Instagram & The Tattoo Industry

In the 5 years since Instagram’s release, the tattoo industry has evolved immensely. It has seen artists careers taken to new heights, brought exposure to tattoos as an art form, inspired the creativity of a generation and given us lovers of ink a platform to view, share and discuss all styles of tattoos and tattoo culture.

Before Instagram, if you wanted to get a tattoo you usually just went into your local tattoo shop with a design. But if you wanted it to be done by a great artist, your only real option was to buy tattoo magazines and somehow find websites that had artist’s portfolios on them.

While attending tattoo expo’s I started to collect business cards so I could follow the artists Instagram accounts. After seeing all of the different styles that were being created, it opened my mind to the level of detail that could be achieved on skin. Then all of a sudden tattoo sharing pages on Instagram started to become popular and people from around the world had a new found interest in tattoos. People who never thought they would get a tattoo were starting to make tattoo wish lists and people who always wanted a tattoo but never knew what to get, were finding inspiration through seeing daily uploads of every single tattoo style imaginable.

Moving on, there is a direct relation between the demand for a tattoo artist’s work and the amount of followers he/she has. So to guarantee prosperity in the industry, as an artist it is of high importance to take Instagram seriously.

For example there are many artists whose work is in such high demand, that people from around the world travel to remote destinations just to bring a tattoo back from their favourite tattooist.

Tattooing is becoming less about bringing in a picture to a tattoo studio and more about wanting to have a specific artist’s style or interpretation of an idea on your skin forever.

Many artists had to be a ‘jack-of-all-trades’ by knowing how tattoo in all styles, replicating the images their clients brought them. This versatility was a big part of tattoo culture, so artists were required to be tattooing Japanese style one day and a black and grey portrait the next.

It is near impossible to be a “master of all styles”. Only by doing something in high repetition will you be an innovative leader in that style. Previously if you could do all styles and had versatility, you would be successful and have longevity in the industry. But as tattoo culture evolves so does peoples understanding of what can be achieved on skin, leading to people choosing an artist for what they do that’s unique.

backinktime was created to aid in the progression and prosperity of the tattoo industry in the digital age, through connecting people with artists, by showing the best new tattoos created each day, and discussing the important matters regarding the industry and tattoo culture.

To optimise Instagram as a promotional platform one must take a few steps:

  • Invest in a decent camera and take bright/high quality photos of your work. The ability to easily share your images on tattoo sharing pages is means for them gaining traction and popularity. You won’t believe how many Australian tattoo artists pieces I’ve wanted to share but can’t because of the low quality photo taken of it. The fact that there are unique and stunning tattoos created by artists that have failed to eternalize that work for the world to see, is upsetting.
  • Put your NAME, STUDIO and LOCATION in your Instagram Bio. I can’t stress this enough, if people are looking at your work and don’t know what country or state you are in, how can they begin to think about travelling to get a tattoo from you?

Social media has created a global network and revolutionised many industries, and the tattoo industry is no exception. With tattoo culture rapidly evolving, how we consume content is changing how we perceive tattoos as an art and the artists behind the work.

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