Shane O’Neill, a master of realism and an expert in the art of the portrait was the featured host for the second edition of the ‘Tatouage et Partage’ Seminar.
This exciting adventure started in May of 2012, in Avignon, France, with the first-ever seminar hosted by none other than talented American tattooist, Nikko Hurtado. The original idea came from the Chaudesaigues family, when they founded the ‘Tatouage et Partage’ association, a group dedicated to promoting growth in the French tattooing business. The association launched a new series of seminars by pro tattoo artists, for pro tattoo artists.
The seminars shouldn’t be seen as introductory courses in tattooing, but more as advanced classes that offer established skin artists the opportunity to further their knowledge of the craft in today’s often misinformed and sometimes hostile tattooing environment. Let’s face it, it’s not like there’s a multitude of easy opportunities for growth in the field of professional tattooing. If life wasn’t hard enough for young tattooists who look to make their mark in our industry, they often have to put up with an age-old conflict of interest that pegs established artists against newcomers. It seems rather difficult for a budding tattooist to get any sort of guidance and benevolent support from the rest of the profession, so these seminars were created to educate a new generation in need of guidance and to support the growth of existing skin artists seeking to improve their skills. They can learn new styles of tattooing and have a chance to be introduced to new techniques.
We shouldn’t worry about the arrival of a new wave of skin artists (sometimes perceived by established tattooists as stiff competition and an automatic shrinking of their client base). We should instead keep in mind that we need to pass along and perpetuate acquired knowledge from a time when it was easier to gain notoriety from the simple fact that we were tattooists.
Once again, the ‘Tatouage et Partage’ association doesn’t claim to be a tattooing school, but rather wishes to provide answers to a number of commonly asked questions and hopes to federate our profession. The association would like to unite people passionate about tattooing for discussions and debates, in an effort to take a more active part in the future of tattooing as a business and as an art, without overlooking the legal and legislative aspects.
We also wish to look into the opportunities that new technologies can bring to the industry; things like software, graphic interfaces and digital photography. We’re all motivated by our passion for our craft and the wish to keep thriving in our community.
Could tattooing have slowly become an elitist society that only puts forward the most visible of its members, ignoring the very existence, value and validity of those who wish to become better artists? How can we hope to see our profession truly evolve as a whole, if we keep this up? Here are a few questions to ponder:
1) What’s with these so-called tattoo school that dispense more than questionable education, using self-proclaimed and self-accredited teachers? What they get out of people, is a large sum of money, handing people back a mixed bag of promises.
2) Wouldn’t you rather have access to proper advice and guidance from tattoo experts who have rightfully earned their stripes from a lifelong career and are recognized by their peers and their fans?
3) Wouldn’t you like to mingle with pros and get know your own peers with the prospect of nourishing a lasting and mutually beneficial friendship?
Of course, you can also stay home and work hard to discover and learn all over again the skills that others have mastered before you over several decades. You can also decide to stay away from those you might learn something from, just because you’re afraid of them. Some people are afraid of looking dumb by ‘going back to school’, instead of taking this chance to learn and make progress. Challenging oneself isn’t a sign of weakness, quite the contrary. I think it’s time to work together in providing solutions to our problems, brushing aside individual concerns or power plays, forgetting about politics and money matters. This is simply to protect ourselves as individuals and as a group while preserving our common interests and our passion, with an eye on evolving together. This is, in my opinion, the best way to sum up the action of the ‘Tatouage et Partage’ association.
The recent seminar focused on realistic portraiture in tattooing and was a success, thanks to Shane O’Neill’s extraordinary performance as a host. Al attendees enjoyed the seminar and had a great time, sharing their work and their experience with their peers. Topics ranged from personal technique and how to deal with working in a tattoo studio, to the vaguely defined legal status of a tattoo artists. Attendees were also enthusiastic about sharing a number of anecdotes and teaching moments they had experienced along their journey.
We also got to know better an esteemed colleague, Bob John. Bob was one of the organizers of the first-ever tattoo convention in Bourges, France, with Alan (another emblematic figure on the French tattoo scene), back in 1989. Just ask him about how him, Norbert of Grenoble, Franck and Jean-Pierre helped spread the word about tattooing in France, as they setup shop in an abandoned lot outside the city limits.
We learned more about Julien Thibers and his work with the Master Classes. Julien has his own approach to teaching tattooing and offers weeklong drawing classes held in small groups. There’s nothing better than starting your education with basic teachings, and it doesn’t hurt to do so under the watchful eye of an experienced master.
Laurent Schreiner, representing ITC, talked at length about rotary tattoo machines, about the importance of good electric motors, and about his move to manufacture top-quality rotary machines in France.
Vincent of Lucky Seven Supply was on hand too. He underlined the importance to make the right choice when shopping for quality pigments. He also talked about the ins and outs of importing goods and equipment.
Medical Body Art supported the event, offering all attendees a gift bag filled with a product selection representing their entire line.
Mric, editor of Inked Magazine was on hand for a future article to support and feature the seminar. Inked will also run a feature on Shane O’Neill, who’s been in the spotlight in the U.S. as of late, for his appearance in the ‘Ink Master’ television program and his event production company organizing conventions in Iowa, Pittsburgh, Florida and Cincinnati.
Photographer Dam’s documented the event over the two days with his impressive photographic equipment; the story will be in Inked in December.
Also covering the event, was cinematographer Jérome Godard, who also filmed the first Tatouage et Partage seminar. Jérome had great news to share: he will soon be a dad and will film Shane O’Neill’s next Tattoo Convention, right after he produces Nikko Hurtado’s next DVD.
This demonstrated that the world of tattooing and its spirit of brotherhood know no bounds, and that the ‘French Touch’ remains the reflection of a demand for high standards.
We thank Tattoos.fr for covering the event online. Our project was an ambitious one and we strive to reach out to a wide audience. In doing so, we got meet Sophie Michaud and enjoy her company. Thank you, Sophie. I will also thank our printer, Fabien Resta, a man who wears many hats and has his hands in many activities. Thank you, Randy Beaugeois, a man who often evolves in the shadows, but always makes sure that our events run smoothly. I was happy to have my two sons, Steven and Wesley at my side, getting involved with the seminar and with the rest of our endeavors.
A special thought goes out to my wife, Cécile, who manages with brilliance all of our projects and has been a great interpreter. She is well versed in all things tattoo, and was able to provide seamless, real-time translations during the seminar.
Thanks to all the old friends I got to spend time with, and to the new friends I got to meet. I hope to see you again for our third seminar with Joe Capobianco and Jeff Gogue.
Until then, come visit us in our home for the ChaudesAigues Tattoo Festival, on July 5, 6, and 7, 2013.