Finding a piercing apprenticeship can be just as difficult, but the requirements are a little different. You're not going to be expected to have artistic talent, so you won't need a portfolio. You do, however, still need to attract the attention of your potential mentor. So, how should you go about it?
Needless to say, you are just one of literally thousands of hopeful future-apprentices. The competition is immense, and if you are going to have any hope of standing out, you've got to have something the others don't. So, here are some suggestions you just might want to consider:
- Be respectful and presentable. I don't care if the studio is blaring heavy metal and the artists are dressed like thugs. You are there to make an impression. Don't assume that just because you're in a tattoo shop that it's OK to cuss, smoke or be obnoxious. Responsible managers may enjoy a comfortable environment, but they're not going to be interested in someone who acts like this is all fun and games.
- Gain Knowledge. Obviously, no one expects or even wants you to already know how to pierce at this point. But you can study up on cross-contamination, blood-borne pathogens and sterilization. You will also want to learn as much as you can about human anatomy. You don't have to go to medical school first - just visit your local library and dig up as much information as you can find. If your local red cross or health department offers a course in blood-borne pathogens, take it! Every bit of knowledge you can gain before you begin your search will help you to stand out.
- Be Sincere. Now that you have all this knowledge, the last thing you want to do is sound like a know-it-all. Share your enthusiasm for piercing with your potential mentor and use this as an opportunity to tell them what you have learned. Tell them why it was important for you to study these things, and why it is important to you to become a piercer. Be yourself, and be honest.
- Be a Good Customer.If you want an artist to remember your name and face, the best thing you can do is become their favorite customer. If you're interested in being a piercer, I would hope you also have an interest in being pierced. Visit the artist, talk with them and observe, ask questions, get pierced and tip well.
- Be Determined. If you find a studio that you just feel so comfortable in that you have to work there, let them know why you feel that way. Visit as many reputable shops as you can, and leave your name and number at all of them. Follow up on your first visit with a phone call, then follow up your phone call with another visit. Make it plainly obvious that this is really important to you.
Finding a good apprenticeship is not an easy task. You may have to visit several studios before you find someone willing to take you in. You may not find anyone in your area, and relocation might even be a consideration. But the fact remains that if this is what you really want, it is more than worth it to do it right! Learning how to tattoo or pierce on your own is not only unwise, it is dangerous. You must be properly trained in sterilization techniques and how to avoid harming the customer. There is nothing more damaging to your own reputation than 100+ people out there showing everyone what a horrible tattoo or piercing you gave them. Or worse yet, the disease or infection they got as a result of your ignorance. Take your time and learn the right way.