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Painless13

A Letter To Dick Blick

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I'm not sure where I stand on this issue seeing that I do tattoo out of my home (responsibly) but I do see the dangers in selling equipment to just anybody, lots of gray areas on the subject.

But I will say this to Shortyrock:

If you're truly concerned about home tattooers acquiring the information necessary to work out of their home and not in a shop I'd reconsider your contributions to sites like Ink Trails. You've been a pretty active member in the past, your activity on sites like this are contributing to the problem (as you see it) just as much as the supply companies selling equipment to the general public. Just something to think about.

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Strong Words Softly Spoken....Yep, an emotive subject, which will always be at the forefront of any tattoo forum. Anyway, I need to do the Pudding Dishes now....

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Nippy, you are nuts. I was a bit unsure about it before but now I'm absolutely certain! tongue.png

I gave this topic this some serious thought last night and I came to the conclusion that the entire tattoo industry and culture is going through a huge paradigm shift. From the first tribal markings to the amazing work that is done today, body art is ever evolving. The stigma of having tattoos has been removed. The barrier to obtaining equipment has been removed. And there is no stopping the continued evolution of body art and adornment.

There are people walking around with amazing art on their bodies, and there are people with the most horriffic markings. But you know, none of this is new! It's just that people's awareness of it is increasing.

Many tattoo artists have had a great ride on the wave of acceptance and awareness of the art form. There have been countless television shows, books published and websites dedicated to the art of tattooing. naturally, as the popularity of tattooing grows, so do people's interest in them.

As the world evolves, you have to evolve with it. You can spend your time ranting about how scratches need to be stopped, or you can spend your time becoming a better artist. it's your choice.

On a side note, Skin Candy is supplying ink to Dick Blick. So... who is to blame: the retailer, or the supplier? cool.png

Edited by feral bunny

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Skin Candy , huh ? Not a surprise , given thought . Im a little out of touch - is Candy ink still having the rejection issues it used to see in some colours ?

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someone thinking there hot shit art degree scribble

Im not sure if this little sly is aimed at me but your talking about respect, have some respect for people that have dedicated their time to getting a proper education. I know a lot of artists dont get formal education but talking bad about people that do, thats bull shit, kind of contradicts what your saying about tatooing.

Above anything i would prefer to have an apprentaship, which i am still looking for, but being expected to sit around with my thumb in my ass is again bull shit. I dont tattoo people, i practise proper health and safety, and i'm learning and im happy with that.

I'm in no way hurting the industry. I spaced my paragraphs, deal with it.

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I see that many of you have completely missed the point of this letter. It was written to inform someone NOT in the trade. Some chose to dissect every line to try to argue specific points. That's great, but for what cause? I could have gone into great length in this letter but most people have short attention spans and would lose the point of the letter which was to inform about un licensed, un trained people tattooing with easily obtained good. I could care less about the poor artwork they are doing. I am concerned about the health of their customers. Where as I have taken the time to write this letter, knowing full well that it will fall on deaf ears, many "tattooers" chose to just complain about the problem or say "just let the health department take care of it. How's that working out for you? Many, if not all of you didn't even know about the fact that Dick Blick would be selling Skin Candy pigment and eventually tattoo equipment until you saw this letter. As a worldwide supplier to the trade, I take this seriously and do my best to review each and every customer. I know for a fact that many of the big names do not. So with that, I appreciate all the conversation this has created although no action of any kind will come from it. We tend to be a complacent group of people unwilling to solve problems just bitch about them.

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Nippy nailed every point he addressed right on the head. It's amazing the amount of hypocrisy there is from artists who are constantly telling everyone to do it right by getting an apprenticeship, yet never had one themselves. Sure, they learned over the years and their skills got better...but a look at the early work often reveals less than stellar, and often horrible, results. And there are also those who are licensed and have been tattooing for years, yet still suck balls at it. Everyone has to start somewhere...so it's best to start in the most informed and patient way possible. I definitely don't agree with someone simply buying a kit and then going to town on their friends who simply want a cheap or free tattoo. But I don't see anything wrong with someone who takes the time to develop their skills using pig skin, practices proper H&H precautions, and actively seeks the advice of others.

