Does the UK tattoo industry need a ‘no fucks’ revolution?

Hey guys. Today I posted a new blog from our writer, handpoke tattooist Lydia Amor. She’s an awesome, very talented individual, and has been writing for Inkluded for a good few months now – you can read all her posts online.

Tattoo ny Lydia Amor

Tattoo by Lydia Amor

In her new blog, Lydia talks about ‘the art of not giving a fuck’, and the challenges she has faced mentally as a ‘newbie’ finding her place in the UK tattoo industry.

“When I started tattooing (a year ago next month!) I was terrified of what tattooists would think of me. I came into tattooing through my partner, Mike, so I was always worried that people would think I had it ‘too easy’ or that everything was handed to me on a plate. I won’t lie, my initial learning experience wasn’t one of huge trial and tribulation. I had, and still have, an amazing support network and lots of people I could, and can, turn to for help. For that, I am unbelievably grateful! I know that too many artists have a really tough ride in their first few years but I don’t believe that makes them more valid than the next man.”

Image: Unsplash

Image: Unsplash

Hearing Lydia talk so openly and honestly about insecurities and anxieties, really struck a nerve with me. Mainly, I think, because I have heard these words too regularly from other tattooists in their first few years of tattooing… not just concern around approval from others, but other complex arising issues such as cliqueness, ‘drama’, bitching, gossip and many other negative concepts that I’m sure can come with any job or industry.

I am really honoured to publish Lydia’ blogs because they are so honest and truly from the heart – something I always dreamed Inkluded would be… an open forum reflective of the industry today and those working within it. That’s why many of our bloggers are tattooists – they are the voices of this creative scene.

Before I begin to ramble on too much, I want to share with you all, my own personal reaction to Lydia’s blog, in the form of the email I have just sent to her…

“Lydia, I am really glad you’ve written this. As always, I read your blogs and it’s like reading the inside of my own brain. I’ve felt the exact same my whole life – the whole contrast between the actress on the outside and the reality inside – up all night worrying about what other people think about my words and actions.

I think this is definitely something a lot of girls will relate to, especially in this particular industry. Because there’s a lot of emphasis on how hard you have to work in those first few years (so many artists who think you have to go through shit to be ‘worthy’ of being in the industry) means there are a lot of young artists, like you, who worry what people will say as they begin to succeed.

I actually talk to other young tattooists about this a lot, and it angers me hearing the anxieties they feel. Why the fuck would people not just be completely happy and supportive of someone who has accomplished something brilliant in just a few, or in your case, less than one, year. It’s amazing – and we should do nothing but applaud your hard work, talent and passion. Anyone who thinks any differently, is wrong. That’s just my opinion, anyway.

As someone who has only been writing about tattoos ‘officially’ for 2 years, I feel the same – that many tattooists with an ‘old-school’ attitude will think “who the fuck is this newbie?! She doesn’t know shit”. It’s been a huge challenge for me mentally and I can honestly say only in the last few months, since coming back from California actually, have I started to really try and channel a ‘don’t give a fuck’ attitude. It’s hard.

Thanks again, as always, for writing such inspiring, honest words. This is a real issue that I think many new, young tattooists feel and it’s about time we talked about it and encouraged nothing but support for them.

Sorry for rambling, maybe I should put this into a blog post?!”

Image: Unsplash

Image: Unsplash

It is true that many experienced tattooists believe that, unless you’ve had a really fucking tough time as an apprentice for a few (or maybe more) years, paying your dues, you’re unworthy of any ‘quick success’.

Personally, I come from an arts background, and for 8 years worked for publicly-funded artistic organisations who exist to do nothing other than encourage and support emerging artists and talent. Because without art, the world would be boring, and more of then that not, those artists need that help. Whether you’re making theatre, dance, comedy, tattoos or whatever, you’re going to:

a. put your heart and soul into this passion, that you live, eat and breathe, as it takes up every second of your life
b. probably struggle financially to begin with, or for longer, because most artists create work because they love doing it, not to make money

When these amazing individuals are needing nothing but support and encouragement, how can anyone turn around and label any of their accomplishments not worthy, just because of the timescale they are achieved in?

There’s a lot to discuss here, I think. Both these industry attitudes, and how do we all as individuals move forward with our lives and really try to just give a fuck about the important things? Ourselves and our own happiness are more important than the external views of others, but that’s easier said than done, especially in this modern world where a huge percentage of people are suffering from anxiety and/or depression. I think there are mental health issues here too that we’ve barely touched the surface of.

I think I’ll just start by writing my own ‘fucks and no fucks’ list, right now.

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k Book by Sarah Knight

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck, extract from the book by Sarah Knight

I’d love you to share your thoughts and lists with us. Do you think we need a ‘no fucks’ revolution? Comment below or on Inkluded’s Facebook page. If you’d like to write your own blog in response, like I have, get in touch:

Image: Unsplash

Image: Unsplash

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