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.

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.

Duties & Tasks of a Body Artist

Body artists:

  • 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.

Future growth:

Very strong

Employment by state:

ACT ACT 2.1%

NSW NSW 26.2%

NT NT 1%

QLD QLD 22%

SA SA 7.2%

TAS TAS 1.8%

VIC VIC 34.3%

WA WA 5.3%

Hours worked:

39.2

Unemployment:

Average unemployment

Gender split:

Male 30%

Female 70%

Education level:

Age brackets:

15-19 - 6.4%

20-24 - 11.5%

25-34 - 20.5%

35-44 - 16.1%

45-54 - 18.6%

55-59 - 3%

60-64 - 9.3%

65 and Over - 14.5%

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

Related careers