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Helpful answers to simple ? Questions you or your client may want answers to.
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What is the APT?
The short answer is, you are or could be if you care enough about Tattooing. It is a member driven organization which is only as strong as the people in it. Chartered in 1992 when the vanguard of the tattoo world realized the game was changing and regulation was on the horizon. The Alliance of Professional Tattooists (APT) is a non-profit corporation dedicated to promoting safe tattooing through continuing education, public outreach and regulatory advisement.
The APT is unparalleled in offering the most continuing education under one roof in the industry. Our Trade Show is an industry first with classes in every aspect of tattooing from needle building to scheduling as well as the tattoo industry’s premier blood-borne pathogen seminar, Preventing
Disease Transmission in Tattooing (PDTT). We were pioneers then and we continue to forge the way today.
With our public outreach we offer seminars as well as publications to the general public explaining safe practices and what to expect from a dedicated professionally run tattoo shop. What good is running your business in the most responsible manner possible if the general public thinks every tattoo shop is equal? While talent is everywhere those who care enough to provide the safest environment for their clients are not. Let the public know the difference.
Regulatory agencies have reached out for help and repeatedly the APT has responded helping craft sane and responsible rules and laws. While we do not want any outside regulation of our industry we understand it is here and it is not going away. We need to be involved so as to not be bogged down with unreasonable regulation.
Do you think you are dedicated enough to tattooing to become a member? Contact us for an application.
Basic Guideline for Getting A Tattoo?
The most important factor in determining whether you get a tattoo is placed in a category defined by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Occupations Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) called “Safety and Sanitation”. No matter how sterile the pre-made needles and disposable tubes are, once they are removed from their intact packaging, placed on a procedure area, attached to a tattoo machine, dipped into ink which is forced into your skin with the penetrating needle, every action the tattooist makes must be safe for you, him and any client to follow. Watch the tattooist work.
• Does the tattooist wash his hands before and after each tattoo?
• Does the tattooist put on gloves before setting up the work station?
• Does the tattooist use a high level disinfectant (Lysol or Clorox wipes are NOT high level disinfectants) to clean the station between clients?
• Does the tattooist throw away all products left over from the tattoo?
• Are the ink bottles, wash bottles and product dispensers free of ink smudges?
• Does the tattooist use single use non porous barriers on all his equipment?
If you answer no to any of the above questions after watching the tattooist you should probably find another shop. A tattooist should care enough about his clients to do those minimum safe standards defined by the CDC and OSHA. Talent is everywhere, ethical safe practices are not. Take the time to visit several studios to find the one where safe practices are paramount.
How Should I pick a tattooist?
You should probably start with style. Find the tattooist whose style you like the best. Internet searches will help but you are actually going to have to visit shops. Some fantastic tattooists don’t even have email let alone a website or social media. If you see someone with work you like ask them who did it. You should eliminate a tattooist because he is half way across the world or settle for one because he is in your home town; tattooist travel to conventions and you can take a vacation.
Next you should build a rapport. Once you have found several tattooists you like visit them in their shops. They may be busy but should take time to acknowledge you. If you did not feel a connection with the tattooist then try another, both time and tattooist. You will be spending time and money with them; it might as well be with someone you like.
Most importantly, you should see how safely they work. You should ask to observe their work manner be able to see how safely they work. They should not get upset over you asking to observe for a few minutes. Don’t be surprised if they do not let you in the procedure area making you watch from the doorway or if their client declines to let you watch. If their practices are not the minimum outlined in the Basic Guide for Getting a Tattoo you should walk away.
What is the Trade Show?
The APT hosts an Annual Tradeshow and Exposition that is open only to professional tattooists and apprentices. It is packed with vendors representing all aspects of tattooing and the equipment, supplies and services that they provide and /or manufacture for our industry.
There are 75+ hours of seminars, workshops and lectures covering every aspect of our industry, with topics including stencils, machine building and maintenance, pigment mixing, needle making and flash painting to name a few.
The PDTT, First Aid and CPR are offered as well as advanced classes on cover-ups, medical issues, skin conditions, shop security and ethics. The seminars are presented by experienced professional tattooists and experts in their field.
The Expo also presents an opportunity to speak one-on-one with other industry leaders and members in a relaxed, social setting.
We host an art gallery, tattoo museum display. Banquet dinner, as well as fun contests and raffles!
What Does the APT do for me?
This is the most frequently asked question. Followed shortly thereafter with a “I heard from a friend who worked for a shop whose original owner said the APT was the Tattoo Police” story. We are not. We don’t make the laws nor do we enforce them. We just tell you they are there. It is your choice whether you care enough about your industry, self, family, employees, co-workers and clients to safely operate within 29 CFR 1910.1030. But with everything in today’s culture it comes down to cash; here is the reason you should be a professional member in good standing:
As a professional member of the APT you get a benefit package which includes discounts with major suppliers, insurance companies and after-care manufacturers as well as free retakes on the Blood Borne Pathogen (BBP) Seminars, both the long and short Preventing Disease Transmission in Tattooing (PDTT) courses. The majority of our professional members recoup their membership dues just using their discounts. The free retake PDTT courses have been accepted BBP’s by regulating agencies since their introduction and are offered at several conventions across the nation.
Monetarily your return should be easily two-fold.