By Dawn Cooke
I am speaking to you from deep within the trenches of this silent war. I reside inside of the tattoo community. I’m deep within the middle ranks of those that have lasted over 10 years in the trade. There is a war between the real traditionalists who are true to their craft and the tattoo rock and roll super star wanna-bes. This is more of a mentality than it is a style per se.
What I mean is that there are those of us who love tattooing for it’s rich history and the purity of the art form and then there are those of us who only care about what tattooing can get them. Some of us are in it purely for the art sake others are here for an ego boost. So with that said here are the reasons the tattoo community hates reality TV, without being too obvious. Plus some great new artists I have come to know about!
- These shows and people who make them are missing the point altogether. Tattooing is counter culture not consumer culture. It’s theorized that all counter culture eventually becomes consumer culture. But tattoos aren’t like dollar store trinkets that you throw away in a year, made in some Chinese factory. Tattoos are permanent and what makes a tattoo good is it’s longevity as the skin is aging.
- They have no idea about the richness of history that is continually being shaped and unearthed regarding tattoo culture nor do they seem to have any genuine interest in it.
- They mindlessly exploit the culture on a whole that most of us in the trenches hold sacred. The culture that we live, love, and have tried to make meaningful contributions to… they’re trying to cash in on something they have no clue or concern about!
- They claim to be reality yet at every casting interview you are directed about what to say and how to say it. The footage is directed and edited to suit the purpose of the production first and foremost and the concern is ratings and nothing else. There’s no uncovering of a deeper meaning in any of these shows that I have noticed and I have suffered through a few of them hoping for something good to come of it.
- Producers and casting agents don’t do their homework. They have hardly any idea about who is or isn’t respected in the tattoo community (unless they ask Oliver)… and that’s only one perspective. It takes constant research to keep up with that!
- Their main objective is to sensationalize which goes along with ratings again but it makes the whole thing unauthentic. We can tell. Not everyone is a drooling idiot.
- They treat artists like fresh meat. They just riffle though them like a douche bag on a quest to see how many one night stands they can get.
- Tattoo artists aren’t actors! So just hire actors and write a good script already! Hire us to draw on the tattoos!
- Be creative and pick a new topic you’ve already beat this one to DEATH! Do a reality show about a dive bar and the bar flies who go there…anything!
- Tattooing is boring to watch! Unless you’re getting a tattoo or doing one it’s basically uneventful!!!!! Get over it! It’s time for a “where are they now”, a reunion show, with dream sequence and montages of the highlights of those old shows! If you want to do something exciting pick an artist to follow and see what it’s like to be in that persons shoes….. Even then you will probably figure out that all we do is draw and look at books!!! Unless you pick a “model” with big tits and then we can just watch hours of bouncing tits. No talking please, it’s unnecessary! No one wants to hear the word “tattoo” over and over.
The “reality” is that it takes immense dedication, fortitude, time and money to be a tattoo artist or a serious tattoo collector. Most of this is lost in the flashy bullshit you see on these shows. How about a no bullshit TV show? Ever see the movie Network ? Give me the raw Truth! So I don’t mean to be snarky. I’m all for promoting a healthy outlook on our culture but I just feel they are missing the mark a little bit. I can’t say I could do better but if I had a million dollar budget I bet I could.
By Deb Yarian
I’m past middle age now, so I was a child when TV was still fairly young and I still remember when television was broadcast only in B & W. I also remember when there were only 7 channels (and this was in NYC), the three major networks, three local networks and the public broadcast network. They came on early in the morning, ran programs and commercials throughout the day – but ended sometime after midnight, culminating with a picture of a waving American flag, the playing of the national anthem and then dead air and static, literally static- till they resumed broadcasting in the morning.
When the weekly TV guide came out, I would plot my viewing for the days ahead- first searching for my favorite shows, then looking for any specials or movies I wanted to watch and then i’d adjust my schedule for time conflicts.
This continued, to a degree through my teens, when other interests like REAL LIFE got in the way of my television viewing habits.
Fast forward thirty- years… I’ve changed- tv viewing has changed.
I still enjoy watching a few series that I have set to record. I still love watching movies and can do so on any of the many movie viewing options available – in color, high def etc, and so goes the evolution of my tv watching.
When I first became aware of tattoos, as a teenager in the 70s, and started tattooing, I was also acutely aware of the absence of tattoos and tattooing on TV.
Tattooing was still an underground art then and tattoos just did not fit in to everyday, mainstream American life… there was little, if any, mention or presence of them on TV or in the movies with the exception of a couple of movies: The Illustrated Man,1969 and Tattoo, 1981 as well as an occasional documentary or the very rare appearance of a tattooer on TV.
Courtesy of Spike TV: Spike has more skin in the game going into season two of its highest-rated original series Ink Master, which returns Tuesday, October 9 at 10 PM, ET/PT, with back-to-back one-hour episodes. This season the ante is raised, now with 16 top tattoo artists from around the country battling it out in permanent ink for a $100,000 grand prize, an editorial feature in the preeminent tattoo magazine Inked and the bragging rights title of ‘Ink Master.’ Following the Ink Master double episode premiere, new episodes will telecast Tuesdays at 10 PM, ET/PT and culminate with a LIVE season finale in December… Watch the trailer for Season 2 here: http://www.spike.com/video-clips/9scve2/ink-master-season-2-trailer (more…)
By Rachael Harrington
Louis Molloy started off in tattooing in the backstreets of Manchester, England in the 1970s. Back then, tattooing had just begun to grow beyond its ‘sailors and whores’ image in the West, being firmly adopted by the counter-culture. Then, around the time Louis made his first tentative steps into the world of tattooing, real artists began to embrace the form. The young Louis had a talent for art, but he also had a fascination for the underground world of tattooing. Teenage Louis was an outsider, but tattooing gave him a place to belong, and someone to be. According to an interview he gave, Louis’ first inspiration was the iconic record sleeves of the time. Already caught up in the tattoo scene, record-sleeve art gave him the inspiration he needed to start his journey towards being a tattoo artist, rather than a just hanging out in the scene… (more…)
Oliver Peck: Hey everyone, in case you didn’t see already they are casting for Season 2 of Ink Master. I have nothing to do with the casting process but would love to see some great tattooers on the show this season, I know a lot of good tattooers turned it down before, and I understand, but if you think you could be up for the challenge it is fuckin’ fun and an amazing experience. And of course the more good tattooers we get on here the better it is for the tattoo community. They are going to make this show with or without us… So might as well be with us!
Ink Master: We are in search of highly skilled tattoo artists from across the country! If you have the creativity, artistic skills and personality to impress the judges, we want to meet you in person at one of our Open Casting Calls!
Bio from Tyson McAdoo’s Site:
Born from the secret love affair between a famed Scottish ballerina and the Wolfman, Tyson McAdoo spent his younger years leaping and howling in the dark woods of Carlisle. At age 18 his talents of corn dog sculpture garnered the attention of the Joe Kubert School of Cartooning and Graphic Arts… [Video and Pictures on expanded page] (more…)