How to become a Body Artist

Body artists decorate or modify the bodies of their customers using techniques such as tattooing and piercing. While some body artists perform a combination of these techniques, it is not uncommon for a body artist to specialise in one area, such as tattooing or piercing.

Personal requirements of a Body Artist

  • Maturity
  • Good interpersonal skills and an ability to put the customer at ease
  • Steady hand
  • Good personal hygiene
  • Responsible attitude to work (to eliminate risk of transmitting blood-borne diseases)
  • Comfortable with needles
  • Self-promotion skills
  • Artistic ability (for a tattooist)

Education & Training for a Body Artist

To become a body artist, extensive on-the-job training is usually required. Before a reputable studio will consider you for training, you will need to display a high level of motivation and dedication, as competition for such positions can be extremely strong. In order to be considered for training as a tattooist, you will also be required to possess a high level of drawing skill and be able to produce a portfolio of your designs. The length of training can vary considerably and may range from eight to 12 months for a body piercer and up to five years for a tattooist. You will be required to observe all procedures before attempting them and will then be closely supervised the first time you attempt a new procedure. Typically, you will not be paid during this period of observation and training. During this training period, you will learn about sterilisation, cross-contamination and other health and safety issues. You may also learn about different piercing and tattooing techniques, equipment maintenance and repair, jewellery quality and selection, customer service and anatomy.

Duties & Tasks of a Body Artist

Body artists may perform the following tasks:

  • consult with customers to discuss the services they require
  • maintain, clean and sterilise equipment and rooms to meet the skin penetration regulations of the state or territory
  • design tattoos, make line drawings from photocopies and make stencils for tattoos
  • make piercings using needles and tattoos using a tattoo machine, ensuring high standards of hygiene and contamination control
  • advise customers on after-care procedures
  • promote themselves to increase client numbers.

Working conditions for a Body Artist

Body artists work indoors and may be required to work evenings and weekends.

Employment Opportunities for a Body Artist

Despite the growing popularity of body modification, body artistry is a highly competitive field. The majority of body artists work on a subcontractor basis and are paid for the work they do rather than a fixed salary. Job prospects may depend largely on an individual's reputation and self-promotion skills. As it is difficult to predict customer demand for body art, a body artist's income can be unpredictable.

Avg. weekly wage:

$575

Future growth:

very strong growth

Employment by state:

ACT 1.1%

NSW 32.6%

NT 1.1%

QLD 26.9%

SA 3.3%

TAS 2.3%

VIC 23.4%

WA 9.3%

Hours worked:

41.5

Unemployment:

average

Gender split:

Proportion of male workers 27.1%

Proportion of female workers 72.9%

Education level:

Proportion of workers who have not completed Year 10: 0%

Proportion of workers who have not completed Year 12: 10.2%

Proportion of workers whose highest qualification is secondary school: 0%

Proportion of workers whose highest qualification is a Certificate 3 or 4: 36.7%

Proportion of workers whose highest qualification is a Diploma or Advanced Diploma: 12.2%

Proportion of workers whose highest qualification is a Bachelor degree: 28.6%

Proportion of workers whose highest qualification is a Postgraduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 12.2%

Age bracket:

Proprortion of workers aged below 35 years: 24.1%

Proportion of workers aged above 35 years: 61.3%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

Additional Information
Many studios prefer to train individuals in their mid-twenties or older. Body artists are usually required to possess a Provide First Aid Certificate.
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