Chad Knight – The Blight of Tattooing Explained.

Chad Knight Philadelphia tattoo artist

Chad Knight is a 20+ year tattoo veteran from Philadelphia. He is one of the tattoo artists spear heading the fight against the scam tattoo schools. He is helping to rally tattoo artists to stand up and come together to protect the trade. I’ll let the episode speak for itself, as we discuss whats going on with the so called tattoo schools.


Chad Knight:

Instagram: @mr_nicenasty

The Tattooer Podcast:


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David Meek:

Instagram @thetattooerspodcast @davidmeektattoos


Eric Perfect – Philly’s finest tattooers protect the trade.

Eric Perfect interviewed on The Tattooers Podcast by David Meek

  • The First 60 seconds of this Podcast is a tattoo school founder explaining his assault on tattooing.

Philly’s finest tattooers protect the trade w/ Eric Perfect

Eric is a tattooer of 27 years and has seen his fair share of bullshit when it comes to tattooing. And the recent uprising of  Tattoo Schools is no exception. There have always been people trying to make a buck off of tattooing especially since the rise of its popularity in today’s culture. Tattoos are fashionable but that comes with some drawbacks as well as some benefits.

In the beginning of this episode we will hear from the tattoo school man himself. Explaining that he was failing at the job he is trying to teach people….That blows my mind…

The tattoo school drawback is that now, in a few short months and thousands of dollars later, a young naive person can become a “tattoo artist”. [I use quotations and the term tattoo artist very loosely here] All at the expense of the genreal public. Its the customers and clients that we have worked so hard to give the best of oursleves and give the best possible tattoos we can. Mind you there are always crappy tattoo artists doing tattoos they shouldn’t be doing and Im probably one of them.  But to set this as the standard is not only decienving the would be  tattoo artists but the general public into thinking that these tattoos are ok. I have my own opinions of whats right and wrong about this but ill let Eric Perfect, Chad Knight and Myke Chambers explain the situation in Philly. So stay tuned for the upcoming episodes with those fellas. Til then please enjoy Eric Perfect.

For more info on what is going on please visit or follow Eric on Instagramand Facebook


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Chad Knight – Tattoo lineage, a time-honored and sacred tradition.

Receiving International coverage this week.
Beccy Rimmer of UK Inkluded interviews Chad Knight.

Earlier this month I posted a blog on why tattooists all over the world are standing up against tattoo schools. This week, I chat to tattoo artist Chad Knight about why this campaign is so important for the industry.

Chad works at Black Vulture Gallery in Philadelphia. Along with tattooists Eric Perfect and Myke Chambers, he’s been committed to educating the public about these tattoo schools and why they are, in fact, irresponsible and damaging. Read the original blog for background information and now, I’ll let Chad do the talking…

Chad Knight, Instagram @mr_nicenasty

Why are tattoo schools so bad for the industry?

A school bypasses the sacred journey of apprenticeship. The knowledge passed down from a real experienced mentor can not be substituted in a classroom run by inexperienced students.

These students are basically left to their own devices to slowly figure out over the course of weeks and months, what actually takes many years, patting each other on the back for any little bit of progress they might achieve.

This actually stagnates true progress because under the guidance of a true professional less time is wasted teaching essential skills.

For anyone that doesn’t know – explain why an apprenticeship is so valuable.

An apprenticeship is valuable to not only the student but the mentor as well. This person is chosen to represent their tattoo lineage and carry on a time-honoured and sacred tradition.

The journey of apprenticeship instills a feeling of pride and protection of the sacred art of tattoo. Not everyone who wants to tattoo is suited for the job. The mentors first course of action is to make that determination so as not to waste valuable time and energy on someone who might not make it to the end. It is his gift to give and pass on. It’s not something that everyone is entitled to.

Tattooing is not a job – it’s a life and a family that you are entering into. The concept of a tattoo school waters this process down for a profit and misleads even those who don’t have what it takes and keeps milking their money until it’s all gone. This only wastes the time of the individual being victimised and is very profitable for the school.