At no point did I tell anyone what to do or how to do it.

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Did I say "just let the health dept take care of it" ? Did I ? Before you start flying off at people for cherry picking your stuff for quotes you may want to look at your own use of same technique . You may not have bothered to read my post but I was pretty much alongside you....I merely suggested there were other targets for your letter TOO , AS WELL , that in my experience have yeilded additional results . Do , do , try not to be an arse . I am on your side .

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Did I say "just let the health dept take care of it" ? Did I ? Before you start flying off at people for cherry picking your stuff for quotes you may want to look at your own use of same technique . You may not have bothered to read my post but I was pretty much alongside you....I merely suggested there were other targets for your letter TOO , AS WELL , that in my experience have yeilded additional results . Do , do , try not to be an arse . I am on your side .

Didn't mention you at all Shocker, didn't even have you in mind when I responded. The health dept thing is something I hear many people say

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In that case I withdraw , although others may see it as aimed at me as I DID mention that getting the local authorities involved would be a good way to apply extra pressure , so I am glad we cleared that up and are all friends again now .smile.png

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At no point did I tell anyone what to do or how to do it.

Sorry for the misunderstanding Painless, but I wasn't implying that you did say anything like that. I was just stating my general position...and in reference to artists who have been interviewed saying one thing while promoting something completely opposite. None of that was directed at you or anything you said.

To add further, should Dick Blick be selling tattoo equipment and supplies? Probably not, because they don't know anything about the business. It's probably best left to those suppliers who are a part of the industry. But then again, I agree with others that it's on Skin Candy for selling to them to begin with. I agree with you that it's up to each supplier to "review each and every customer" however they feel necessary. But at the same time, however, I don't think that necessarily means not selling to anyone who isn't working in an actual studio...so long as they're adhering to proper precautions. Can a supplier ever truly verify that? Not necessarily, and that's the dilemma. But even licensed shops can look like utter shitholes. It's a complicated topic, no doubt.

Edited by lohryx5

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Ok,

Ok, I will try and break this down, and why I disagree, with some points...

"Tattooing is a profession in which an individual undergoes an apprenticeship for at least 2 years. In that time, he or she is taught the proper, safe way to tattoo. They learn all aspects of tattooing. The history, technical aspects, cross contaminations precautions, proper sterilization techniques, and proper set up and break down of their work stations among many other areas of the trade.".... In a perfect world Yes, however, many "apprenticeships" are flawed, and bear in mind, you will only learn what your "mentor " teaches you, and what process they use.Does the cost of your "apprenticeship" reflect your "mentors" skill, or does demand make it a lucrative market.

"Professional tattooers tend to purchase their supplies, i.e. machines, pigments, needles, tubes etc. from reputable, trusted suppliers who limit their sale to professionals only." I agree.

"This is done to protect the public from what is known in the industry as a "Scratcher". Can you explain this, I am Licensed/Registered, how does the fact I buy some products from Barber DTS or Eikon, protect the public from going to a Scratcher.

"A "Scratcher" is someone who choses not to learn the safe practices that are constantly evolving. These people scar, disfigure and spread infection and disease to unsuspecting "clients". These people usually tattoo in their homes. They buy their supplies on auction sites or from unrepeatable suppliers from over seas who care only about making money." This is a generalization, I know some, "Scratchers" who work under more stringent H&H procedures than some "Studios", are you implying that all tattooists who operate from outwith a Studio, or from their own homes,"scar, disfigure and spread infection and disease to unsuspecting clients" . If you believe this, you need to do some more background checks.

