Erika Flossy Armstrong and Diego

Hey hey!, Welcome!

 

Hello. ​I’m Erika some people know me as 'Flossy' typically in New Zealand.

I’m the dreamer, curator, and passionate artist of Black Widow Tattoo and Kustom.​​

My world revolves around: 

The thump of a V8 engine of my family BUILT Hotrod  'Hell Bound'.  A 1940 Custom Ford Pickup.

The Buzzing of a tattoo machine which is my passion.  

Kustom paint 'creative craziness' which feeds my soul

The escape that Comic art and the Marvel culture that I love recreating in large tattoos.

 and the snore of my super cute, little Chihuahua’s. Diego & Bella.

My career road has not been mapped out for the faint hearted. I am normally a very light spirited lady who loves her job.

My Job, Tattoo service providing have aspects that need to be identified to inspire consideration and necessary change.

Your see both the, Tattooing and Custom Painting industries are tough careers with critical judgement and antiquated dominations, especially here in the land down under.

Women are not equally accepted and are still designated the small-scale rudimentary requests of both industries. Insultingly, when many of us offer equally equitable performances in magnitude when given the opportunities or chances.

My own Twenty-year+ portfolio supports that.

You’re probably wondering why this is on my website and I am hoping that you the reader understands the level of passion I have for both my industries and you a more in-depth view on the type of person I am. What I stand for and what I love.

 

I want better for people, in general, and artistic individuals like myself to have art work occupational opportunities available to them.

Unfortunately, there are many hinderances that are prevalent in both trades however for now I’d like to create awareness around the Tattooing trade.

Having knowledge of these negative attributes will bring about communication and eventually inspire change…

​Read on for a further in-depth look at the Australasian problematic Tattoo industry and why change is imperative.

 

Gee whizz, it has been tough over the last few years, hasn't it!

Not only has the tattoo industry encountered the singled-out covid, closure of non-essential businesses, as did all the other arts, culture and music, business-to-customer based services,  worldwide disruption.

But on top of call that we as customers, artist, and shop owners, all must endure the illogicality of the tattoo industry.

An industry, I love and loathe at the same time.

 

As a company owner setting up a new business has its own set of complexities based upon the industry niche of the business. Try doing this when your industry niche is not recognized with any retail act or business entity categorization. Which means there isn’t any set formalized business foundation. Let me brake this down for you.

If you set up a coffee business, you in the customer service of supply and demand for coffee. There is retail act parameter that outline regulation and standards that are required to implemented into your coffee business et up model. You set up using a certain requirement level of industry components to make the coffee correctly. They have a standard of cleaning upkeep to ensure customer safety.

Staff are trained in the service of coffee and come with credentials that support your responsibility of providing safe coffee to the public. These credentials are revised and support your insurance policies… All detail is a requirement outlined in the food and beverage service retail act.

Our Tattoo industry has no such act. No training, no formalized fundamentals that support the trade. Please do not be mistake by the
“Tattoo Licenses” both QLD and NSW are simply criminal history check where the only aim here is to “clean up the tattoo industry from the criminal enterprise. This has nothing to do with quality assurances and responsibility for tattoo shop providing permanent body art. Or who is qualified to perform the body art.

Our tattoo industry, methodology has expanded, and we now have a myriad of fine-tuned machinery and precision instruments available to us tattoo artist. All of which aid with eliminating the cross-contamination risks and the skin stress reduction when skin penetrating and executing the tattoo art. We have the best artwork being performed in the world today due to the industry advancements.

Other modern developments are:

·         Pigment compliance under the REACH safety programmed in Europe to ensure our tattoo inks are safe for the public.

·         Aftercare and Sunscreen can no longer contain risky ingredients.

·         There are better stencil applications and ointments developed to use that during the tattoo, for skin penetration other than good ol’ petroleum jelly!

And

·         There is finance available for those who want to pay off your tattoo costs. Yes, finance for tattoos! #Inkpay and #Inkmoney

 

The Australian tattoo industry is big business, 92Million dollars annually. Inkpay, published the statistical financial earnings with a 4.6% growth rate and Aussie being recognized as the fourth country in the world with the most tattooed population. That is 43% of Australians that have at least one single tattoo!