Getting shit together and educating the public about the pyramid scheme known as #arttattooschool We will be at every seminar they hold to make sure people are well informed of what they will be in for attending a phony unaccredited “tattoo school” All the bullshit going on in tattooing is going to be dealt with one at a time because the interlopers and culture vultures have been allowed to rape this craft at will and we will not let these things go unchallenged any longer!! My new mantra is “BE THE CHANGE!” I really like that! So my brothers and sisters, let’s BE THE CHANGE!! Next up will be tattoo suppliers not run by tattooers or nontattooed people that are supplying these schools as well as tattoo conventions that allow these schools to recruit students there!! FUCK IT!! We’ve had it!! The link for the site is in my bio, help support!! #academyofresponsibletattooing #arttattooschoolfuckoff #fuckfakes #fucktattooschools #fuckapprenticemills #fucktattooschools #fuckcorporatetattooing #fuckcorporatetattooculture #oursnotyours #maketattooinggreatagain #peacefulprotest #istandwithphilly

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Do you think these schools have profit as their main mission?

Absolutely. It’s an obvious pyramid scheme where all profit goes to the top. The labour is free and actually paid for by the victims – it’s a win win for the head CEO.

This is corporate tattooing, accessible to everyone willing to take any short-cut, compromising their full education into the tattoo community. Real history isn’t even taught because their philosophy of not protecting the art-form goes completely against everything a real tattooer would ever believe.

For me it all comes down to quality of tattoo art and it feels like some of these businesses aren’t concerned with this, and are potentially teaching bad skills sending bad tattoos out on bodies of the world. Would you agree? Does quality come into it?

The quality of work from the school is vastly diminished due to the lack of experience in the staff. Their definition of quality is much less than that of the eye of a veteran skilled tattooer. The new standard set by the school is much lower than where it should be. Anyone with two eyes and a brain can look at pictures and compare good and bad.

The graduates are ill-prepared for real world experience due to the watered down version of the business they have been taught. They aren’t completing masterpieces but rather copyright infringing others’ artwork and doing horrible renditions of Pinterest designs often brought to them by a customer. The school sees no real problem with that which is unacceptable – it’s not considered a way to make yourself a legitimate artist.

Instagram @eric_perfect

Your campaign has had an amazing response so far! It feels to me like the entire industry would back something like this. Has it been a long time coming?

Definitely. We as tattooers sat idly by and allowed this type of thing to happen. It’s our industry and now our responsibility to educate and stop further pillage of our craft. If we don’t speak up now our voices won’t be heard in the future. We’ve waited too long already. It’s now or never.

Photo: No Tattoo School

How can we help spread the word as tattoo enthusiasts?

Check out the website on which we will update when victims of the scam come forward and are pointed in the right direction. Once these scammers see a decrease in their pockets they won’t want anything to do with tattooing.

Anything else about the project that I haven’t touched upon already that you want to talk about?

This school is a pyramid scheme praying on the hopes of and dreams of anyone wanting to get into the tattoo world. The students quickly become tattooers and then educators. They make false promises and are attempting to create a corporate counter-culture to existing tattoo culture.

Their business model cannot survive without the school. They are adamantly against us. They say they are responsible, inferring we are not. They hope to bleed tattooing dry by eventually becoming the standard of tattoo education.

They have patent-pending text-books and a clear curriculum and pathway to tattooing laid out. Getting into the tattoo world is not that easy and that’s for a reason. The time and effort that it takes to become a great tattooer takes more than a classroom environment can really nurture. It’s a one on one intimate environment led by a skilled mentor that protects the art and the time together that can be intense.

Watering down an already over-saturated craft with sub-part teaching and unskilled workers is not beneficial to actual growth in this industry. It is flat out irresponsible.

Work in progress tattoo sleeve by Chad

Some of these schools are more than just schools – they are closer to being cults, discouraging students from associating with any tattooers not from the school, it’s an obvious case of brain-washing. Former students have come forward and disclosed this to us.