"They buy their supplies on auction sites or from unrepeatable suppliers from over seas who care only about making money.". C'mon, get real, ALL SUPPLIERS need and want to make money, just because some companies can undercut, and the products are to an acceptable standard, what is the problem....I purchase from, Hairdressing Suppliers, Chemical Firms, Cleaning Stores, and a whole lot other, why, simple, because, most mainline tattoo suppliers, who only sell to registered tattooists, are too expensive...I am fully registered, and my premises is licensed, I have no allegiance to any one supplier..

Overall, I understand, that certain stores shouldn't stock essential tattoo supplies, like quality ink, needles, and "top-end machines". However, I totally disagree with your generalisation of the term "scratcher"..This Industry, and it is an Industry, not some secret Craft, needs to wake up to the fact, that some people will go to people who work from home, maybe because it's cheaper, maybe because the local Studio is a dive, maybe because the dude working from home is better....Who knows, but "Scratchers" are here to stay.I have said this before, and I will say it again, there is a Fukin world of difference from someone, who for one reason or another, can't get an apprentiship, and some fuker who buys a kit and just starts drilling his friends......I am fukin sick of hearing, peeps saying, shit like you should relocate if no shop in your area has any vacancies, fuk that.Get real, a wife and a couple of kids and you need to move all them, maybe give up your bill paying job, to chase a dream, in an Industry which is eating it's own fukin ass...Shit, do it right, do it safe, there is no other way, and it don't need to be in a Shop....Peace,P....

The above views, are mine and mine alone...You might agree, you might not...However, I am fully Registered, and my Premises is Licensed(UK)...I have hated the term Scratcher for as long as I first heard it...There is more than one group of people who apply tattoos, here is what I think...

Tattoo Artists..Top of the Tree, can do Freehand, Portraits, fukn anything on Skin, operates from a Studio which adheres to safe working practices.

Tattooists..Freehand, Flash, can work on demand, operates from a Studio which adheres to safe working practices.

Scratchers..Can be a mix of the above skills, adheres to safe working practices, doesn't work, or own a Studio.

Cumwad.( Cover Up Makers Without Any Desire)...Watches Miami/London/LA Ink, buys a kit, starts drawing on his Friends, without any precautions, because of ignorance. Doesn't care what a Studio is.

Just my opinion....Peace,P.

I agree with a lot of wat u said mate, to me the term scratcher has nothing to do with where one works, but everything to do with how one works, quality/hygiene etc... I don't think painless started this thread to debate the meaning of scratcher.....

I think it really comes down to is the added convenience of just being able to buy ur inks there worth all the fuck ups un educated people are gonna make when they go to the store to steal a marker to graphiti with at school an say "oh shit, they sell tattoo stuff here, musnt be too hard, I'll get some".

obviously this is worst case scenario but I fail to see how selling tattoo equipment at the local shops could b a good thing, or a step in the right direction. and I am in no way one of the tattooers who think the industry should b a secret society or any of that bullshit, but apprenticeship or not, there's a right way to do it an a wrong way. if u do ur research there's plenty of places u can get good supplies from without being in a shop.

let's say they sell a ton of ink, how long till they start stocking tattoo machines next to the air brushes an needles next to the paintbrushes......

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Whole lot a yamming in here, but no one has asked and answered the most important question

Is Dick Blick gonna start selling Pelikans again? My bottle is getting low and I need to re-up! ph34r.png

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I gotta question; how many of you guys smoke?

You wanna talk about corporate irresponsibility? Tobacco causes death in one manner or another, that is certain. It has zero health benefits and a long list of deleterious hazards, yet how many of you use tobacco and therefore support these evil corporate profit whores? Written any letters to the tobacco companies urging them to stop killing people every year by the tens of thousands? No? Didn't think so. A scratcher may or may not be harming his clients, but tobacco companies are, they are harming every single one of their customers. They are probably a slightly more aggressive risk to the general population than scratchers.

