So lets tell everyone the news, whats been happening, why its happening and ask some questions! If you've been tattooed by us or have ever sent us through a message chances are you've met Rach! She's been our all round front of house and office person since we opened and now taken the next leap... So let us introduce our new apprentice
You had always said to us that you never really wanted to learn to tattoo, what changed?
Rach: I don't want to sound super self depreciating but I think I convinced myself for a long time that it was something I never wanted to do because I didn't think that I could do it. Then once we opened Shop Nine and Three Quarters it became a nagging question in my mind again. I finally realised that thinking "I'm not good enough" was just an excuse and really, you work hard TO be good enough.
But why us?
Rach: As for you guys, hahahah why on earth would I have anyone else teach me?!
Like that wasn't even a question!
Why don't you let everyone know how you told us that you wanted to be an apprentice?
Rach: Hahaha well.... so after I had thought about it and had a few weeks to be like YUP I wanna do this, I made a powerpoint presentation with a bunch of memes and graphs!
Alex: Soooo many memes so many graphs!
Rach: A lot of memes and slide transitions.
Adam: A lot of hard work in those slide transitions!
So you've been our apprentice for a few weeks now, how are you finding it?
Rach: In general its been really really good and its taught me a lot of stuff that I didn't know, I didn't know. It's all good doing front of house but now knowing things in practice is great. Super informative, draining in a good way. I haven't had an open breakdown yet so that's good, but we'll get there.
Adam: Does that mean theres been private breakdowns?
Rach: Yeah at home when Conor (her boyfriend) had to "suns getting real low" me!
Adam and Alex crack up laughing
Is there anything so far that you haven't expected?
Rach: Not really, knowing you both enough and knowing both your mentalities and knowing what you expect in general from any apprentice or anyone in the shop, weather its me or someone else I think helped me prepare and make the decision.
I guess the only thing is like, losing time. Like whoa where the did the week go?!
Alex: Like you've found Tanis hahahaha (It's a podcast, check it out!)
Rach: Hahaha exactly! sometimes there's like, "hey I'm sure there was meant to be an extra day somewhere there?!"
Alex: Welcome to tattoo life.
Adam: ...It's now Saturday...
Alex: "I haven't seen any friends in a month and I am soooo tired" hahaha
What do you think is going to be your biggest challenge moving forward?
Rach: Ummmm... I have a lot of challenges, I'm just trying to pick the biggest one hahaha. Probably getting out of my own head enough to just let me do the things I need to do, but still being in my head enough to make sure I don't fuck it up. Finding a happy medium between "no that's no good do it again" and "no you just need to do it without over thinking it" finding the point where I'm not completely happy but I don't feel awful.
Adam: Not hating yourself is good, haha but its one of the hardest things and it will never go away, well as an artist, it shouldn't.
What are you really looking forward to and what are you really not looking forward to?
Rach: I'm really looking forward to getting more confident in my own illustrations.
Once I've nailed the technical side of things discovering what I really like drawing and doing, and like hey maybe theres a particular thing i really like to create. At the moment I don't really have that but all the drawing challenges and exercises you've been giving me have been helping me with that too! Not looking forward to hurting people hahaha
Adam: Kinda gotta do that hahaha
Alex: You're just too lovely!
Rach: Yeah i guess just when you're learning theres always going to be some things that I'm not going to get 100% right all the time, but then I'm hurting someone so that I can get it right in the future haha. I guess I'd just like if I could just be better at the start.
Alex: That's good though cos it just means you want to keep getting better, and if you don't hate your first tattoos then somethings wrong. But rest assured we wont let you near a machine until we think you're ready.
Why do you think we decided to teach you instead of looking for an apprentice?
Rach: Um, I don't actually know, I think maybe you guys are being too nice. I don't want to think it was just a pity thing, but maybe it was hahahah maybe you guys are better answering this one.
Alex: I pity the fool!
Rach: Maybe cos I've been here so long and maybe you're of the understanding that I wouldn't bring it up if i wasn't serious. It was just that I didn't know if you guys were ready for my commitment hahaha.
Adam: No your right, and so you know, your apprenticeship wasn't handed to you. and we don't want anyone to think that it was. To be honest we talked about it a lot and we made that decision over time, it wasn't quick and you've proven yourself over the years that we've known you to be reliable, willing to learn and try new things and that you support us not only with managing the shop but with opening the shop too and we've gotten to see that from you before we said ok. Usually its the other way around, apprentice starts and they have to prove themselves to us.
Alex: Not only to us but to the industry in general, your very determined and even your educational blogs, you can tell that you genuinely want to bring something positive to the industry as a whole. we honestly feel your an asset to the industry not just another person wanting to learn to tattoo cos they think its cool.
In saying that you've known us and been with us for 4 years now, (only took 4 years to prove myself hahaha) what's some of the main things you've learnt about the industry in that time?
Rach: In general I guess that theres a massive lack of knowledge between people who are in the inner circle like tattoo artists, regular clients, and friends we know well vs the general public and those who are maybe getting their first tattoo or haven't been tattooed much. I guess that's something I'd like to help with, and make it so that gap wasn't so big. I don't believe (most of the time) that there's stupid questions. I think it's a lack of understanding. Questions like why is it so expensive? They just don't know what goes into it. Even though I have all this information, it's taken me 4 years, so I'd love to impart some of the knowledge to anyone interested in being tattooed and debunking some of the assumptions about what we do as artists . I guess I'm just always willing to help.