We are not just a group of disgruntled old-timers. We have no problem with a new shop in our area. We welcome growth and good, responsible good tattooing. The school is not that.

For more information visit

Tim Hendricks – The Importance of Traditional Tattoo Apprenticeship.

Tim Hendricks and his apprentice Bryan ✞ Black stand with tattoo legend Thom DeVita.

Hendricks speaks on the importance of Traditional Tattoo Apprenticeships, patience, hard work, and integrity.

This me and my apprentice @_bryan_black_ taking a photo with the legendary Thom DeVita. Many years ago Bryan asked me to apprentice him when he was a teenager, at the time I was too busy and traveling too much to teach him, so I turned him down. Bryan persisted. I told him to just take an apprenticeship at one of the shops in our area, he said he’d rather wait for the opportunity for me to teach him. In the meantime he took art classes to better his drawing skills. He patiently waited years, YEARS, and once I was able to spend more time with him he gave it 100%. He was over my shoulder watching me tattoo any chance he could, he must’ve wound at least 1,000 coils in my workshop, learned how to make needles even though it’s irrelevant these days, built his own machines, power supply and clipcord. All the while scraping by financially to make ends any way he could. He built his career from patience, hard work and above all, integrity. I couldn’t be more proud of this man, he worked his ass off and learned how to tattoo a proper way, the same way that people have been learning to tattoo for hundreds of years. Even though it was hard on him sometimes, and hard on me sometimes, I have some of my best tattoo memories from those years. Bryan is like family to me now, we have a brotherly bond for life and I’m grateful for the opportunity to have taught him. With all the talk about tattoo schools lately I just wanted to share this story with the younger generation, this is one example of a proper way to learn. You learn to tattoo from other experienced tattooers, wether it be one specific person or many(like myself). You don’t learn at a “tattoo school”, except maybe how NOT to tattoo. I would like to call upon all my tattoo brothers and sisters to please share their story, either of your apprenticeship or of your teaching someone. These stories are so lovely to hear and it’s a way to show the youth the beauty and soul in an apprenticeship and the lack thereof in a “tattoo school”. @nocttattooschools #notattooschools #shareyourstory

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Article in UK Inkluded: Why tattooists are saying NO to tattoo schools

Beautifully written article, explaining why tattoo schools are bad news.

“Any anti-tattoo school campaign has the customer and artists at the heart of its missions. In order to create the best tattoo any apprentice will be taught key skills from experienced tattooers as part of their training in a studio: from hygiene and preparation, to customer care and communication. But there’s also one thing that all brilliant artists have in common that will always set them apart from any clinical business endeavour… passion.

But many schools exist in the world that teach other skills, so why should tattooing be any different? – I hear you ask.

The truth is, tattooing just isn’t like any other industry. With no disrespect to record shop owners or hairdressers, getting a tattoo is much more of an emotional and physical investment than buying a CD or getting a haircut. Not only is it traumatic for the body and has to be taken seriously in terms of medical safety, but getting a tattoo is also a huge mental and often spiritual commitment that requires a level of passion and dedication from wearer and tattooist.” –Beccy

Read the full article here:


