Updated: Dec 8, 2022
One thing that can really bring an artist down is the repetition of administrative work. It tends to be one of the biggest annoyances for the creative brain but is a necessity for any artist that hopes to have longevity and success in business. It seems to be relative, the more successful you are the more administrative work you will have to do. Obviously, one can’t live without the other. I’m talkin e-mail correspondence (answering submission forms, forming a contact with the client, setting up consultations, and solidifying the tattoo), media updates (interacting with potential magazine interviews, blog spots, and updating any social media platforms and websites), and supplying the studio (all inventory and regular checks on supplies).
All of these things need to happen BEFORE you even put pencil to paper or begin to put a needle to someone’s skin. Often, if you become successful, it will be happening simultaneously. The creative process and the administrative mind living in one body. Seems like a lot, right? Yeah, it sure is.
Organization and time management is the key to ANY successful practice. As Scott Glazier would say, “the way you practice your everyday tasks, will translate into your tattoo.” If you are regularly taking the short cut to get by, you will take the short cut in your tattoo work, and it will inevitably look sloppy and half ass. Just remember, while you are doing all the BS that you don’t want to do, you have to make time to do all the drawing that you love to do. Ok, so now that making art has become your job, you need to make sure you still have the ability to conjure up those special creative juices at the end of the day. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Do all of this efficiently, while still trying to have a life, and you are golden.
Usually this takes years of discipline and practice, becoming the backbone to your business. Any good mentor will teach you the structure of a tattoo business from bottom to top. If they are not educating you about these tools, they may be doing you a disservice. This can be a cut-throat industry, but I think that the most fruitful of people tend to surround themselves with others that they want to excel to the highest level.
I believe that this is the true way to commodify art without selling out. Once you have worked for a while and honed your tattoo skill, you can practice your style and make work that truly reflects your artistry. Nothing comes easy, in any field. There are no real get rich quick schemes that work out there. You will always get back what you put in, but your work ethic, and time spent, will pay off in the end. And trust me, you will value it so much more.
“The difference between greed and ambition is a greedy person desires things he isn’t prepared to work for.” -Habeeb Akande-