearian stage performance.
Since I actually made it through this system I feel the urgency to share my findings with all of you, tattoo artists and aspiring artists alike. Since I just graduated I am not yet sure what I will get out of it. I know I nearly killed myself doing it. At first, I just wanted to learn and be inspired. I received enough scholarship money to get a free semester. After that semester I was hungry for more so I got loans. Then I realized I was going into debt and I needed to have something to show for it. So I started to peruse the paper because I figured I should at least get the degree if I were already in debt for it. Lucky for me I had been tattooing almost 10 years when I started school. I already had a means to make a living doing work in an art related area. I started out with a trade skill as an artist and tattooing supported my family and me as it still does. In fact I enjoy tattooing still. I just wanted to become a better artist. So I went to art school.
I did become a better artist however what art school doesn’t do is prepare artists for the reality of the market. In my experience there were few classes dealing with this subject and since we live in a monetary system you would think they would provide this kind of information for their students. The Fine arts likes to pretend that the art world is this big secret mystical arena. The truth is you must find a market for your work and this is a problem for many artists starting out in an ill economy. Art is a luxury and a commodity for those object makers. For those bull-shitters (and by saying Bull-shitting I also recognize this as a skill) I don’t know what art is for them except for a philosophy. In that case academia is the right place for you. It is the only shelter you will have in your career. But if you are lucky some idiots with more money than taste will buy into your junk that you call art. And if they do, awesome for you!!! If they don’t keep going to Grad school and teach, and good luck getting a job teaching too but keep trying anyway! I know some really genuine teacher and some that just collect a paycheck. For the object makers, be prepared to have a large place to store your work until the right person comes along and starts buying your skillfully crafted junk. Me, I believe in magic and I don’t care to think about reality too much anyway! So I will store my junk till the end of time just knowing that someone WILL want it someday and no one can tell me otherwise! Or maybe I will burn it all and dance around the fire and chanting to my own made up gods. Yes art school is delusional too, just like religion and society in general!
As far as tattooing goes, artists come out of school with debt and no possible hope of paying back the loans in a depressed economy where there are fewer jobby jobs and way more college graduates to compete with than in past decades. So many artists both skilled and not skilled think they can just jump into tattooing. As if obviously a monkey can do it. For these people I feel really sorry for because they are so mislead. First, just because you have some drawing skill doesn’t mean you will automatically be great at tattooing. Secondly, these people have no one who IS skilled at tattooing to teach them. So they become kitchen jockeys. Some of these people are naturals however, but few. Very few in comparison to those who are hacking people up. And some of those artists mentioned WILL make it and go on to be good tattoo artists, though few. The majority will never understand the tattoo culture or even care to as long as they can make a buck. For this I blame the schools for not helping students understand the market and the economy.
Art school kids aren’t the only people who think that tattooing is a good way to make a buck. Pretty much everyone who watches reality television thinks they can tattoo. I’m just pointing out the obvious I guess but I digress.
Back to my original point about art school… Here is where school is good: it promotes critical thinking, which is the foundation of positive progress in my opinion. Art school forced me to really question what I was doing and why I was doing it and pretty much everything. It also allowed me the time to spend focusing on building other skills. Most importantly I met some people that I appreciate very much. The interesting, and bittersweet thing about all that is that you really don’t need college to do any of it. The college just facilitates those kinds of happenings. Also the facility at the college I attended was great, if you could take advantage of it. It is a trip to look back and realize that colleges are like any other business or government institution. Colleges that are private are in business. Colleges that are state ran schools are tied into the government. So it’s not that they are good or bad. It’s that art school doesn’t make any sense. Art doesn’t have to make sense. But art school is a business and it ought to make sense! It might as well be business school accept they don’t teach you business at art school when actually they should!
My best advice for Art students is to sharpen some skill in few focused areas simultaneously finding a market or purpose for your work and study. If you have no skills, can’t write, draw, paint, sculpt, make shit and have no useful ideas. GO to business school, not art school. You would be wasting your time and money at art school. And for god sakes, don’t just try to tattoo because you think it is cool and you have no other way of making money! There are millions of ways to make money! Do yourself and the world a favor and invent a new way of making a buck! Use your creative thinking skills to make it happen.
If you must go to art school the facilities and instructors are where you will see value in your experience. Find out what the alumni are doing and ask them about their experiences. Most people are going to want to steer you in the right direction. But really think about what you expect to get out of the experience. Write down your expectations. Part of fulfilling those expectations has to do with your commitment but the other part has to do with how realistic your expectations are. You can’t have real expectations if you have no idea what you are in for.
So who needs art school? Good question. The answer: I don’t know. Just cause I went to art school don’t expect me to have any answers! Truth be told, I haven’t met a single person that has any real answers! That makes life exciting don’t you think? All this quest of knowledge and understanding and science is the closest thing we get to an answer to anything. Yet methods are proved and disproved all the time! What a topsy turvey world! What do I do now that I don’t know anything? At least before I had beliefs and that is all I needed no matter now irrational! Who needs art school? Magic 8 ball says, “ASK ME AGAIN LATER”.
For now, I am back at the shop full-time. I am setting up a workstation for myself at the studio and I will be traveling some. I have some great ideas and tons of projects to keep me busy and happy!