Now lets talk about mechanics tools? Anybody here got any wrenches or other hand tools? Are YOU an ASE certified automotive technician? Then who sold you those tools? Why, they should be soundly flogged for putting professional automotive tools in the hands of a "shade tree mechanic." Think of the cars you could damage or destroy without proper training to use those tools. You gotta be an apprentice and blah blah blah blah........

Get my drift?

Tattooing is like anything else, people were doing it before any training for it existed and the world didn't end. Some of the most talented artists in the trade began their careers as scratchers. Where there is market demand, I.E. an opportunity to make profit by fulfilling a need, suppliers for that demand are sure to follow. The suppliers are RESPONDING to market conditions, NOT CREATING THEM. So why does the market exist for wholesalers? Because tattooing was a closed industry for years. Things are changing and now more people than ever want to tattoo, but the industry was not set up to go mainstream, the industry it's self is still being operated like a secret society by many artists who are unable to see the changes going on; and the miopic suppliers who only sell to licensed pros. There are dinosaurs in every industry I guess, and they hurt their respective industries by being resistant to changes that they can't stop. I personally would like to see the industry taken over by people who started out as scratchers, and with the number of tattoo kit suppliers, that looks like a real possibility.

Tattooing needs a cleansing like dirty old colon. Get the old dinosaurs out, get the egocentric, arrogance out. Judge people solely on their abilities, not their method of learning tattooing. How many potential Paul Booth's have tried to enter the tattooing industry only to be discouraged by lack of availability of supplies or the general pissy, arrogant, pomposity of many artists? How many more Paul Booths would there be if equipment were made more available? And what is it that really scares guys like Shorty? Is it fear of new talent? I ask because his reply to this thread didn't sound like he was really terrified of total strangers infecting other total strangers with diseases. Or giving them crappy tattoos. Crappy tattoos are like STD's, prevention is a pipe dream because people are always gonna have unprotected sex, and there are always gonna be scratchers and people who get tattooed by them for whatever the reason. Besides, I have seen more crappy tat's from shops than scratchers; and that's the truth.

Also remember, it wasn't the tobacco companies who voluntarily decided not to sell to minors, that was a law that was passed to protect them from the harmful effects of tobacco. Now all we need is for tattooing to become as big a public health hazard as smoking, and our benevolent governments will gladly step in to write dozens of stupid laws restricting the possession of tattooing gear to licensed professionals. With any luck being busted with a tattoo machine would carry a stiffer penalty than a bail of marijuana, right?

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I don't really understand a lot of the replys here...I thought the issue is pretty black an white....wat good can this do to the industry ?

I started from home, an I still do a lot of work from home. my argument isn't against anyone from trying to be a tattooist, the equipment is fairly accessible if u spend an hour researching on the web. but why in the hell would we want huge store chains to stock tattoo equipment ? wat good could this do ?

how many people are gonna decide to buy it on a spur of the moment type thing, cause it sounds cool ? with out ever having thought about it, but coz its so readily available they have a crack at it.....the ink shows have already done a lot to the public's opinion of tattoos, the consensus of "oh, anyone can do it" wat do u think will happen if they can buy the equipment same time they buy groceries ?

vir infricticus, ur mechanics tool comparison is ludicrous, I don't think it even needs to b explained why....and about the tobacco companies, so wat ? becoz there's bigger evils out there we shouldn't b concerned by this as tattooists ? who has more right to try to direct the industry than those that actually live the culture, and love it, that's us, me, u an everyone else in this thread...... .......

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Wanna know what's funny?

My local head shop sells tattoo equipment. Machines, power supplies, tubes, needles... all of it is easily accessible by anyone with the money.

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I don't really understand a lot of the replys here...I thought the issue is pretty black an white....wat good can this do to the industry ?

