TAMAR THORN IS SOUTH AFRICAN TATTOO ARTIST WE MET AT OUR CAPE TOWN MACHINE SEMINAR. THOUGH SHE MAY HAVE BEEN TATTOOING FOR WHAT SOME PEOPLE CONSIDER A "SHORT TIME" - JUST OVER 3 YEARS, HER WORK IS PROOF THAT ADVANCEMENT COMES FASTER WHEN YOU APPLY YOURSELF.
"I was late falling in love with tattooing.. I started out looking for an apprenticeship when I turned 29 and even though I could draw well, had good business sense and didn't have a "tough girl" attitude I was surprised how few people in the industry in South Africa would give me the time of day. After going through a less than adequate apprenticeship and working in ego-driven street shops trying to figure everything out on my own I opened my own shop http://www.thebodyarchitects.com/studio.html . I still to this day don't know how I had the balls to do it given I'd only been tattooing for just under 3 years but hell, the shop exploded and we thrived our first year.
I always had this underlying feeling however that I wasnt in full control of my work. My machines confounded and frustrated me and I must have gone through ten new machines in that year, throwing each one into the drawer of death when they inevitably disappointed me with inconsistency and never ending problems. Who the hell do you turn to when no one wants to talk? Does everyone go through this and if so WHY?? There are so many of us.. all throwing our toys when our machines fail us, knowing that if we had full control we would be able to pull off such great work.. which is after all the reason we should all be doing this. To create beautiful, lasting tattoos with minimal discomfort and maximum enjoyment for our customers. No inflated ego, tough talk or hardcore image is gonna hide the fact that your tattoos suck ass.
Looking for answers online and asking other artists who also learned by trial and error never helped, until the Godoy's shone a lil light on the subject! The seminar helped me to change my whole attitude towards my machines. They don't control my work anymore and I can do a better job with less stress for me and the person I'm tattooing.
The seminar did something else too.. for one day everyone in that room was equal. We were all tattooers, looking for answers and everyone talked and shared their stories. It's amazing what can happen when egos are left at the door and the passion for the art of tattooing is once again the only thing that matters.
Art and Steve have a "no bullshit" approach in everything they do. They know what they are talking about because they've been through everything already. Listening to them talk was truly inspiring and being at the seminar was possibly one of the highlights of my carreer thus far. I know I can always carry that knowledge with me and where I can, pass it along.
The industry is changing, even since I started I can see how it's grown and shifted. I used to have people stare and scowl at me on the street, pull their kids away.. but now tattooing is on the TV and everyone and their kids are getting tattooed cos they saw it on Miami Ink. There isn't any stopping that. People want drama and tattooing is flavour of the month. The only thing we can do to ensure the bubble doesn't burst is be responsible, be informed and keep our heads out of our own asses. We aren't rockstars, we are artists who put their work on human skin. It's a practice to be respected and it's up to all of us to stay true to that."