Tattoo Master 32

Tattoo Master 32

In one of my very first interviews I asked a very well known tattoo artist, when he thought the current ‘tattoo bubble’ would burst. He gave it about two years. By then, he replied, those artists just hanging on for the ride would be swept aside and the true talent would rise to the top. We discussed how the current television programs were fuelling a fad that would fade out as soon as the media moved onto a different sub-culture to cover; and how the business side of tattooing would move on with it. After all, if there is no money in something, why invest in it. We were smugly happy with this outcome, as we believed that once the rats had fled the sinking ship, we would be left with the best of the best. Happy days!

Except, six years on and we couldn’t have been more wrong if we had of tried. The ‘tattoo bubble’ has certainly not burst. If anything, it has doubled, tripled, in size. Tattooing has become on trend, not only in fashion, but in business too. It has invaded every nook and cranny of the global media and it is set to stay. In hindsight, looking back on the conversation, I think our biggest mistake was to assume that it was a bubble; because it wasn’t. Back in 2010, we weren’t in an ever expanding bubble waiting for the next big thing to come along and burst it; we were actually bang in the middle of next major growth in tattooing. The next evolutionary leap…

Since its beginnings way back in Otzi time, like all organic things, tattooing has been following a natural evolutionary path, growing and changing with the movement of time and technology. There are moments of flat calm for a few decades, whilst we catch our breath, and then all of a sudden there will be a spike where change happens quickly and effectively. If you look back over the history of tattooing, these spikes can be seen. While they are occurring, we tend to think of them as bubbles, because there is quick change and growth which gives us the impression of rapid expansion, which should inevitably lead to a sudden burst. But the truth is; we learn to adapt and change with the growth. We contribute to the constant expansion and evolution so that we can accommodate it. Tattooing isn’t just going to fade away; or self combust in some epic; fast track to hell; downward spiral. It’s here for keeps.

I don’t see any bubble waiting to burst, instead, what I see is a wave that is waiting to be ridden towards a very bright future.