Resolve43 on 08.13.15Resolve43tattoos@gmail.com
Hello. It's my first time posting on here. I'm a bit hesitant to share my experience but here goes anyways. F$#k it.
I've been apprenticing for a bit over a year now, full time. I moved 2 hours away from where I lived with no car, no job, no money, and nowhere to live to be able to do so. My mentor didn't charge a fee but put me through a series of what I could only perceive as ways of trying to see if I'd quit before he actually called me his apprentice officially. Of course there was the usual grunt work: keeping the shop spotless at all times, scrubbing tubes, autoclaving, setting up stations, prep of clients, and tear down of stations, running errands (and cleaning my mentors house occasionally), greeting customers, ect ect. I doubt I need to list everything that encompasses shop rat duties and this list is nowhere near complete, by a long shot.
But, I'm not sure if all that I am doing now is of the norm. That's why I'm here. To see if I'm just a pussy or if I'm actually being taken advantage of and going through unnecessary abuse.
In the beginning my mentor would yell at me in front of clients and try everything he could to humiliate me. Calling me names, telling me I'm stupid, and once he even hit me in the back of the head for asking a question of something he had not taught me yet. (Hard enough to give me a good headache afterwards.) He had me start by practicing and teaching me lettering, which stayed that way for about 4 months. Nothing but lettering. Then I went on to tracing images and shading and coloring them, while still practicing lettering. I started drawing shall images right on clients with pen, free hand. Then he had me drawing his tattoos. At first it was the most simple ones, and now it's to the point that I'm drawing every one of his drawings except maybe like 5 drawings he'd decided to do. I don't get any guidance on them and since he's going to be the one tattooing them I consult him on things that just can't be guessed. ... like "which arm is this grim reaper that's facing a certain way going on" and/or "does the client want a traditional rose or a more realistic style" and he just tells me to shut up and draw while he sits. ..day after day, when he's not tattooing, looking at fucking cat videos on Facebook. Then without any guidance other than maybe a printout from Google images to use as a reference I bring him a completed drawing and he yells at me for basically not being able to read his mind. Some of the other artists have even pointed that out to him.
It's not about my drawing abilities either. For example, once he gave me a crude butterfly drawing from a sketchbook and told me to trace/clean it up but don't change how it is. The butterfly was turned to the side. I fixed it up nice and clean. I was called an idiot for not redrawing the butterfly and making the butterfly front facing. I was not told to do that though. I followed his instructions. It's the image the client picked out. Am I still being mentored or just used as a work horse and scape goat? Is this general practice? I'm not whining, but something tells me that shit isn't supposed to be like this. There's a good bit more going on but I don't want to type a novel. I'm sure questions will come up. Any input is helpful. Thanks for reading.