Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…

Minnesota Steps Up.

April 12th, 2009 by

It would seem that the good times for scratchers is about to take another hit. This time in the state of Minnesota. As things stand at the moment all you need in much of the state to open a tattoo studio is the cash to get started. No training, no license, just the equipment and a list of potential victims…..Uhhh, clients.

A recent bill in the State Legislature not only looks to change all of that, but has also raised both the support, and anger of the states estimated 750 tattoo artists. Well maybe not all of them tattoo artists. As far as I, or anyone else who has taken the time and money to be properly trained will tell you. If you just picked up a machine and started fucking people up, you sure as Hell don’t have the right to call yourself a tattoo artist. You’re a scratcher, plain and simple.

Ryan Welles, a former tattoo artist from Duluth, Stillwater and upstate New York expressed it quite well. “That there’s not more of a groundswell of understanding, that this boom industry is completely unregulated — to me, it’s difficult to comprehend.” I couldn’t agree more, especially in today’s world of communicable diseases, and all the hard work artists have invested in getting the art of tattoo to the general acceptance level we currently enjoy.

To it’s credit, a number of cities and counties in Minnesota, such as St. Paul and Hennepin County, do have ordinances and tattoo artists there are required to follow Federal occupational-health and safety regulations. For the large part though the state as a whole is wide open to the scourge of unscrupulous scratchers, who are only interested in getting in the back door of a boom industry without having to pay their dues.

According to the Star Tribune: “The bill would mandate standard health-related practices for artists and require training and inspections. If local regulations met or exceeded the bill’s requirements, providers would be exempt from the license requirement but still subject to inspection.” Thank God!

As anyone who is a tattoo artist will tell you, there are health concerns to getting a tattoo. Heaven knows we have relayed more than enough horror stories about the terrible results of scratching here at Tattoo Blog to more than make the point. Let’s face it, a careless scratcher can give you something that Ajax won’t take off.

I also know all the whiney arguments that the scratchers use to make it sound like they are being discriminated against. Personally, I call BULLSHIT! If they cared about the art as much as they claim to, they would pay their dues and bust their ass to get the training they need to become a real tattoo artist. When you really love something, not a single force on Earth can keep you from it.

I applaud Minnesota for finally getting off it’s duff and putting some regulation in place, and double kudos to the cities and counties there who had the foresight to already have some regulation. Trust me guys, you won’t be sorry you stepped up, and the art of tattoo will get a big boost in the right direction.

Peace out, Gang.

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