Philadelphia boycott picked up by Inked Magazine

Tattooers Are Fed Up With Corrupt Tattoo Schools—Here’s What You Need to Know

A few weeks ago, we put out an article on tattoo schools, however, after speaking to artists, Myke Chambers, Eric Perfect, and Chad Knight, we learned that these scammers are much worse than we ever imagined. If you believe that tattoo schools are out there in doing good in the world, well think again because the tattoo industry will tell you otherwise. Chambers, Perfect, Knight, and several other Philadelphia artists recently staged a peaceful protest against the Academy of Responsible Tattooing (a.k.a A.R.T), a chain of tattoo schools called “Body Art and Soul” that has been growing rapidly in numbers. They promise prospective students that they will become successful artists in a mere nine months, just as long as they shell out cash for the program. They believe that tattooers don’t need to go through an apprenticeship to work in the business and that a school is their best possible option. However, as these artists will tell you, this couldn’t be further from the truth. A.R.T is a pyramid scheme at best, a scamming agency employing to prey on ignorant prospective artists who have been “burned” in the process of getting an apprenticeship. They’re charging students upfront for a tattoo education and instantly blacklisting them from working at any tattoo shop beside the ones set up for the schools. They are manipulating impressionable people looking for a career change that tattooing will make them rich and famous—when really, the people running this company have no understanding or respect for the tattoo industry. However, tattooers are working to put a stop to the madness that is A.R.T and it’s time that the public learned what these schools are really about.

Inked: How are these schools luring in students?

“They do a seminar where they charge $350 and they say it’s to teach how these people to get an apprenticeship. They teach you about cross contamination, how to set up a tattoo machine, and then they have you tattoo a grapefruit. But they really do is try to size you up for their school.”—Myke Chambers

The Big Issue

Inked: Why are tattoo schools much a bad idea?

“There are a million reasons why I think they’re messed up. For the general public’s viewpoint, of people who don’t know tattooing, they think that we’re being elitist because we want people to go through apprenticeships. But we’re not elitists, we only want people that work with their blood, sweat, and tears.

They think that apprenticeships are where you get hazed, bullied and that just the shop bitch—but that’s not the case. An apprenticeship is also not charged, but it’s paid off by cleaning, doing tubes, and answering phones—which are things that tattooers doing anyways. I’ve been tattooing for twenty years and I still clean and mop the floors or take out the trash.

And then people from the outside will say that we’re just afraid of the competition. I personally am not afraid of competition and no one at my shop needs to worry about the competition. The only thing that I’m afraid to come out of a tattoo school is someone who does a bad tattoo, spreads diseases, and stuff like that. The general public thinks that it’s a tattoo shop and that it’s a qualified business, so they go in there to get a tattoo from a qualified artist but in reality, they’re getting a tattoo from someone who is still in training.

The main problem is that this is a nine month school, which is better than the two-week schools, but it’s not much better. Any type of school is not okay. If they had instructors who were the best tattooers in the world leading these classes and teaching theses classes, it’s still not okay.

Because when you have twenty to thirty people in these classes for nine months, they cannot get a job in an established tattoo shop. So what they have to do is open their own shop or work in the tattoo school’s shops. So this is basically a big huge scam because the people running it know that their graduates cannot get jobs. These guys know that they can’t work anywhere besides these tattoo shops and they are unpaid what an actual tattooer would make. Every time this happens, twenty new tattoo shops in the town, the market is already over saturated. Not this generation, maybe the next one, or long after I’m dead—tattooing could become a hobby that people just do out of their house.

Because if there’s a tattoo shop on every street, no one is going to be able to make money. There may be a hair salon on every street, but a haircut grows out and you keep going back. There are constantly more people turning 18 every day but there are not enough people to support all of these tattoo shops that are going to be opening.”—Myke Chambers.

Pyramid Scheme

Inked: What is the most upsetting part of this scheme?

“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

Not Equipt

Inked: How do you feel about these students being handed a machine on their first day?

“My apprentice didn’t see a tattoo machine for a year and a half.

We talked to the teachers there and they knew none of the parts of a tattoo machine. They had no idea how to build a tattoo from the ground up. Besides the needles and the tubes, the machine is the most important part of tattooing. When the machine isn’t working right, instead of fixing it, they just toss the machine aside and buy a new one.

This has become the culture now. There’s a right way and a wrong way and the only one who is benefiting is the guy who’s making money. I have no problem with someone making money and running a clean operation, but this is just really irresponsible.”—Eric Perfect

Instantly Disqualified

Inked: How do you feel about the phrase, ‘Anyone Can Be a Tattooer’ that they’ve been promoting?

