9545 Reseda Blvd. unit 2, Northridge, CA (818) 700-2818

What kind of word is SCRATCHERS?

I have been tattooing for over 7 years now. I own my own shop and it is inspected and licensed. I pay my dues every year just like any other shop. I am very busy because i love what I do and I am very good at it.
However...I am self taught. I am 45 years old and up until I started tattooing I had been drawing and painting for over 30 years of my life. I live in a very small town and the option for doing an apprenticeship was not there. When I first started tattooing I practiced on any surface that I could. I had practiced for over a year before I ever tattooed an actual person. It has never been about the money for me. Sure I like making good money, and being able to pay my bills, but most importantly I love the trust that people put into the work I do. I have never scarred anyone, or had a unsatisfied customer.
I absolutely hate the word SCRATCHERS... I understand where it came from, but I think it gives the impression of someone literally dragging a needle across the skin and making scratch like marks. But in the tattoo industry it is someone that is self taught.
Honestly....there are hundreds of brilliant artists out there that were probably self taught, and very few of those artists can say they have never given a tattoo to their friend in the kitchen...
I guess I feel offended by the word. I understand there are some people out there that just pick up a machine and start tattooing people without any thought to the damage they are causing, but we can't all be in that same category.
I am sure I will have many comments from those that are "the best"...or think they are the "perfect" example of what a true tattoo artist is...but my opinion is....If I am getting customers from 3 to 4 hours away, coming here so that I can cover up a tattoo that was done by someone that has been in the business for 30 years...then apparently they weren't so "perfect".
It is one thing to be an actual Scratcher and have no concern about damage to the skin, or how sterile your work environment is....but entirely different to be called a Scratcher just because you were self taught.


RE:What kind of word is SCRATCHERS?

In my apprenticeship i was initially taught theres a difference between someone who is self taught and a scratcher. A scratcher is someone who has no intention on applying themselves to learn this art seriously and with professional integrity, There more of the kind that do it because they are scumy dead beats who think its cool to "do a few tats at the apartment on friends". There are also scratcher shops which employ these idiots.
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RE:What kind of word is SCRATCHERS?

I agree with jake completely. Theres amazing self taught artists everywhere, but there's also scratchers everywhere. There is a huge difference between someone like you who spent over a year learning before touching skin and some dude that bought a kit on ebay and started tatting friends with no safety in mind and no love of the art other than "its cool". There's shops filled with scratchers around here, not because they're self taught but because they suck ass and don't apply themselves or try to get better. Its all about how dedicated and respectful you are to the craft
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RE:What kind of word is SCRATCHERS?

Jake pretty much summed it up. Agreed.
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RE:What kind of word is SCRATCHERS?

although i hate the word scratcher, maily because it's used my tattooers who are behind the time, and not very artistic.
So i call them scratchers. Since the term has been redifined by the guilty, then i can have my own definition:
Any tattoo artist that can only tattoo flash, hates all other tattoo related poeple because they might be competition, and feels as though they can influence or intimidate others they would not like to be in the trade.
So basically the people who use the word, ARE the scratchers.
"we're a flash only shop"

addendum, and i'm sorry to offend some people but....

This is also the "traditional" type tattoo artists who actually started as kitchen scratchers and are mad because they can't in good standing continue to operate that way, but still don't want anyone operating without thier permission. Back in the day traditional was not an art form, it was a limitation, these guys couldn;t draw or paint better most of the time, but the tattoo equipment was stuck at the traditional level. Now it's a term used to describe an art movement that never happened.
in other words, its a JUSTIFICATION, for basically sucking.
That is if i play guitar for ten years and don;t improve past "mary had a little lamb" i can expect people to tell me i'm not getting the music, and move on to another challenge.
If a tattoo artist sits and traces flash into people for ten years he some how has the right to look at your color realism and say you shouldn;t be tattooing because he didn;t teach you the right way, and he has ten years experience so if he can;t do realism then yours must be wrong, or "will not hold up over time" blah blah.
Music, painting and fine art etc, no other craft tolerates learning disabilities.
Modern tattoo artists need to see this art as the multifaceted challenge that it is. Witch you did.
Anyone who's folio has not improved in then+ years is a scratcher.
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