Guernica on 10.14.15Florida
Hi there, I've been regularly reading through this forum for quite some time now, just trying to absorb any and all helpful information possible. This is my first time actually posting.
I'm a young artist, I've actually only been tattooing for just over two years. I went through a formal apprenticeship learning under a reputable custom artist in my area, before I eventually decided to leave due to a hostile work environment (being the only female in an all male shop and at least half the age of the other artists, I was subjected to a lot of harassment on a daily basis until it got to the point where I no longer felt I was learning enough to justify putting up with that kind of treatment). I was given the opportunity to continue learning in another local shop, but unfortunately within a month of being there I realized it was not going to be much different than it had been at the previous shop, and so I decided to leave and continue to focus on my art (painting and illustration) while continuing to keep an eye out for potential opportunities that might be a better fit. I was actually told about my current location by a former co worker from the first shop I'd worked in, who had begun working there and thought it would be a good place for me to continue building myself and my work as well. So I checked it out- it's actually a salon/spa type of place that has a very nice private studio for tattoos (completely licensed and professionally operated according to standard state guidelines). I'd never heard of a place like that before, but when I went in for an interview it was very welcoming, clean and unique. I've now been working here for over a year, by appointment, and I've established a pretty decent clientele and following just since being here, and being in a positive working environment has helped enable me to grow as an artist in many ways, and I'm very grateful for that. I've worked alongside a few artists of varying abilities and skill set, but for the majority of my time here it's just been myself and the person who told me about this place tattooing here. Until very recently, when things didn't work out for them and they left and have since began working at another shop.
My problem is that, despite having had the chance to work and learn from quite a few different artists- I am now the only tattoo artist working at my job, and I am concerned that being on my own here, especially at such an early and I believe very crucial point in my career- I am worried that I will not be able to progress as consistently as I'd really like to without being around other tattooers constantly. I think having peers is necessary for improvement for many reasons, and while I am committed to being even more diligent about self-study, I am just not entirely sure if this is going to be a real roadblock for me in my abilities and my career. So, not really having anyone else to turn to- I wanted to seek opinions and any potential advice possible from other professionals. Which is why I'm here. I've considered trying to find another shop to work at- but the reality is that I am treated very well here, have begun to establish clientele here already, and also my previous experiences at other shops have made me very nervous to go back to a potentially negative situation if I am already working somewhere without all the "political" aspects I've seen from traditional shops I've worked in. I have also thought about finally starting to put myself out there more, maybe start inquiring about doing a few guest spots in other areas where maybe there isn't such a negative stigma against very young or female tattooers. I'd really love to get other's advice though, and would greatly appreciate any and all recommendations or bits of advice that is offered.
Sorry for the novel, I'm really just at a point where I'm not sure where else to turn. I really appreciate anyone who has actually taken the time to read this and am eagerly awaiting any responses. Thank you very much for your time.