On Wednesday, May 29th, we got the unique opportunity to visit an uncommon place for school field trips – a tattoo shop. Adam Newginz from Tattoos by Mundo in Beaumont offered to talk to the kids about the ins and outs of the tattoo business and show them around the shop.
The kids got a pretty great rounded-out tour. Not only did they get to learn about the process of tattooing, but also the overview of running a business, and being an artist in this profession.
When we got there, we got to meet Mundo and his lovely wife (with awesome shoes), Aubrey, who is featured in more than a few ink magazines for her beautiful artwork. We were also encouraged to look through the artist portfolios on the counter to see the styles and previous work that the artists have completed for clients. Adam also explained some of the basic things you would want to look for in both an artist and a shop – namely examples of their work and the shop’s licensing. Mundo’s licences are displayed on one wall to the left of the counter, in full view and easy to check out.
From there, we moved on to the paperwork part of the tour. No ink goes on skin until the paperwork is done. Adam showed the kids one of the machines that they use to make the drawing into a template, and ran one of the pictures through and showed them the template that would be used on the skin to guide the tattoo machine.
From there, we moved to the sanitation station. It’s kept separate from the main shop and they got to check out the tubes being washed and prepped for sterilization in the autoclave. They also got a crash course in sterilizing the other surfaces of the shop with various bactericidal chemicals and the importance of both safety and cleanliness for the client and the artist. They learned about cross-contamination, and how important it is to take care of new tattoos properly, and how vital it is to your reputation as a business and artist to ensure clean work for your clients.
Next, we moved on to Adam’s station, where he explained how he goes about prepping his tray and materials by lining or wrapping with foil or plastic. He showed the kids a couple of tattoo machines (not tattoo GUNS, he stressed); an older one that is noisy, and a newer one that is very quiet. He passed around the needles, and explained how it’s a bit of a misnomer that they are called needles, when in reality they function more like brushes. The kids were very interested in seeing all the equipment!
After that, Adam surprised the two kids with the best questions with Sharpie tattoos, which the kids thought was awesome.
MANY THANKS to Adam Newginz and Mundo for hosting this field trip for us!
The kids thought it was ‘way cool’, and the parents who were there thoroughly enjoyed it as well!
If you’re looking for educational resources that tie into this field trip, you might find these links useful:
The History of Tattooing By Cate Lineberry (Smithsonian)
THE CHANGING CULTURAL STATUS OF THE TATTOO ARTS IN AMERICA By Hoag Levins
The Signifigance of Maori Tattoos
Symbolism of Japanese Yakuza Tattoos (Prezi)
Marked Death of the Yakuza (documentary)
The Bar Code Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn on Amazon & Lesson Plans for the book ($17.00)
Auschwitz Tattooing: The Evolution of Tattooing in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp Complex by George Rosenthal, Auschwitz Survivor and accompanying curriculum modules (history)
You can also search for traditional meanings of tattoo symbols in certain sub-cultures (pirates, prison, gang, bikers, Yakuza, etc.)