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Traditional Tattoo Apprenticeship is an honor bestowed on a person after years of loyalty and dedication. A sacred right of passage that can not be bought and sold. It must be earned.

Tattoo school founders make a mockery of that honor by offering a "fast track", bypassing a very necessary journey into our culture. That road leads nowhere.

These would-be tattoo apprentices are being lied to and taken advantage of with the false promise of success in our trade.

No student of these schools will ever be taken seriously, or hired by any legitimate tattoo shop. Period.

Drop out or Drop dead.

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“The most upsetting thing is that they promise you, if you pay a certain amount of money, that you’re going to be a certified tattoo artist. I don’t know what the fuck that means because it doesn’t exist. You’re going to walk into my shop with a certificate that says you went to tattoo school, I’m going to tell you to get the fuck out of here. To me, it’s a joke.

The people that are the “educators” maybe have two to five years of experience, and these are guys that learned there—they’ve never been anywhere else other than the umbrella of tattoo schools. The main guy, no one knows who he is. He acts like a world famous tattoo artist, but no one knows him and his work’s terrible. And the guy who’s his partner isn’t even tattooed! He’s a money man. To me, this is corporate tattooing. But that’s not what tattooing is about.

This is something that’s handed down from a mentor to a mentee. I hung out in shops and got tattooed, if I saw something out of place I fixed it or saw something that was dirty, I clean it. And that was even before I had my foot in the door. No one is willing to do that these days. They watch TV and say ‘I can do that.’ I would say that 90% of the people taking these classes are basically customers. We make it look easy because we’ve been doing it so long and they think that it’s easy. And the tattoo schools say it’s that easy, which it’s not. They’re basically scamming people. I’ve heard about 50 horror stories within the last month of people who’ve gone there.”

—Eric Perfect


“These schools are in no way accredited. They are not licensed by the board of education anywhere. They’re not zoned as schools and they’re charging people thousands of dollars to learn nothing.

I’ve had people who have gone to these schools come to me and tell me how terrible they are. They try to get you to get a loan so that you can pay for it all upfront.

Whenever I was at the protests, it was mostly immigrants who were attending these schools. It was young girls from South America and they’d just come here saying that they couldn’t learn to tattoo over there.

They’re also targeting Veterans and giving them a discounted rate. They’re taking money from the VA but they’re not an accredited school. To be clear, they’re just interested in the money.”

—Myke Chambers

Tattoo Schools Are Scams...

“The certificate they are given isn’t worth the paper it is printed on. No legitimate shop will recognize it to give you a job. Quite the opposite actually. It tells a potential employer that this person took a shortcut into the business and questions the integrity of that individual.

Being a great artist is one thing but compromising your education and bypassing the journey of a formal Apprenticeship speaks more about that person than how great of an artist they might be.”

—Chad Knight