Skin Deep 158

Having just listened to this year’s budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer would have a us believe that the UK is heading for a recession and we should all pull our belts in and watch how much we are spending. He was also heard to say that things will get tighter for the economy and the British public will have less money to spend on luxuries (Well frankly I’m not surprised, considering how much we have to pay in tax, NI and council tax under good old Labour). 

This got me thinking; will this so-called financial drought affect the tattoo industry? I personally don’t think so. Having just got back from the very successful Manchester Tattoo Show, I witnessed an awful lot of people willingly handing over handfuls of cash to their chosen tattooist in exchange for some superb artwork. There were lots of folk walking around with armfuls of tattoo-related goodies too, freshly purchased from the many vendors dotted about the Manchester Central venue. This to me said the industry itself is very much alive and well. We all feel the pinch from our ‘caring’ government from time to time but tattoos are a luxury item that many of us can’t do without. We all need that fix of art that comes with a price and a little pain occasionally and why shouldn’t we?

Tattooing as an industry seems to be thriving despite what Labour will tell you. You only have to take a look at the back of this magazine in the Tattoo Tour pages and you’ll see masses of studios advertising for staff. You can look at this in two ways; either there must be so many folk getting tattooed these days that the demand for good artists is high, or you could also say that there are too many studios opening up now, which in turn could be watering down the quality of tattooing in this country. Virtually every major town will have at least three and sometimes four or more studios all vying for the local tattoo work. Will this high demand mean that to survive these studios will have to offer their work at a cheaper rate as many people will shop by price and not quality? We try to advocate that folk do not shop by price but go for quality, but judging by all the ‘artist wanted’ ads in the back of Skin Deep, there doesn’t seem to be enough tattooists to go around. Probably for the first time since taking over as editor of Skin Deep I’ve seen the jobs offered ads outstrip the jobs wanted section.

Will this lack of talent mean that studio managers have to settle for second best or slightly sub-standard tattooists? If so, this will directly have a knock-on effect on the quality of tattoos being done in the UK.

As you can appreciate we get literally hundreds of tattoo photos arrive in the office every week and I must confess there has been a marked difference in quality. Okay, we still get the same quality of mouth-wateringly beautiful tattoo photos from established and talented artists but also we are getting more and more erm, sub-standard tattoo images from registered studios. 

Skin Deep prides itself on publishing the best tattoo images we can and frankly many just don’t cut the mustard. Is this down to the lack of artists or the current proliferation of studios popping up like mushrooms?

You decide.


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