Guilty Pleasures Tattoo Studio

The Love and Hatred of the Tattoo Industry

The concept is beautiful. It really is. A permanent reminder of something so important in your life that the pain was worth it. Maybe it was just the experience, and the friends and family you shared it with, or maybe you just got brave and decided to do something crazy. People get tattooed all the time for all kinds of reasons. Almost all good in their own way. And when you go to a tattoo shop you expect professional service from someone that knows the business, is clean, intelligent, and you might hope, artistically inclined. (At least a little) This however is not always what you get. The tattoo industry after all, is a weird fuckin place.

I suppose I was born an optimist. Always expecting the worst, but always hoping for the best. I've found myself disillusioned before in life so finding the real meat under the skin of the tattoo industry didn't bother me, but once again I was let down. So much energy, so many good intentions, pushed in the wrong direction, with so much misplaced anger and rage. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t wanna paint a negative image of all tattoo shops. This is certainly not the case, God knows my business partner and I own one of what I would claim to be the good ones, but ill always leave that up to public opinion.

So what makes a good shop and what's ruining the industry? That's a long and complicated question even to approach, but ill give it my best.
To begin with, a good tattoo shop is filled with artists. Sketch artists, oil and water painters, air brush artists, and rattle can spray painters.. In fact, I wouldn't care if my artist’s finger painted and played with crayons, as long as it's artistic expression. Aside from that a tattoo shop NEEDS to be clean to that of any medical facility. It's not about what you see, it's about what you don’t see. My staff and I take GREAT and often costly expenses to make sure that each station is sanitized to a level beyond what the department of environmental health suggests. And other than all that, maybe some boarder line polite service... and that's all...

Here's what you often times get. (Without naming any names)

Drugs and the tattoo industry go hand in hand. Why, I have no idea. If you are putting something on someone for the rest of their lives maybe you should be sober... Just a thought. Maybe you shouldn't be snorting down lines of coke on the rail outside your tattoo shop in plain view of a busy street next to a residential neighborhood, and maybe your "smoke break" shouldn't include weed.
Ya know what else goes hand in hand? Prison and the tattoo industry. It fuckin kills me that about 60 percent of the tattoo artists i've had contact with in Southern California are just biding time before they go back inside. I've heard, "Some people just have trouble". Trouble? Doing what? Following simple rules like don’t get in fights with random people? I’ve NEVER gotten into a bar fight. I’ve had plenty of opportunities, but id like to believe i'm a little smarter than that. I have traveled the United States in service to the US Marine Corps, and STILL never gotten in a bar fight. No shit. So if I can refrain, so can you. My point? How the fuck can I build a business on someone that is about to go back to prison. And what kind of industry are we in that is ok with this? I’m sure ill get ridiculed for even writing this.
Gang Bangers
Ohh my favorite goes along with both of the last 2. The tattoo industry is full of wanna be Gang Bangers. Seriously. It's fuckin pathetic. It's because of people like this that I carry a gun. (We can have a political debate about gun laws in California later) I have no idea what makes someone working at a job or a legitimate business wanna play games like this. I dont think the vast majority of the clients coming to get tattooed give a shit that your from this neighborhood, or that you wear that color. If you gangbang, your a fag. (And i dont mean gay, there is a difference) I see dudes sellin bud, tweek and crack out the back of their shops. Dudes carryin guns, not for protection but so they can intimidate each other. Threats of "Running up in someone’s shop" are thrown around like rag dolls. Let me tell you all something, please, if you feel it's in your best interest to "run up in my shop", then by all means, ill see you there. I don’t take threats.
Underage Tattooing
You can read more of my opinion by CLICKING HERE. So ill make this brief. It's really fuckin simple. Tattooing a minor (Under the age of 18) is illegal in the state of California. Tattooing at home is also illegal. If someone told you otherwise their wrong and if you CLICK HERE ill show you California PC. Or you can just read below. Ohh and by the way, just incase you don't give a shit that it's illegal, you can CLICK HERE and read about the fines involved each time you tattoo a minor or tattoo at home.

653.  Every person who tattoos or offers to tattoo a person under
the age of 18 years is guilty of a misdemeanor.
   As used in this section, to "tattoo" means to insert pigment under
the surface of the skin of a human being, by pricking with a needle
or otherwise, so as to produce an indelible mark or figure visible
through the skin.
   This section is not intended to apply to any act of a licensed
practitioner of the healing arts performed in the course of his

On a side note to all this, business is business. If your business is better than mine then you shouldn't have to worry about anything. BUT, i love phone calls that start with, "Homie ima tell you right now im good friends with AKON." Attention AKON and anyone else in the rap industry, someone might be using your name to promote how pathetic they are. But it's all good AKON, i still listen to your music.

So that's really all I have to say on the subject. Ill probably update this later, however in closing ill say this... If you are a patron at a tattoo shop, and the staff is knowledgeable, friendly, intelligent, artistically inclined and not involved with illegal activity, tell someone and keep going there. That's what will make this industry strong. If NOT... go some where else.

  Reverend D -

Reverend D dennis kerwin reverend d san diego california