Now that both my current apprentices are in their second year of working at the studio and learning more and more tattoo skills and related knowledge its time to bring in some new blood to the shop to take their place on the floor as they start to do more tattooing.
I am going to address several topics that are routinely brought up both to my face and rumours that swirl around… firstly, no, no one has successfully completed an apprenticeship at my shop as of yet, and that’s for a myriad of reasons that I will go in to, but most of them have gone on to tattoo elsewhere with varying degrees of success.
When an intern passes muster, displays the right attitude, works hard in the studio and earns their spot as my apprentice I treat them like family, after a full year of working the floor in the studio the tattoo knowledge and skills training begins, before that its how to work the floor and be a good assistant. It has taken me over 30 years to get where I am in tattooing, I am not just handing that information out to anyone, it needs to be earned and deserved and I pay close attention at all times.
I’ve taken a few of my apprentices to Japan and around Australia, helped them out with finances, counselled them in hard times, and been like a father figure to a couple of them. I used to take it hard when I was betrayed, now I know its just the way things are, I don’t take it personal. In the past I have had what I thought were hard working and loyal apprentices steal from me, lie to me repeatedly, have drug habits that interfered with their duties, sleep around the shop and various other behaviours that gets you a one-way ticket out the door. Many people assume because this is tattooing and we’re all supposed lowlifes and pirates that shitty behaviour is acceptable. It’s not. I am punctual, hardworking, honest and I run a tight ship.
People have alluded to me exploiting labor in aspiring artists which I find amusing. I, unlike nearly every other shop in the country, make sure the apprentices have substantial pocket money (from artist tips) for their hard work while they learn. Most other shops charge upwards of 10-20 thousand dollars for an apprenticeship and even then its a basic ‘how to tattoo’ course. I am clear about my expectations and the program from the beginning. From drawing daily and showing artwork, punctuality, neat appearance, good attitude, hard work.. all this is expected, every day, and in exchange a candidate learns discipline, drawing, social skills, client interaction, design creation, sales, etc… and this is before any actual tattooing is started… these are invaluable skills you can’t learn anywhere but in a busy bustling tattoo shop. After a year of working the floor and during the course of the 4-5 year apprenticeship the candidate learns proper drawings skills and large scale composition, needle making, ink making, supply sourcing, freehand design on the skin, machine building and tuning, how to tattoo of course and all the rest. I don’t offer a ‘how to tattoo’ course or apprenticeship. I teach the way of the craft and everything involved.
From my international tattoo artist peers I am asked ‘why?’ Why do I teach people to tattoo and add yet more artists to an already swollen and saturated industry? Simple answer, the tattoo artist employment situation in the outside world at large is not the same as the local situation here in Australia in terms of artist availability and saturation, it is very difficult to find any artists here in Australia to work let alone skilled and talented artists who are professional.
We have always had to look outward to international artists to come here and fill the chairs in the shop especially during the busy seasons, and that has worked to a certain degree but comes with its own complications due to VISA and license requirements and its even worse now that all international travel has ground to a halt, the border is closed for the foreseeable future and travel restrictions prevent any new artists from entering Australia. Every shop around Australia is hiring artists, its a tough market to keep the shop staffed so I am teaching, training and mentoring my own artists that if treated right will hopefully stay with the Authentink/Horisumi Family for the long term, but each apprentice is free to make their own choices once their obligation and training is complete.
I love teaching and giving back to young artists that want to learn and grow and develop, artists that have a respect and passion for the craft that I love and want to make themselves into master craftsmen and strive to be the best at what they do. But you have to earn it.
I am looking for dedicated people, hungry people, motivated people, people that want to excel and make no excuses but keep trying and working hard to get where they want to be… if thats you, read on! Be serious please.. let’s not waste each others time.
Kian ‘Horisumi’ Forreal is now accepting applications for a shop intern with a pathway to being a Deshi (apprentice) at Authentink Studio in Sydney. You must be honest, punctual, patient, dependable and fluent in English reading and writing. You must be between 17 and 25 years old and a permanent resident or citizen of Australia, no exceptions. As tattooing is a service industry you must like people and or want to get better at being a people person, no angry depressives please.
You must be willing to clean and not complain (or be well adept at faking enjoying it) & have an interest in tattooing, tattoo art, Japanese art, Japanese tattooing and improving your drawing at all times of course. Minimum 4 year commitment.
Familiarise yourself with my history, mywork, and my studio. You must be passionate about being a traditionalist Japanese style tattoo apprentice. Research what this means, if you are just looking to learn ‘how to tattoo’ this is not the position for you.
Please do not Facebook message, email, call the shop about this position or drop by the studio without an appointment in regards to this position. Read that again.
Application instructions are as follows:
Write a handwritten letter to me introducing yourself, explaining why you want to get involved in tattooing and what it means to you. Be honest, don’t tell me what you think I want to hear. You may attach some drawings to the letter. Please enclose a recent photo of yourself and be sure to include your contact details and any social media links you have. Put all this in an envelope and mail it to the studio
Kian horisumi forreal
#306 4-14 Buckingham St.
Surry Hills, NSW