An industry of that size and growing. So, you’d think that there would be some form of industry structure or act. One where the artist performing your tattoo has acquired an accredited skillset, and that the performances are managed in professional business setting? That staffing and financial legitimacy is governed properly, and the business-to-customers service was conducted with limited or zero risk associated with it? ​

·         There is, No staff / Schooling / apprenticeship or accreditation’s structure.

·         No remuneration compliances, regulation, or work ethics outline.

And

·         No-one to go to!

The RISK impacts so much of the business foundation, especially a legitimate one.

There are limited resources for acquiring a shop property as the insurance premiums are increased collectively for all occupants of an adjoining building, such as shops in a row, suites, and malls. The entire buildings inhabitants’ insurances are all raised as soon as the structure harbors a tattoo shop…

Insurance for artists is excruciatingly high costing, because of the risk and no competency level.

A a supply and demand business I cannot get staff that with any accreditation level???

I also, cannot sponsor anyone from overseas, as there isn’t any act or sponsor ship avenue???

​ WT actual F, right? - There's more...

Tattoo shops work with ‘Contractor Tattoo Artists’ where contractor artists are used for easy disposal and not committing to consistent work being provided. Yet they are told when and where to work, limiting the artist to only work from one location which contradicts working as a contractor under your own ABN.​

Contractor Tattoo Artists are dictated to, and have their super-annuation, workers compensation, GST deducted from them, and not lodge correctly, often!!!

They are ostracized when they push back and want an equal level of professionalism. They are not given any respect as a hard-working contractual artist with remunerations that are compliant with their own obligations as a country resident.

 

Contracting artists are provided substandard cheap tools, supplies, and yet expected to promote the shop and advertise for them, to extend their own client base. Of which benefits the business not necessarily the artist!

Tattoo Artists are subjected to being bullied with allocated of work and given out some days and not given any, other days, if you push back against the shops miss-management.

They are told to destroy client disclaimers if the shop they work in, run two set of books, dictating, and paying the artist in cash, daily, or not given their own client disclaimer copy for their own records. We are supposed to achieve all our client disclaimers.

How does any of this underhanded conduct benefit contracting tattoo artist into becoming fruitful members of society? With the monetary job-security, aspects of which should lead to the financial opportunities that any other employee or trade contractors has available to them?

 

 

Coming from nothing and nowhere all I ever had was the ability to work hard. I have made mistakes more than most and fallen 11 times out of ten.

I have my customers and self-discipline to be grateful for. Being ‘far beyond driven' as an individual , I care so very much about my artwork service but more so, making sure customers and other people, never go through what I have endured.

 

Years ago, I received an absolute lash up of a tattoo job, on my back, done by an amateur, overseen by a popular tattooer, in a proper tattoo shop, Albany, Auckland, NZ.  

 

I was charged the expensive full freight cost for my balls-up tattoo and when my mother accompanied me the very next day to enquire what was happening to my tattoo and what should I do about it? We were dismissed and intimidated by a bunch of egotistical numpties! Twenty-five years later this horse and cart tattoo industry, bullshit, still goes on.

This is not service providing.

That experience was the very foundation I built my business on, and once I was able, I made it my job to be a tattoo artist and do a better job than that! The Journey came with many twists and turns and those details you’ll have to wait for…

I never want any other passionate individual who  is attracted to pursuing tattoo art as a trade for themselves, to be subjected to the atrocities of a cash cow as I did throughout my apprenticeship days. I was held back, discouraged, unsupported, hindered, ostracized, and used. All of which this tattoo industry and its archaic operative fundamentals still allows.

 

It is time for change! There is enough economic growth in this world for training organizations, accreditations, award systems, government incentivized training and businesses offering, employment remuneration packages.

A better future all-in-all for Australasia’s tattoo industry.

 

Like I said above, I don’t normally take such a political stance, but someone needs to speak these words, too many do not.

I am all for the artwork of Passionate and Artistic Individuals who dare to push creative boundaries. 

Courageously, Motivating, Collaborating and Networking together to achieve 'EPIC' goals.

If you love something so passionately as I do, then you owe it to yourself to stick with it, NO matter what.

IT IS YOUR Life and YOUR ROAD! 

' Welcome to my mine x'

#bethechangeyouwishtosee