In short, if you are not working for a shop and you are actively tattooing (at your home or the homes of your customers) you are considered an independent tattoo artist. Some of the best tattoo artists around are independent and do not work for a shop. Why? One reason is that sometimes what makes an artist great is that he/she is an individual and has a strong personality, which may not work in a shop environment. Or, it may be that the artist is self-taught, refusing to be taken advantage of by a shop under the misused term ‘apprentice’.
This is not to say that all independent artists are talented, or that overall, they are superior to the artists working in a shop environment. We are simply acknowledging them and want you guys and gals to know that we know you are there and we know the struggles you endure daily to purchase your tattoo and body piercing supplies without the bulk buying power of a shop. We also know that you are slandered by the local shops around you and deemed ‘scratchers’ even though those that are calling you that started out as ‘scratchers’ themselves. We commend you, independent body artists, and support your work, knowing also that if it wasn’t for you out there in our communities, the price of getting a tattoo at at shop would be astronomically higher. Thank you for existing.