So, You Watched Tattoo School….

Last night (or perhaps tonight, according to where you are? Time zones are confusing sometimes), TLC went ahead with their terrible show, Tattoo School. I’m assuming many a wannabe tattooer who’s watched it will be looking up Tattoo Schools online, so hopefully some of them will find this website, and learn a little about why this kind of show is wrong. Really wrong.

I chose not to write any more than I did about this show until it aired in the hopes that I didn’t give TLC any more free advertising than they need. Unfortunately many people have already found this website through searching for the show’s name, so I hope that they’ve been able to see why a show like this hurts the community.

Okay, so you watched TLC’s Tattoo School and now you want to be a tattooer? Here’s the sitch: if you honestly think that you can learn how to tattoo in two weeks through one of these “schools”, you’re about to be conned out of thousands of pounds, while also helping to spread diseases and give people tattoos they’ll regret. There’s no ifs and buts about that, I’m afraid. There is no goddamn way that you can learn everything in two weeks, and there is a reason that apprenticeships can last years. It’s because you need to know all about not just health and safety, but how to give someone a great tattoo that will last for life. You do need to know how to draw, it isn’t just tracing.

I’m more than well aware that times are tough for some people. People aren’t able to find jobs, and are being made redundant all of the time. This may make something like a tattoo school look desirable, especially since TLC have managed to already convince people that tattooers are rich rock stars, thanks to shows like LA Ink. The fact is, after you’ve spent thousands on the course, no one will give you a job in a tattoo studio. Yeah, you’ll have a shiny certificate and a nice t shirt, whatever- can you draw? Do you have any respect for tattooing? I’m guessing not. Don’t think that you can get rich through tattooing, because honestly, those who can’t draw and don’t have any knowledge or passion for tattooing make no money at all. They’re also going to piss off many fucking people.

Okay, so you watched Tattoo School and you don’t want to enrol in a “tattoo school”- first off, awesome. You’re smarter than some. The buck doesn’t stop there, though. What happens if this show does inspire more kitchen hacks, unlicensed studios and idiots generally butchering up their friends? That can effect you, too. Your kids may be playing out in the street one day and fall into a bin bag full of disease-laden needles that the local scratcher left out for an unsuspecting bin man. Unlicensed tattooers do not have sharps bins. They don’t have someone disposing of that stuff properly. What will happen to your family if you become seriously ill because the guy who made your coffee had a badly infected tattoo that he didn’t bother to even wrap up? This can potentially be a really big deal, and many people already think that this show will do no good for unlicensed tattooing.

“Well, what the hell can I do?”, I hear you say. Lots of stuff! You can keep an eye out for anyone tattooing at home, and call your local council if you hear anything. You can share links about safe tattooing with your friends or anyone you know who may want to “try their hand” at tattooing. In fact, if you’ve seen the show, and you saw anything that you think broke any violations, you can get in touch with TLC’s local commissioner and complain. Here’s some contact details for that, thanks to this brilliant website:

David S. Pratt, M.D., MPH
Commissioner
107 Nott Terrace
Schaffer Heights
Schenectady, NY 12308
Phone: (518) 386-2810

That website is called Destroy Your Local Scratcher, by the way, and it looks like it’ll have even more information on it very soon to help tackle the tattoo schools and bullshit TV shows.

In all honesty, I do not understand how TLC is allowed to be on TV. The channel constantly puts crap like this out. If they’re not promoting unsafe tattooing, they’re glorifying teenage mothers, showing blatant child abuse and spreading misinformation throughout America and the countries that also receive the channel on their idiot box. Just don’t watch it, it’s sickening.

Okay, this is a massively long post right now. I hope anyone who’s been encouraged by TLC to engage in any disgusting activities has instead felt inspired here or even elsewhere to take a look around and find out what tattooing is really all about. To finish, here’s something from Jack Rudy’s statement about this show:

I think this new tattoo school show that TLC is about to launch is the biggest bunch of bullshit I have ever heard in my 36 years of tattooing. I guess it’s not bad enough that tens of thousands of unqualified, untutored, “wanna be” tattooers have flooded this industry largely due to the bullshit tattoo shows that have already been on TV for years, because they inadvertently encourage people to get in to tattooing by making it look infinitely easier than it actually is.

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  1. […] SO, YOU WATCHED TATTOO SCHOOL…. Share this:StumbleUponDiggRedditLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  2. […] The last time Tattoo School aired, I wrote a massive post for anyone who read it, then wanted to try their luck. There’s information in that on the things you can do to prevent this bullshit, and there’s some cool things from other sources and tattooers. You can read that here. […]



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