Sunday, November 16, 2014

Scratchers of Singapore

So it has been months since I last blogged. I apologize to all, for the disappearing act I pulled. I have been busy for the past months trying to put a media project together which is still ongoing. Hopefully, it will be released somewhere in Mid-March 2015. I have also been trying to build my portfolio from scratch, so that has been a pain in the ass as I am caught up on weekdays, and only left with the Weekends to actually ink.

With that aside, speaking of "scratch", I have been active on Instagram lately, ( as some of you, who are following me might know. ) and I should say its a good source for me to meet fellow Artists and share ideas ; But, its also a place where I have come across tons of SCRATCHERS !

What is a Scratcher? Well in short, it means, "An inexperienced, untalented, unclean and untrained tattooer ; usually found working out of home. They frequently place their clients health at risk by re-using needles and not sterilizing the equipment
."

Don't get me wrong, but I do know lots of artists who work from home nowadays due to the overhead cost with the uprising property prices. In Singapore though, tattoo artists are not required to get a licence before setting up a practice. There is no regulatory authority for tattoo studios as well and there isn't any "legal age" to get inked either.

It doesn't matter if you are self taught or have gone through a tattoo apprenticeship, but being a professional tattoo artist, it means to put your clients health before the money you make. As a professional, you should have the responsibility to know what is right.

It is standard practice to sterilise equipment in an autoclave machine and use new needles for each tattoo session and to at least put on some fucking gloves. And even if you have all the Grade A equipments to safeguard your client, at least fucking learn how to do clean lines and do proper shadings and pack in the colours well, even before you start tattooing on a Human Being !!

I believe lots of Artists of different mediums, would agree with me on this point where, "It does not mean that if you are a great fine arts painter, or an awesome cartoonist, or even a spaced out graphic designer ; you can easily pick up a tattoo machine and do just as well." - This is fucking bullshit.

Some are not cut out to do what they intend to do. I am not trying to discourage anyone here, but facts remain. If you suck at it, even after practicing for couple of years and still suck at it, maybe you should opt for a career change.

I first started out apprenticing for a full year, drawing, learning more and inking on pig skin, ( they did not have practice skin back then.) before I started inking on a Human Being. I was my first customer. Yes, you heard that right. I inked myself to understand how someone else would feel that pain I am inflicting. With more practice, I started inking professionally and the rest was history. If my work had sucked even after a year and I see no improvement in my work, I would have definitely given up. I guess, many would not, because of the money they are making, but to me, I rather not ruin someone's body just because I am blinded by the cold cash. I have turned down lots of clients over the past decade of being in this industry, as I know, I won't be able to pull some of the designs.

I am just blessed to have an awesome mentor like Carlston, who have taught me as much as he could. Even up until today, I am still learning.

I also like to add that, just because you work from a Tattoo Studio, it does not mean, you would be doing a clean job. There are plenty of unethical tattoo studios sprouting out around this Sunny Island. One should take note of whatever I have pointed out. It starts with clients like yourselves in supporting them. The more of these studios are given attention to, all because they charge cheaper, very soon Professional Studios have to start moving out, like myself for instance.

Here are some snaps I got from Instagram that shows a typical scratcher. I am not here to name and shame, but its to educate the people on what to watch out for. I am not sure where this guy is from, but nonetheless - The same old shitty setup is a dead giveaway.







With that said, I am really amused that people actually "LIKE" these tattoos. Are you fucking kidding me? They say Art is Subjective, but its more licentious than anything. People should really educate themselves. Its a struggle every Artists of any medium go through to spread knowledge of what's Art and what's not. But end of the day its you who is going to live with it.

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