Non compliance was met with a punch to the face.
Notorious tattoo artist Ryan P. lives to leave his mark on your hide. Here he talks about coming up hard to master the trade.
"The shop was not in a nice part of town. Bums were always around panhandling, walking in and asking for a job. They would piss and shit all around the building. It was my job to deal with them.
I was expected to be available twenty-four hours a day. I was doing all of this while I was a senior in high school. For two months I cleaned the shop with a toothbrush. If I was told to do something, I'd better do it. Non compliance was met with a punch to the face.
There was also the ardous task of making the needles. Apparently I was not moving fast enough. My mentor and the other two artists pulled guns on me and told me to 'work faster'. I have had my index finger broken five times.
It was abuse both physically and mentally. The major tipping point is mental toughness; do you have it or not? To this day I'm still amazed that I made it through. I've worked in about ten shops from Chicago to Seattle. I'm stubborn.
Tattooing is a form of art, that's for sure. I tend to see it more as a science and a craft.
Custom pieces are not as simple as 'lick it and stick it'. Is the canvas skinny or thick? An idea in a customer's head may not be as practical as they were hoping. Creatively, I will always do what is asked of me unless I am asked for an opinion.
If their idea is easily misconstrued because its cloudy or hazy, I ask them to rethink it. There's just too much uncertainty there. In some cases I'll draw at least three pictures hoping that I've achieved what they wanted."