Alex: I think we tend to forget when we all got our first tattoos and its good to remember what that was like.
Rach: I think also I've learnt what I love about this industry, and it's that there's a family side rather than the rock star side. There's those two main divides between types of tattooers and I love that we are like a family. You know, I got tattooed by you (Alex) and it was like "hey, theres a job" and then wham bam thank you mam, best friends forever hahaha It was just perfect and I like that we have that at this shop and with our customers.
If we did have someone else apply to an apprenticeship, what would your weapon choice be to fight the applicant?
Rach: Hahahah I guess it would depend on if i had to physically fight them...
Adam: No no no you have to fight them!
Rach: hahah I think I'd handle it like the Rick and Morty episode, keep summer safe (where rick and morty go off and the vehicle has to look after Summer). So instead of physically hurting them I'd just use knowledge and then mentally get into their head. I feel like my weapons would be that I would stalk there facebook and social media, find out everything about them and then use that to undermine their self confidence and make them never want to tattoo... cos I never want to actually hurt someone.
Adam and Alex: Whoooooo WHOAAAAA WHOAAAAA
Alex: So you're just going for that really sneaky manipulative route there.
Adam: "I'd just like to break them down from the inside out so they can never repair themselves. I don't wanna break a bone that might repair itself I just want to mentally scar them for life!" Crush their spirit.
Alex: Wow on that note lets move on...oh god this totally follows onto the next question... hahahahha
I think we can all agree Anakin was the worst apprentice of all time, discuss...
Rach: Hahahahaha shit. Did i just become Anakin? I think I have strong opinions on this one though, like who built the death star?
Adam: Have you not seen rogue one, he had nothing to do with the death star! the workers built it hahahaha
Rach: He had Enough to do with it.
Adam: But his purpose was to be a great Jedi, like... That was his apprenticeship. He was a great Sith apprentice, but then he was Darth Vader at that point not Anakin.
Rachel: I guess thats my point, like whose really at fault there? I kinda feel like his teachers failed him a bit.
Adam: Qui gon died... don't blame Qui gon.
Rachel: Yeah but they knew the risks they were taking and it just didn't work out for them.
Alex: I feel like they sensed the dark side and they didn't do enough about it. Like if Rachel started to get an ego, we'd have to put her down hahaha
Adam: But then it's like the ego thing, when they didn't let him on the council it only made it worse. It made him more shitty, so he was just the worst.
Rachel: Maybe he was just the apprentice to the wrong people.
What advice would you give to anyone who is thinking they want to be a tattoo artist and not to mention do it the right way, through an apprenticeship?
Rach: Hahaha well I guess firstly, if you think its easy. Don't do it.
Alex: JUST DONT DO ITTTT DONT DO ITTTTT!!!
Rach: hahaha nah I guess you just kinda gotta be prepared to put in a lot of your time. It's like study with extra steps, like if you cant do uni I don't think you should do this. You guys direct me and tell me things but if it don't listen and apply it in a self directed way I'm not going to get anywhere either so you have to have the drive and passion. Draw lots, keep drawing, all the time drawing. Find a studio that aligns with you, if you have the right attitude but in the wrong place your still gonna get nowhere.
Adam: Yeah like just sneak in and over 4 years make yourself invaluable....
Rach: Hahaha exactly, but seriously I do think its good to get tattooed by the people you want to teach you, usually you'll be able to learn a bit about each other too and see if you get on. Work a lot, be nice and get tattooed a lot. Be better.
In the pop culture universe, who would Adam and Alex most resemble as teachers?
Adam: Haha I didn't even know this question was on here!
Rach: haha see I wish I had time to think about this one. Like you (Alex) you're really nice but also really scary. like your my best friend but I am also terrified of you.
Adam: That's just Alex hahaha
Alex: It's just if you don't listen or are stupid constantly I will turn hulk.
Rach: I also just have a crazy amount of respect for both of you so I don't want to disappoint you.
Adam: If you call me professor Umbridge I'm going to be upset.
Rach: Well, if were just doing Harry Potter I could narrow it down.
Adam: Lets just do that universe then.
Rach: Ahhh see I don't wanna say incase you hate it though.
<we debate over whiney boys like Snape and Kylo Ren for a while>
No I think Adam would be a lot like professor Lupin, for the time he was there. Cos he super cares and just wants the best for you.
Adam: Sometimes hairy.
Rach: EXACTLY! and I feel like Alex would be the quidditch teacher Hooch cos she's all "get on the broom" and if you don't do it properly she gets shitty. If you do it like she told you and do it right she's super nice. Her or McGonagall hahaha.
Adam: She's totally McGonagall.
Alex: I'm happy with either hahaha
Rach: McGonagall cares but she's still like tough, both work!
Any closing statement?
Rach: Don't expect me to post any drawings for a while until I start hating them less than I hate myself, apart from the monthly drawing challenges at @fmsufam.
Adam: No closing arguments or statements? No Jerry Springer's final thoughts?
Rach: hahahaha nope I think I'm ok now.
Edited in after interview: Ok I do have a final statement, I absolutely can't wait to continue on this amazing journey and learning experience. I want to do my absolute best to make you guys, and all of our amazing clients proud! I'M READY!