” It’s absurd. This is not for everyone if it was, then everyone would be doing it. Go to their facebook page and look at the first five or six pictures of the people who went to the school. None of them have tattoos! Personally, I wouldn’t go to a restaurant with a skinny chef and just because I’ve fixed one car, that doesn’t make me a mechanic. Just because you put a tattoo machine in someone’s hand, that doesn’t make them a tattooer.”—Eric Perfect.

Mediocre at Best

Inked: Do you see any quality work coming out of these schools?

” All they’re doing is trying to copy what they see in their curriculum and on the internet. They’re not changing tattooing for the better—artistically, health wise, legal wise.”—Eric Perfect

Con Artist

nked: Tell me why you’re going after A.R.T specifically?

“The guy that started this thing, got his first tattoo in February. He recently bought a medical supply company, because they have a backer who has a lot of money, and now they’re sending letters to try and buy tattoo shops. He’s trying to buy all of the tattoo shops that he can and build schools with even larger classrooms.”—Myke Chambers.

“Most of the guys who run these schools don’t know jack shit about tattooing. Because if they did, they would run a reputable shop and they would teach people right. When you take on an apprentice, that’s a three to five-year commitment and you’re with them every single day. I know with my apprentice, he’s a bonafide tattooer now but for the five years that we were together—it was every day. You have to be compatible and I don’t see how you can have that personalized training in a classroom setting. This ain’t nursing school.”—Eric Perfect

Consider Yourself Blacklisted

Inked: What would you say to people looking for jobs after A.R.T?

“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

Not the Real Deal

Inked: So this is basically Trump University for aspiring tattooers?

“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

Doing It Right

Inked: How do people actually get an apprenticeship?

“I have people that come in multiple times a week saying, ‘Hey are you doing apprenticeships?’ That’s not how you do it. You don’t call a tattooer asking for an apprenticeship or comment on a picture saying ‘Apprentice Me.’

I had a girl walk into my shop and drop off a resume that’s just typed up words with no images. She had no tattoos and I’m definitely not going to apprentice someone who doesn’t have tattoos. It’s a very simple process to get an apprenticeship and it takes dedication.

First and foremost, you have to get the tattooer that you want to apprentice you to like you. You do that by getting tattooed in the shop and it’s almost like a courting type thing. You want them to want you around.

It’s not like applying for a job, it’s like joining a family and you want them to like you.”—Myke Chambers

Fatal Attraction

Inked: What attracts customers to tattoo shops?

“Primarily the extremely low price. An experienced tattoo artist doesn’t need to constantly run tattoo specials like a soup kitchen to gather up business. And people might argue that if they are bad they won’t last however there are a lot of unsuspecting first-time clients that might not know any better either.

You would be amazed at some people’s criteria for good tattooing. Another point about the school is an educator lacks the skillfully trained eye of a veteran in the business thus reducing the acceptable standard of what is good.”—Chad Knight

Making Changes

Inked: How can we stop tattoo schools?

“If legitimate tattoo artists unite and stand together we can eradicate this nonsense. There can be no lukewarm position on the issue. This particular school is adamantly against us. They claim that they are responsible inferring we are not. The people at the top of this organization are not even rooted in our business so how can they attempt to make that sort of unfounded claim.

We need to be rational and excited for growth in our trade and we need to be mindful we are in an explosion of tattoo popularity and we need to protect what is and always has been sacred and keep it special.

The school is against that mentality. I personally cannot accept that type of thinking. If the public is educated and the victims of this scam see the light this kind of place will cease to exist. If everyone stays unyielding in this movement our message will prevail.”—Chad Knight

Original Article:

Tattoo Artists Around the Nation Are Standing Up to Tattoo Schools


Tattoo School Founder brags about his assault on Tattoo Culture.

Tattoo School Founder, Guy Prandstatter talks about his assault on the tattoo community.

Bragging about bastardizing tattoo culture and flooding the market with inexperienced scratchers, who then, in under a year, go on to teach more scratchers to tattoo.

He spins his lies and false promises to anyone who will pay for it. It’s disgusting.