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Who knew this whole Internet thing would be so complicated. Well, I have 2 blogs now 4 websites that I manage, not to mention facebook and the ghost town myspace. It’s just too crazy so I have to restructure and reorganize. So I deleted my facebook accounts completely. I will set up Fan pages for Depot Town and for myself. I am also in the process of completely redoing my websites. This blog will link to Depot Town and Front Street tattoo and be primarily about what is going on at the shops. My tumblr blog will relate more to my own personal ventures and adventures. So I just thought the info might be Valuable for those that follow my blogs ect. I will still blog for TAM every month. I just want to spend the most of my time doing two things; 1. loving my family 2. Sharpening my tattooing and painting skills
These are what matter most to me and the Internet is bogging me down a bit with all these sites. Of all of them Facebook was demanding too much with little enjoyment or benefit for me personally. I will blog about that in my August TAM blog. Thanks for following this blog and look for future blogs about the tattoo shops here. I will be launching Front Streets Website and re-launching Depot Town’s real soon.
Lately there has been concern about bloggers taking artist’s pictures without permission. I have been paying strict attention to this. When Frank worked for me at Depot Town there was one blogger in particular who was taking some for his images from Facebook and using it in his blog. (I won’t name this particular blog because it isn’t the important part. Now there are a few more out there since then) Out of concern for my fellow tattooer I sent a message to said blogger. I asked why he was taking artist’s pictures of tattoos and posting them on his blog. He assured me that Facebook was public domain and that he was giving credit to the artist and that his blog had thousands of hits per month. He said that he was trying to promote the art of traditional tattooing. Through this interaction I found out that he was not a tattoo artist himself. He was an enthusiast. He also said that if an artist wanted him to remove an image that he would. I expressed to him that he should get permission or at least notify the artist who he took an image from out of respect for that artist.
I think that if this particular fella had approached artists instead of hijacking work off Facebook. He might have had a better reception. Because all of us would like a bit of exposure for our particular craft, he may have had better luck just asking. Let’s be honest! When I heard that he had that kind of traffic I gave permission to this blogger to use my imagery that I posted on Facebook. Facebook and other sites are public domain. Artists need to realize what they are doing in a sense, when they post images without watermarks on public sites. I am not defending these image hijackers but I am saying that we need to have a grasp on what we put out there and how we put it out there as artists. Copywrite laws protect artists in our country against people making profits off of artist’s property without permission. The way our law reads provides protection for any intellectual property automatically. The inventor of that property owns the images; idea, object or what have you, without question as the maker. Some countries do not have these laws that protect intellectual property, this makes the Internet a very slippery market place.
The best thing to do is put a watermark or copywrite symbol on all your images. Or don’t post any content within the public domain. If you post a link to your personal blog or website that will protect your content more so than posting images directly via facebook.
Yes it is common courtesy to ask before you take but we have laws in place because people obviously don’t use this kind of common sense when they should. Or they just don’t care at all about morals when it comes to the mighty dollar. Sadly this antisocial approach is the norm these days! We can only try to back each other up as artists and refuse to allow people to steal what we create. On the other hand, if they aren’t helping to promote you it is someone else who will allow it. The media is a powerful tool. Either you figure out how it works and how to use it to your advantage or you languish.
I was perfectly aware the real reason this blogger was taking images was to promote his own on-line supply business. Sure he may have had some intention to promote artists also. Why not? I mean, I help you, you help me. I scratch your back you scratch mine. Isn’t that how things really work? Let’s be truthful! Everyone has a motive! While everyone would love to save the world the reality is that we have to save ourselves in order to even begin to think about saving anyone or anything else.
The philosophy of this is engrained in the market place! Name one tattoo artist out there that just does tattoos out of the kindness of his or her heart? We do it to make a living because we base our every need on paper notes that we acquire for this service. We don’t want anyone benefiting off our blood sweat and tears so we get pissed if some non-tattoo artist uses our images to promote his business. Naturally! The same nonsense is going on these days with Tattoo conventions!!!! Big promoters are trying to cash in on what we have built! But it is also the way our system works. It sucks, but we have to be aware of this. So artist, be smarter. Pick and choose your battles and stand firm on the battle lines! Watermark your images. Hey you can sue for damages too. That’s another thing that the law allows. Don’t do conventions if some event company runs them and not a descent shop are artist.
If there is something to gain by allowing someone to use your images by all means do it! But if someone is hijacking your shit and you don’t like it, do something about it for sure! My personal feeling is that there are always going to be artists starting out who will fall prey because they want so badly to be recognized. My message to them is, do good work and you will be recognized. Don’t sweat the bullshit! Just learn the craft and do well. Recognition always comes on merit. You don’t want to be recognized for sucking! You can get in every magazine in the world but if your work stinks it won’t matter. You can never be published ever but if your work is amazing people will see it! I have seen examples of this. I have been that eager newcomer. Luckily when I started out there was no Internet on the scale it is now and I sucked too badly to get my tattoo pictures published!
If we don’t want to see this craft become a big business industry we better think fast and smart about it. Because that is the way it is going. Everything sacred is swallowed up by capitalism! How do you go back underground after the media tattoo explosion? There must be some way to take it back for the benefit of the artists and that is to beat them at their own game! Know the rules so you can effectively break them!