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Dawn Cooke: Tattoo Ethics

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It’s okay to take up a hobby or make various other works of art. It’s also okay to dedicate your life solely to tattooing and polishing those skills of your craft. It’s okay to just do flash tattoos for your whole career. It’s also acceptable to actually learn how to draw things yourself. I mean putting forth extra effort never hurt anyone. Knock yourself out!

What I see going on besides pure laziness is that people get really wrapped up in a fad. They get super involved in the hype of someone in particular or some particular image or style. They want to emulate it so badly that it is no longer about doing a good clean tattoo or perfecting a skill. It becomes some fantasy about who you wish you were instead of who you actually are.

There’s this notion that if you make friends with the artists’ whose work you admire that somehow you will be next in line for his slot and you will automatically be as cool as he or she is. This is how shallow and ignorant people can be. No one is exempt from this (including me) because I know, from experience, that no matter how much you think you are friends with someone, if it’s not genuine it doesn’t matter.

If you seek friendship out for personal gain that is not true friendship and people will just as easily drop you like a bad habit. Also, anyone willing to be that friend is likely in it for his or her own ulterior motives.

I’m not trying to pass judgment on anyone, only trying to help someone out if I can. There is no finish-line and you never have made it. It’s not like one day you’re going to wake up and be great. You have to aspire to greatness with even the smallest daily tasks, even the dumbest little tattoo, should be your absolute best work.

Get up and go in a little early and whip the dust off something! If you are a leader, lead by example! Go the extra mile once in a while and every day those things add up to greatness.

Don’t be some kiss-ass idiot, or some egotistical prick. Because when it boils down to it, everyone is just trying to make a buck. Just some people have more integrity than others while doing it. And for those people that walk around with some elitist attitude that is just a psychological manipulation and display of insecurity.

If you place others beneath you so that it satiates your ego, which is a terribly sad way to achieve personal satisfaction, it doesn’t matter how good you are or what your name is or who you know. Even if you are talented, you’re still hollow inside if putting someone down brings you up.

Last but not least, treating your clients as though you are above them is really embarrassing! It impresses no one. It makes you look ignorant. It’s okay to be nice to people. It doesn’t affect your skill level or make you less cool to anyone who matters. It will improve your clientele. Believe it or not it doesn’t matter how famous a tattoo artist you are, the rest of the world could care less, unless you are featured on a reality television show.

Then maybe, if you are lucky you get to be some sort of B-list celebrity who gets featured in some tabloid. But that’s a discussion for another day! Get off your ass and have a good day! It’s time for me to do the same…

(Dawn Cooke is a contributing blogger for Tattoo Artist Magazine can be found at Depot Town Tattoo, 33 East Cross St. Ypsilanti, MI 48197 www.dawncooke.net and www.dawncookeart.com)


6 responses

  1. well said,thought you would like to hear it.

    March 28, 2011 at 7:22 PM

  2. Pretty good. Im proud, finally somebody give an advice to those people who feels “specials”.

    March 28, 2011 at 7:24 PM

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  4. Max Wetzel

    That was so well written I read it three times.
    It seems like stuff you should learn during an apprenticeship, but that doesn’t seem to happen anymore.
    We aren’t curing cancer, just making tattoos

    April 1, 2011 at 7:36 PM

  5. Pingback: Dawn Cooke: Tattoo Ethics (via TamBlog) « TamBlog

  6. Well said, well written and straight up. I recently myself came across a guy I knew and helped 10 years ago reply to me recently with a ” I knew you how ? ” . I’m happy he’s successful now, and hope he’s doing well. Cuz he’s dead to me now. Well said Dawn.

    May 6, 2011 at 6:38 PM