Body Artist
Careers New Zealand
New Zealand
4d ago

Pay for body artists varies greatly and depends on talent and popularity. Body artists usually take a lump sum payment on a piece of work rather than wages, so pay can vary weekly.

  • Apprentice body artists may work for free in a studio to learn their trade.
  • Apprentice body artists who tattoo clients under supervision may earn minimum training wage.
  • Experienced body artists may earn between $32,000 and $50,000 a year.
  • If working for someone else, body artists usually pay a percentage of what they earn to the studio. Self-employed body artists can earn a reasonable living, though the cost of establishing a business can be high.

    Source : Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2006-2014 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2015.

    This information is a guide only. )

    What you will do

    Body artists may do some or all of the following :

  • explain the tattooing or piercing procedure to the client
  • help the client choose an image or jewellery
  • copy or design an image for clients
  • make a stencil of the image
  • prepare the area being tattooed or pierced
  • pierce the client's body part
  • draw the tattoo with inked needles
  • ensure the studio and equipment meets with sterilisation, waste management, and health and safety standards.
  • Skills and knowledge

    Depending on their specialisation, body artists need to have knowledge of :

  • different artistic styles
  • how to use tattooing or piercing equipment
  • human anatomy
  • how to recognise, treat and prevent infections
  • disinfectants and which ones to use on certain areas of skin
  • health and safety standards and procedures
  • first aid and good hygiene practices.
  • Self-employed body artists also need business management skills.

    Body artists usually :

  • work varied hours including late nights and weekends
  • work in their own studio or an established studio or clinic with other body artists.
  • Entry requirements

    There are no specific entry requirements to become a body artist, as they are trained on the job in an informal apprentice situation by experienced body artists or body piercers.

    They are usually unpaid while training.

    Art courses are useful for body artists. Small business courses are useful to body artists who run their own salon.

    Secondary education

    NCEA Level 1 art, maths, te reo Māori, graphics, workshop technology and health science are useful.

    Personal requirements

    Body artists need to be :

  • creative and artistic
  • patient and confident
  • responsible
  • able to handle criticism
  • calm
  • good at listening and communicating
  • good with people.
  • Body artists should also not be squeamish.

    Useful experience

    Useful experience for body artists includes :

  • work in visual arts
  • hands-on arts and crafts jobs
  • work in beauty, healthcare, retail or customer services.
  • Physical requirements

    Body artists need good hand-eye co-ordination and good physical and mental stamina, as they may need to concentrate for long periods.

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