Tattoo Master 27

Tattoo Master 27

Aphrase that I hear often, and is one that is certain to get my teeth a grinding, is one that is based along the lines of  luck. They’re lucky. He got lucky. She has all the luck. I hear them constantly, not only in the tattoo world, but through life in general. The funny thing with these throw away comments is that they are usually bandied about when some one achieves something great, or when some one rises above the person making the remarks.

To a certain extent I believe in luck. I have read countless autobiographies, biographies, articles and stories to realise that most successful people have had a certain amount of luck reaching the top of their field. But luck is a small percentage of what makes successful people, successful. A very small percentage.  Let’s take the Beatles as an example here. In 1960 they were just four kids from a downtrodden sixties Liverpool, working class and not that great by all accounts. Four years later and they tore America apart with a string of number one singles and tours that changed the course of musical history. So what happened in those four years? Well, you could say they were in the right place at the right time, America was crying out for a new music scene. Brian Epstein worked locally and heard about the boys, took over their management and used his influence to get them a record deal. A club promoter heard them, liked their youthful raw energy, realised they were cheap and booked them for an overseas tour. But that is only a small percentage of it. The real reason they changed the face of popular music was simply down to putting in the hours.

Look back at anyone from the Beatles, to Bill Gates, to any tattoo artist at the top of their game today and the one thing that will stand out is that they have put the work in. They have chosen to up their game by doing what they love, not 2 or 3 hours a day, but somewhere closer to 8 hours a day. They tirelessly pursue their dreams. They live and breathe their passion.

So going back to the Beatles, how did four years make a difference? How did those four years change them from just another band out of Liverpool to musical legends? Hamburg is the answer.

Between 1960 and 1962 they visited Hamburg five times, playing a total of 270 hours worth of live music. On some trips they were playing 8 hours a night, 7 days a week. In those two years they honed their skills. They lived and breathed music. By the time they hit America in 1964 it was estimated they had over 1200 hours of live performances under their belt. Most bands nowadays don’t even touch that in the course of their entire career.

So back to luck, are you beginning to understand why I hate this word so much? Luck isn’t what gets successful people to the top, fucking hard work is. Luck may get you a chair in a high end studio, or even your own studio bang in the centre of a bustling city centre…but luck isn’t going to make sure you use that chance to work tirelessly to make sure that opportunity doesn’t get wasted. Luck isn’t going to get you home at night sketching and preparing till two in the morning so that the next day you bust out the best piece you’ve ever done. Neither is luck going to get your images published, get you convention bookings, or research other artists who you admire and inspire you in an effort to learn how they do what they do so well.

That‘s nothing to do with luck, fucking hard work is going to do that!