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Stef Pitera: What It’s All About

By Stef Pitera
After all these years doing this, suddenly a simple question pops up; What is it all about? It has been underlined many times recently by many people. The industry is changing. And that’s a fact. I can’t say I have been tattooing 20 or 30 years like a few people I’ve had the pleasure to meet, work with or learn from. But I’ve been in this long enough to witness the change…

This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing but it’s sure that the medal has two faces. It’s up to everybody to adapt to the evolution of this profession, in the same way the tattooist left the dirty little space tattooing sailors next to the bar decades ago for a proper shop.

As many, I feel the loss of underground charm and respect transmitted by the old tattoo parlours. But as long as the attitude is the right one this profession will always keep its dignity. This is the point of this blog.

I have been on the road for the last five years and this means working in many different shops and conventions all over the world with many different people. Unfortunately, too often (especially amongst the younger artists) the new generation, which I’m part of… I notice that the main point of being a tattooist is a bit lost, misunderstood, confused or however you wanna name it. In my view being a tattooist means to pull out a cool tattoo whatever comes through the door. Producing on the side good flash, paintings, sketchbooks and whatever related.

Then you may have the consequence of developing your own style, being known for it, getting your name out there, etc.

But that’s what we must not forget… Whatever comes through the door. Nowadays it seems the main focus is to get popular quickly. To look good, to identify you in a cool lifestyle, to appear in magazines, blogs, interviews, shows etc. Spending more time on promoting yourself than on actual drawing, painting, going through books…

Often I heard, “No, I don’t do that, I just do traditional… neo-traditional… new-school… neo-bullshit… I’m too good to do that.” Or swearing because you got asked to do a name, a star, a tribal design…

I reckon a good tattooist (term that I prefer to “tattoo artist” to remind the “craft” part of it) has to be a bit all-rounded and be able to deliver a good tattoo under every circumstances. Every style or subject requires a good technique, knowledge of your tools and know how to pull out a good result.

I’m lucky for working next to people who made this a personal trademark. The main thing that impressed me is how after 30 years tattooing you may still be so meticulous with EVERY SINGLE TATTOO. I saw 100 percent focus on a bodysuit as on a name on the wrist. This is the shit.

Waking up every day, loving what will come though the door, dedicating yourself to that person as he deserves and remember who you are. A tattooist. Not a rock star.

I guess this is what it’s all about

(Stef can be found at Royal Tattoo in Denmark or at the following site: www.gentsteftattooing.com.)

2 responses

  1. You say”Then you may have the consequence of developing your own style, being known for it, getting your name out there, etc” then you say “Nowadays it seems the main focus is to get popular quickly”.Isnt that the same thing or am I reading it wrong.I think I know what you mean and I think I know what you are trying to say.
    Guys are doing flash and doing books but it mostly looks like crap or if it is ok it looks like everything else.Guys dont understand why they are doing things they are just doing it because others are doing it so they think it is right.Just like putting out sketchbooks ,flash or writting blogs.Everyone wants to talk about what this is all about but no one has an answer.It is a job and I think when everyone realizes that and stops treating it like a status and starts working hard things will change.Like you said we are tattooers not rock stars.When people looking to get tattooed realize what is good and not just cute or colored fancy things will change.Smoke and mirrors man.

    December 27, 2011 at 12:51 PM

  2. Hey buddy, sometimes I may get misunderstood as english is not my first language.
    What I tried to say is that the main focus is to do tattoos and get better at it evey day. Then whatever comes should be a natural consequence, not the other way round.

    December 28, 2011 at 6:44 AM

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