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Write to us at Tool Tattoo Magazine. PO Bo* 10038. Sudbury Suflolk. CO 10 7WL or »4 Please include your i-iiu't sue and poiul address Letters printed arc not rv

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Dear Sally and the Total Tattoo team

This is more of a plea than anything dse A few years ago I went to my first tattoo convention, the Granite City Show in Aberdeen. Scotland. I really enjoyed all aspects of the convention. I got a tattoo done and a piercing. I went to my next convention in Perth. Scotland the following October and continued to go to the Granite City and Perth conventions for the next few years. Each time I went to a show. I got tattooed and I saw and expenenced many different aspects of tattooing and the wonderful world of tattoos I also enjoyed speaking to many different people from many walks of life. I am fairly new to the world of tattoos, although I am now completely hooked, so it was very useful to learn what I should expect from my experiences of getting tattooed It was also an amazing opportunity to be tattooed by artists from across the country as well as some international tattoo artists. The conventions were always mobbed and usually required a weekend ticket due to the number of people there -one day to book your tattoo slot and the next to be tattooed.

This brings me on to my plea There are no conventions running in Scodand any more. The Granite City one stopped two years ago and the Halloween one in Perth stopped last year. Scodand is a big place and docs have a lot of people wanting tattoos. I am wondering if any artists or studios would like to organise another yearly convention in Scotland. I live in Dundee and there are halls here that are big enough to support a decent-sized convention. I apologise for being naive, but having only ever been to shows I have no idea who organises them or how much effort is involved. Thanks for your help Vicky Downie Dundee

Conventions can be organised by anyone at all, Vicky. Many are put on by tattooists but others - such as both the Aberdeen and Perth shows - are organised by tattoo enthusiasts rather than artists or studios. A lot of work goes Into even the smallest show so it takes real dedication to set one up. But let's throw it open to everyone in Scotland and see if another convention will materialise there - Sally starting from scratch

Dear Total Tattoo

First of all I would like to say how much I enjoy your magazine. It has to be the best tattoo mag available by far. However, having read on numerous occasions how bad 'scratchers' are for the tattoo industry and having just read the article in issue 51 entitled 'You can't get mc I'm part of the union". I feel compelled to write and put across a 'scratchers' point of view. The first point I would like to make is about the availability of tattoo apprenticeships. In an ideal world we would all have the chance to learn from a great artist and work in a top studio but unfortunately we don't live in an ideal world. Even if you are lucky enough not to have to work to pay the bills and you have the potential to be the greatest artist ever, there is still no guarantee that a studio will take you on as an apprentice.

How many potentially great tattoo artists have been lost to the world because they couldn't get in with a studio to learn the business? And how many professional artists working today started out as the 'scratchers* they now knock? I would hazard a guess at more than a few. The second point I wish to make is on the subject of hygiene. I can only talk for myself here but I treat hygiene as seriously as possible as I have no desire to cause people problems with their ink. My needles arc disposed of in a proper sharps container. I use disposable tubes until such time as I am able to afford to purchase an ultra-sonic cleaner and autoclave. All the consumables arc new for each tattoo. I

do everything I can to avoid cross-contamination.

The next point is on the subject of tattooing under-age people. Again, just because we are not classed as professional doesn't automatically mean we have no scruples and will tattoo anybody as long as they wave the cash under our noses. I myself have turned away people who thought that as I work from home I would ignore the fact that they were only 17. Then there is the subject of the quality of work. Someone who has learned 'under the wings' of a professional is no more likely to produce faultless work right from the outset than somebody who is self-taught. On a personal level, if I feel I cannot do justice to a piece I would rather turn away the work than do a bad tattoo.Tattooing is a constant learning curve. We should all strive to improve and do better work with each and every tattoo regardless of where we work.

Yes. I am a 'scratchcr'. that derogatory word

One day I hope to work in a studio but until that time comes I will continue to work full-time to pay the bills and scratch' away in my spare time whilst I learn the trade. A couple of final thoughts: Maybe all the knocking of "scratchers" isn't just about sub-standard work With the popularity of tattoos on the increase and more people wanting to work in the industry, the professionals who aren't exceptional artists are afraid of a litde competition. Instead of trying to discourage new artists and make it harder for people to learn the trade, why not encourage us. If you don't W3nt us to sit at home 'scratching' away, make a professional environment more available so those of us that wish to work in such a fantastic industry have a better opportunity to learn. Maybe there needs to be a national collcgc set up, where those of us who arc unable, for whatever reason, to get in with a studio can still have the opportunity to learn under professional guidance. It can only be good for everyone in the long run. All the best Mick

By e-mall stop thief!

Dear Total Tattoo

It has come to my attention that a tattooist has been applying for jobs using other artists' photos and passing them off as their own work. Amongst the artists whose work has been stolen arc Louis Molloy and Stu Lambic at Middleton Tattoo Studio. Amanda West at Alzone and Wendy Thomas at Kustom Kulture. This really is a bad idea and I know it is not the first time it's been done by somebody. It is not only unethical but it misleads the shop that needs an artist into thinking that they arc getting just the person they need, when in fact they are not. The other person that loses out is the customer.They go to get their tattoo from that shop with the great reputation and may end up less than happy, through no fault of theirs or the tattoo shop. It will, of course, quickly become apparent that things aren't as they appear but it would be far better if the situation didn't occur in the first place.Thcre's no way that an artist could hold down a |ob for long with this dcception.This leads them to move on and perhaps do the same again and agam

In any other profession (teaching, nursing or engine«n->,g for instance), a forged CV would be taken as a very senous problem. I do not bei<ve that it should be any different in our bus-oess. It o virtually impossible to police this, so the only way to help each other out is to •-cep our eyes peeled. And if we sec a problem, speak out. Don't let the problem become someone else's, or the vicious cycle will continue.

Name & studio witheld

Tool T*uoo Kipcnc

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