I saw a story on the news last night about a 9-year-old girl in Texas who is learning to tattoo. (Not anentirely new story, as I found out when I did a Google search today.) Watching it left me with mixed emotions.
While I’m all in favor of this girl going ahead (and of course having a father who owns the tattoo shop makes it spectacularly easy for her) I wonder if the widespread publicity won’t lead other people to believe that if a kid can do it, anyone can.
I read several boards and blogs devoted to body art and from what I’ve read there (I have no personal experience with this) it’s not easy to get an apprenticeship. I do know that the apprenticeship is vitally necessary, because there is a lot more to being a tattoo artist than the general public realizes. (We multicolored people are much more likely to understand.) It’s not just a matter of learning to color inside the lines with a buzzing needle–there are health and safety issues that are of vital importance.
And the girl herself isn’t quite ready for prime time. Her dad has to support the needle apparatus because it’s too heavy for her to hold, and her designs are about what you’d expect from someone her age. But she’s growing, and both her hand strength and designs will improve over time if she keeps at it (the nationwide publicity might well insure that she keeps at it, too).
So I’m torn between cheering for the girl who has already gotten a foot in the door (OK, if your dad owns the shop, it’s not exactly tough) and who may inspire other young people to consider tattooing as a profession, and wondering whether the publicity surrounding her will convince people that there’s nothing special about tattooing if a kid can handle it.
Have you seen the story? What did you think?
Here is about.com’s Karen Hudson’s common sense guide to becoming a tattoo artist.