After 25 years, I am going back to tattooing. 25 years ago, I apprenticed to tattoo at a shop in Woodstock, NY. I was not up for it. I was young and naive and thought I was going to be a famous NY City gallery artist – but no. Instead, I am working at big-box hardware store orange (BBHWSO from now on) in a fly-over state at age 54 on Section 8 and Medicaid, and I am going back to tattooing.
It’s hard. The business is cut-throat. Completely over-run with con-artists and scammers – just like 25 years ago. I have already made the mistake of buying a Chinese machine that was posing as a “new” german-made machine – but that seems to be normal these days. Back 25 years ago, I bought my machines at Spaulding & Rogers – Huck Spaulding was just starting to have his machines made in China – but at least, he was overseeing the production. Now, the Chinese are just making machines willy-nilly and selling them to us for $20 and we are reselling them for $200.
Well, at least I was able to buy one for $200 – and it is a good little machine to start me back into it again – in my apprenticeship, my teacher never taught me how to tune the coil machine – things I did not even know I needed to learn – and that’s on top of learning how to make art in skin with ink – very very difficult, all around.
But BBHWSO is such that I will do anything to have something creative to do that I can count on. BBHWSO will cut my hours soon as winter comes on. BBHWSO could move me in to whatever department they want to move me into, or they could lay me off if they wish. The law says they can’t cut my pay, but they can reduce my hours so that my pay is worth diddly squat… so I am tattooing. I do continue to paint and sell my paintings too but it is so random that I can’t rely on it. Gotta go to work.