WHY YOU SHOULD BE BOYCOTTING REALITY TV TATTOOING From the first days of Miami Ink, tattooing got a huge boost from mainstream media. But while that may have benefited some, the continued onslaught of tattooing reality shows is doing increased damage to the industry. Here’s how:
- It’s absolutely fake. This one should be pretty obvious. Everyone seems to understand Jersey Shore and the OC are full of shit—but somehow Miami Ink had street cred? All the faux-reality “drama” in their shop is for ratings and has nothing to do with how a real shop operates.
- It has little to do with real talent. I’ve already posted about the quality of Kat Von D’s work here, but it’s pretty bad. How are kids supposed to know anything about tattooing when all they see is shitty line work from a hot girl in California? It lowers the standards for everyone and cheapens the craft.
- It’s not about the tattoos. Have you noticed how, outside of a few sob stories, there’s very little actual tattooing in most of these shows? Mostly it’s interpersonal drama set up so Viacom and Discovery can profit off of their new little celebrities.
- It can be dangerous. Until the fury of every tattoo artist in the country was directed at them, TLC nearly aired a show called “tattoo school” about training tattoo artists en mass and leaving them to “graduate” as tattoo artists after only a few weeks. They were taught almost nothing and allowed to give people free, shitty tattoos on national TV. Um… what!?
- It takes power away from the industry and into the hands of TV execs. Unless you want tattooing to become as elite and bullshit as the gallery art system, we need to continue developing our own means to share and promote good artists. Remember a year ago when David Hale first appeared on FuckYeahTattoos? A few months later he had booked out for over a year. Artists win awards at conventions to prove their worth—not by winning contracts. It should be by our own means that good artists are developed and recognized—not because the Oxygen Network has a contest. (Yeah, even Oxygen is getting in on this. I bet Disney is next.)