I started from home, an I still do a lot of work from home. my argument isn't against anyone from trying to be a tattooist, the equipment is fairly accessible if u spend an hour researching on the web. but why in the hell would we want huge store chains to stock tattoo equipment ? wat good could this do ?

how many people are gonna decide to buy it on a spur of the moment type thing, cause it sounds cool ? with out ever having thought about it, but coz its so readily available they have a crack at it.....the ink shows have already done a lot to the public's opinion of tattoos, the consensus of "oh, anyone can do it" wat do u think will happen if they can buy the equipment same time they buy groceries ?

vir infricticus, ur mechanics tool comparison is ludicrous, I don't think it even needs to b explained why....and about the tobacco companies, so wat ? becoz there's bigger evils out there we shouldn't b concerned by this as tattooists ? who has more right to try to direct the industry than those that actually live the culture, and love it, that's us, me, u an everyone else in this thread...... .......

Yeah, I was being sarcastic with the thing about the tools. Look, answer me this, what other industustry exists into which entrance is granted only by invitation? Maybe tattooing shouldn't be made available to everybody, but it's better than it being available to only those who are buddies with tattoo artists. One reason I think I am having a hard time getting into a shop is that I don't fit the mold of a tattoo artist. I am a middle aged business man with no visible tattoos. I don't fit in with the people in shops, they are either young and inked from head to toe, or old timers who don't apprentice, and look at me side ways anyway. So, I don't deserve a chance in this because I don't fit the image?

I think everyone who wants to succeed in this field should have the opportunity to fail at it on their own merrits. Obviously the best way to learn tattooing is to have someone show you how to do it. The industry should ban together and form some sort of technical training institute to teach the craft. By trying to keep the status quo, the old school way of apprenticeship-by-invitation-only has succeeded in producing scratchers who have no other means of learning but to go it alone. I don't want to be a scratcher. I hate the very idea of it, but what are my choices? For a while I considered a tattoo school, but after a discussion here with Nate I came to my senses. Thanks Nate. But you know what? Even if there was an industry sanctioned training institue for tattooing, there would have to be entrance standards in place, and therefore some applicants would be rejected for lack of talent or whatever reason, and then they would go be scratchers anyway, so the whole issue of scratchers is really that they will always be here. So since they are here and they aren't going anywhere, is too much to ask that they be able to get their hands on some decent inks and other supplies?

By the way, the shop where I have had all my work done sells tattoo supplies to anyone over 18. It would be really weird to see tattoo supplies available in Wal Mart. Honestly the prospect frightens me. If home tatooing is that popular, well, that's just scary. But I don't think the demand is there. Some chain store may see all the tattoo shows on tv and see all the kits available on ebay and they think everybody is doing it, so lets sell supplies to them. But everybody isn't doing it. This is probably a test marketing thing and it won't last. They won't sell enough of it to make it worth their while; that's just my guess. But what do I know?

So anyhoo, for now I'll keep reading Ink Trails and learn what I can from that.

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i understand your point that reputable suppliers should only sell to professionals. but i doubt this makes any positive difference.. people will get their shit from ebay.. and if they cant get the good supplies, they ll just get chinese crap and tattoo anyway. was actually shocked to see painful pleasures were at one point selling items for cheaper marked as expired... now THAT is fucked up to me...

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You don't fit the mold of a "tattoo artist"

Hell Im a black 33 year old male who's in the Navy,drives muscle cars, and listens to hip hop all day....

My mentor was a 36 year old Gangster Disciple from North Carolina who's a predicate felon

The guy who first introduced me to tattooing is Mexican, a Gangster Disciple from Chicago, and is also a sailor

and.....

wait a minute...never mind I guess we do fit!! hahaha cool.png

Nah but for real, the cool part about tattooing is that it is hard to get into and that not everyone can do it or makes it....that's puts you in the group of a dope few...I like that because it's NOT giving and readily availible...you GOTTA earn it and push thru it just to make it......

