mike d on 07.27.15northridge ca
You mentioned you have spent time getting tattooed, you should definitely go get tattooed more and just take in the shop experience as if you were working there as an artist and see if you like it, its not for everyone, you'll have to give up your life for a while, even after your apprenticeship, you can't just do a little bit, you gotta go all in and don't half ass it, that usually takes more than 5 days a week and long hours!
- What would you look for in a portfolio for a potential apprentice?
Personality and your over all appearance, that might sound bad but there is a fit for different people at different shops. For example I wouldn't hire a dick, or someone that wants to be famous tomorrow, and I wouldn't hire someone that looks like a bum. Thats the first thing before I even look in your portfolio, when I get to your portfolio you wanna show consistency, and show some potential. If I see a little potential, I know I could make you good. Thats just me, if I were to be looking for an apprentice, if anyone reads this and is thinking about asking, my shop is full I can't take on anymore artists right now.
- Should I practice drawing flash and include mostly that?
You could have some of that in there, but not necessarily flash but tattoo type drawings, some color some just black and grey. Pencil, charcoal, whatever, but what I think is more important is showing what your good at.
- Is the best way to show commitment really to show up everyday as a volunteer? ( I am wondering if this wouldn't get bothersome after telling someone "No.")
I wouldn't do that, it would annoy me. But every shop and shop owners are different. Find a place you like the art being put out and feel it out and if it looks like there is room for another guy, and keep getting tattooed and throw it out there a little bit when getting tattooed. Feel out each shop. You don't have to get tattooed at everyone you go to, but you get the idea.
- Should I be looking for particular artists and asking specifically for them when I go into shops, or should I ask generally if anyone in the shop is willing to take on an apprentice?
You should be talking to the owner, but you could be getting tattooed by an artist there, if the owner is there he or she will notice you are there a lot getting tattooed and of course a shop owner likes when there artists are busy working and if you're getting a lot of good work, and your a cool guy and you have art skills, you got a good shot and possibly getting in there. You could try the door to door, " hey, check out my portfolio, I'm looking for an apprenticeship," but what I said before will work better. Or you could try a combination of both.
- (Last question) Should I prepare small portfolios to leave at shops, or just have one that they can take a cursory glance at?
Just need one. Don't leave it there unless the owner asks you if its cool if they can hang on to it and show a few people but don't give them out.
Good Luck! Just remember you're going to have to work your ass off.