Boycott TLC's "Tattoo School"
Just when you thought tattoo TV couldn't get any worse, TLC -- the braintrust behind NY Ink -- will premier "Tattoo School" next Thursday, July 14th. The show follows "award-winning" tattooer Lisa Fasulo, who runs The Tattoo Learning Center in Albany, NY, as she teaches students "from all walks of life" the craft. In two weeks. Cue the drama:
Rookie students, models risking their skin to first time body artists, a rebellious instructor and unconventional training...who will bear the drama of competition and survive?
What's even more abhorrent is the press release for the show, which includes the following:
In the United States, the majority of tattoo artists are self-taught. Pick up any of the major tattoo magazines, read the artist biographies and you will find 2 out of 3, on average, are self taught. That means experimenting with Uncle Jimmy on the kitchen table.
Typical, "reality" promo in which there is no reality.
But many artists are fighting back. There's a petition online and Facebook pages seeking to stop the show from airing. On Alie K Tattooer's FB page, there are contacts for TLC's ethics (really?) and viewer relations departments. There's also contact information for Lisa Fasulo herself.
On her blog, Lisa Fasulo answers "the haters," but I think her "student tats" page speaks volumes more. It's not pretty.
I'm doubtful that TLC will pull the show, but I fully support these efforts because they raise awareness about tattoo schools and their pitfalls. It's not simply about tradition. It's about health concerns, and indeed ethics, when sending people out to potentially scar others after mere weeks of training.
Over the weekend, Philip Barbosa will be putting up a site, as well as creating printed material, designed to educate people about these schools and the real "qualifications" of its graduates (among other issues). Will update this post with the link and further info.