However,

The whole scratcher thing is kinda played in my eyes, it's very hypocritical at times and some of these cats attitudes do suck more dick than a bukakke session...My apprenticeship started out rough, it sucked, I got jerked around a bit cause of certains things, but I stood determined and stuck it out, meet my mentor and it's been a wrap ever since...I'll NEVER do my apprentices how I got done but it's gonna be a challenge....I ain't handing shit out, the game is to be sold not told baby haha...I'm teaching you an old trade and as much as I joke around I take it more and more serious everyday. I'm more concerned with skill and peoples character than anything else, I know and remembe my beginings and how I got into this, I also know how my mentors and friends who now tattoo got into it so what do I look like fronting on somebody because they got there start out of the house or learned from some cats in the bing and now they wanna get to a shop and get down and learn the right way? If it wasn't for those type of people I wouldn't be tattooing now.

I don't agree with our shit being sold to the general public unless you got skills and know what the hell your doing, I don't believe that it should be sold to wholesale suppliers. I support the artists in the trade. The folks who know what the hell they are doing and do this for a living and give back to the craft and support the culture and make a dope product.

Now fuck skin candy somebody get Dick Blick to start selling PELIKANS again!!!!!

Edited by SlickSquid

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everything slick just said I agree with 100%.

vir infracticus, nobody gave me an invitation to tattoo, I busted my arse reading an practicing for the last 6 years to get where I am now. i am not trained an have never done an apprenticeship. i have learnt it all bymyself an off inktrails etc..I only know of a very select few that have had an "invite" an guess wat, they didn't last... if ur the kind of person who needs the easy way ie: supplies available at the mall/ a cookie cutter tattoo school, than maybe u should remain a middle aged business man. just coz u found tattooing a lil later in life than some doesn't mean someone will hold ur hand through this bullshit.

but why are we discussing how damaging scratches are/arnt? this isn't about that, its about big business trying to get in on tattooing an make a dollar off of it, if profitable, it won't stop at blicks or with inks.

theyres no reason why soooo many people should need immediate access to tattoo equipment. it just further waters the industry down to no different than a make up artists.

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the tattoo industry is FUCKED UP has been for years

the only thing that counts nowadays is money

name me 5 companies that actually DO sell to pros only

bet a cant

ima shut up now................

Edited by mark101

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I think that having TATTOO company's on the net say they "only sell to pros" but don't really check is still better than a shop in the mall that says "hey, why not grab some tattoo inks while ur here for that back to school sale"...

just coz our situation isn't ideal doesn't mean we shouldnt be upset about it getting worse..

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Wow painless , what a thread you got started here . Now I can't comment on your letter from the point of a pro in the trade ( being that I am a selftaught amature ) but as a man of understanding ... I will say you are 100% correct .

Your letter will fall on deaf Ears .

The reason ........ It does not make the sound ka_ching ka_ching ! This is the only sound a large corp. Such as Blick will hear. They are not concerned with the down fall of your industry or the supposed disease spreading senerio of the uneducated with access ( because these things could never be pinned on them . Therefore no liability ). If you want them to listen then you must appeal to their self intrest $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ . Find a way to show them an increase in revenue by not selling tattoo supplys or a decrease in revenue by selling said supplys and they will listen with both ears.

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I might be naive/stupid, possibly both wouldn't be the first time.... however, does anybody else feel the blame, may lie, not with the Store selling the items, but with the lack of morals from the maker of the product, in this case ink.

I can buy from any company, I will shop around and see what deals are happening, I will purchase certain items from the USA, and others from the UK, I will also stock up, ink caps and gromms from China...I said before I have no allegiance with any one company. Here is my gripe, the maker of this product "Skin Candy" I believe, is from a tattooing background/pedigree/heritage etc etc, and decides to sell in a mainstream store, if it wasn't with D Blick, it would be someone else.......I would be more concerened if Dick Blick made his own inks and sold them along with the Dick Blick tattoo "Gun" gift set.Then again, I wouldn't be surprised..

Good topic, nice to see there is still passion out there...

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Unfortunately Nippy , it does'nt really matter where the blame is placed , it is inevitable . Greed is greed .

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