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Bringing the tattoo show comes with a price before we ever do a tattoo

February 14, 2016

Pimpmytattoo is a compilation of our personal experiences on the road at shows , shops, events, and our favorite of all tattoo conventions. Usually by the time the holidays have past us by we are eager to get back to work. The cost of such endeavors gets up there and someone has to cover that expense so most tattoo artists will band up into groups that get along of course and some learn the hard way. Any way we slice it we all are trying to save a buck where we can because when the tattoo show comes around every agency and vendor gets in our pockets somehow. People wonder why tattoos are so expensive so we aim to explain a bit of that over the next few blog posts but this will give you a taste for why.

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To tattoo at a tattoo expo first we have the booth cost that also comes with some health fees, sharps disposal, motel room, travel ( flight, taxi, luggage,fuel )  food, tattoo supplies, disposable razors, trash receptacle or lamps electricity at some events is not free. So we have a magic number that was the ever present total after several years of traveling to shows we wound up with a well rounded $1000 bill cost per event. The advantage to doing a 2 or 3 day show is a few things and it’s mostly the booth cost but the profit margin is sometimes decided by friday’s turnout and whether you landed a tattoo or not on friday night. To my surprise and experience if I did not land a friday tattoo or be slammed busy the weekend was not going to be a good one.

There are many factors in having a great turn out at a event. The bill or event lineup sometimes will draw a great crowd and keep everyone busy that’s there to tattoo or compete which brings us to the next subject in this blog. Award winning artists are usually focused on awards and awards only so the crowd kinda suffers some because they mostly bring clients from home they are tattooing a few times a week for shows and presentations. They donate many hours and discount those clients that make a effort to be involved with the award winning process. Ambition is a big deal in tattooing because everyone wants to get what they are worth in the end.

Tattooing has evolved from being a backstreet alley entrance or a private hush hush thing to a widely publicized phenomenon landing many lucky talented artists careers on the silver screen. Everyone has come to the conclusion that being a tattoo artist is a dream job for any eager and talented teenager these days. there are state certified schools that offer guidance as do we to those that ask. We do offer a limited apprenticeship to those already tattooing that want to go to a much higher level.

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The tools we use to do this work is not cheap by any means so it takes some time to save for a apprenticeship and we have a answer for that also. Most mentors that teach tattooing will have a budget set aside to take from those fees they charge to hand off a complete tattoo set up once set free from a apprenticeship. So there a long road to reach that point in any artists career and some want to skip that and just be a prodigy but that works in reverse so we don’t want to do that. It’s like wanting to learn the restaurant business  and own one some day. There is a process to running a operation so you have to learn all the jobs in that place from the nastiest one to the easiest and best paying one. or you will fail or stumble along the way.

So the reason for this post was to show some legitimate reasons why tattooing is so expensive for us artists that work this industry on the road or in a shop. We have expenses that are being added to all the time by the agencies that govern our trade and those that make the tools we use. Most forget this is our job not a hobby that for some starts as one but even as a hobby still costs to operate . We continue to have the problem with people coming to shop and haven’t had a tattoo in 30 years that are floored to find out the cost. the cost in the 80’s was not far off from today because I was there so the artist has basically gone a quarter century taking the hit at every turn of the market and have not exactly raised the worth of a tattoo other than at a exposition or tattoo convention where the cost to do business is high. Mind you the artist that come across 10 states to attend a show are leaving home , family, their business and paying in advance for the opportunity to tattoo you and hope you will stay long enough to enter the piece in a contest and try to send them home as a award winning artist for their trouble.

This point is only understood when someone lays it out for them and they really see the trouble we traveling tattoo artists endor to bring you the love of art.

I will update this with some info In a few.

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