While tattooing is now very much in the mainstream, it’s still fair to say that the job of a tattoo artist is pretty far from what you would call traditional. There really is no such thing as a 9 to 5 life, and only a select few are able to open their own shops and thrive in a particular location. Like every other type of artist, tattooist tend to be a bit of a restless bunch, and it’s not uncommon to see them work in a number of different shops over the course of their career. Wanderlust is a real thing in this industry, and the good news is that there is a lot of demand for traveling tattoo artists.
If you live in or around a major city, there is a better than average chance that you have a tattoo convention that rolls into town once a year. These conventions are a great place for artists to show off their work and start building a name for themselves. Over time, an artist who is devoted to hitting the road and working in different places is going to start building a following, especially if their work is tight. The advent of social media is a major help here, as it becomes easy for them to show off their work and announce where they are going to be at any given time.
There are only so many cities and conventions to attend, though, so how does a traveling tattoo artist find work in between each of those gigs? The answer is actually pretty simple, and it all comes down to spending an extended amount of time in a particular place, guest tattooing at established shops in each place. It’s a great way for artists who admire each other’s work to spend some time together and perhaps share some of their tattooing secrets. The more time that these types of people work together, the more likely it is that they will improve their craft along the way.
Any of you who routinely pay attention to what’s going on in the world of tattooing will know that there are very different tattooing styles in different parts of the world. Many artists enjoy spending time overseas so that they can learn the ins and outs of those techniques. The more tricks you can add to your tattooing arsenal, the better you become as an artist. A good tattooist always believes that they can get better, and they are usually willing to go wherever it takes to hone their craft.
Tattoos from artists who travel around the world are often viewed as collector’s pieces by those lucky enough to get inked by them. The fact that you can’t just walk into a shop whenever you feel like it to get tattooed by these guys make the whole experience feel somehow more special. That often leads the customer willing to pay more to get the work done, and while tattooing is not all about making bank for the artists, it certainly does help them maintain that traveling lifestyle.