Inked AU/NZ – Authentink Article – June 2014
by Kian ‘Horisumi’ Forreal
Hey hey, hope everyone had a nice Easter break and Anzac Day long weekends.. was nice to have 2 short weeks in a row! Sometimes I get caught up with work that days blend into weeks and then months and I put my head up and its the middle of may already! How the hell did that happen? I don’t know but it did and here we are! I took a rare weekend getaway over easter and went down to Tasmania to get some fresh air, see the sights and drink some of the best single malt whiskys in the world! Amazing trip! I love Tasmania!
While it’s a bit of a sleepy place for the obvious reason of being at the far end of the world, the people are friendly, the drinking water from the tap is amazing, its better that most bottled waters you get here in the city, the food is fresh and delicious and the landscape is green and rolling and the coast line inspiring. It really is little piece of paradise for a weekend away.
They have an art gallery cum museum there called the MONA, Museum of Old & New Art. Its built like a fortified compound on the waters edge of the Berriedale peninsula in Hobart and goes 3 stories underground, on a vineyard no less. An amazing collection of contemporary paintings and art pieces intermingled with authentic Egyptian mummies, video installations, sculptures and a whole lot of weirdness, in a good way! Highly recommend if you’re heading to Hobart, worth the trip even.
As much as I miss home when I travel it is nice to stay in a comfy hotel and enjoy the frivolous creature comforts I don’t allow myself in my own house on a permanent basis. Namely.. the TV. Whilst I do own a TV per se, I don’t have a cable box or an antennae or any channels, I just use it as a monitor to watch movies from my computer. So when I do find myself in front of a 100 channels of day/night time cable programming from time to time I get a bit transfixed and stuck in the hole while I am wondering to myself WTF is all this crap and who watches it?!
Now I know why people are messed up the way they are, they watch this shit all day and night, it is their portal to the world. It is their reality. I stopped watching TV before reality TV was a thing, like nearly 20 years ago, I only bought an actual television about 2 years because I was sick of watching movies on my laptop. I’ve never seen Big Brother or Australian Idol or X Factor or any of that stuff, I’ve skimmed a couple of episodes of season 1 of Miami Ink when it first came out more than a decade ago and quickly decided it wasn’t for me. And here we are now… 6 different tattoo shows on TLC alone. Holy shit. Tattoo shows all day, every day, every way. I wanted to scream. Who are these fucking morons? Celebrity tattoo artists? What? A show where a guy can’t run his own tattoo shop so he hires someone to give it a makeover?? Whaaaat??
I’ve come to the conclusion that they have tricked the masses, pulled a fast one if you will, and played tattoo culture against itself and tattooing lost without even knowing about it. While everyone thought tattooing was getting popular and mainstream and finally becoming respected and part of normal society,… nah, its not and it obviously hasn’t, the TV and cable networks and the media are turning it (have turned it ??) into an Idiocracy style white trash, low income, drama soap opera of drug fucked high school dropouts. I watched about 10 mins of Ink Master Live.. which was basically a Jerry Springer episode starring the judges, artists and clients from Ink Master all calling each names and shit talking each other in front of a live studio audience. When did this become a thing?? How is it good for tattooing that tattoo artists are on TV calling each other very derogatory names, saying their works sucks etc and judges, some of who are not even tattoo artists, are lambasting clients and artists alike and make us all look like fools? Remember.. this is most people portals into reality, this is what they see on TV so it must be real. On another show the clients are not referred to by name, they are called ‘skins’, like a piece of meat, “Skin number 1 please come out and show the judges your arm, skin number 1”. Another great message about how we as artists ply our craft.
Sure, some will say I am taking it too seriously, that its just some fun and entertainment, perhaps, but at the expense of something I love and respect. Some will say that tattoo shows are good for tattooing, they get it ‘out there’. And at some point in time that last line might have been true, the shows certainly did put tattooing in the living room of everyone in the world, gave ordinary people access to a secret world. Alas and sadly, now some of those ordinary people have become tattoo artists too, and they see no problem with showcasing, exploiting, fucking up and making a mockery of the art and life that came so easily to them through the magic of TV.
A real tattoo artist would never call him or her self a ‘celebrity tattooer’. Get fucking real. Make-up caked tattooed ‘pin up’ girls doing lame ass tattoos on dumb broke people has become the lowest common denominator on television apparently. Idiocracy is here and it on your television.
Entertainment or not, All these shows suck and if you are contributing to them you are contributing to the downfall of tattooing as a serious craft. Get a real job if you can’t handle being just an everyday non-famous tattooer, or better yes, here’s an idea; learn how to draw, develop your style and work your ass off for a decade and then perhaps you can gain some fame on your own merits instead of being a hero to a bunch of reality TV watching half-wits.
How’s that for entertainment?