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Ben Shaw and the Tattoo Industry: A Fight for Legacy

Recently, the US federal government signed the Modernization of Cosmetic Regulation Act (MOCRA) into law; this is expected to impact the tattoo industry significantly. This regulation act is a reminder that without proper communication and cooperation, the government can make drastic changes to the sector without input from those it affects.

Ben Shaw, a professional tattoo artist of 23 years and business owner of Archetype Tattoo, is a leading advocate for the tattoo industry. As the past chairman of the board of Body Art practitioners in New Mexico, co-founder of the Guild of Ethical Tattooists, a founding member of the Launchpad, and the state representative for the Alliance of Professional Tattooists (APT), Ben has dedicated his career to promoting safe and ethical tattoo practices.

Ben believes the tattoo industry should take responsibility for self-regulation and speak up with a unified voice for the industry’s interests. He is a community builder, willing to go beyond the traditional tattoo industry’s mindset of gatekeeping and isolation. The tattoo and body art scene is built upon a community of artists and art appreciators who respect the timeless craft of tattooing; for so long as the art exists, there will be people who will continue to be a part of it. Ben recognizes that the industry has grown so large that it affects too many lives to be hidden from governmental attention. He wants to guide the industry’s regulation instead of being restricted by it.

Throughout his career, Ben has accomplished many notable feats. He is no newbie in the industry and has effectively managed his shop for 13 years. In the last four years, his studio and artists have been labeled the best in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He co-founded the Guild of Ethical Tattooists, an education organization built to safeguard the public against unprofessional tattooing. He lobbied for Senate bill SB275, which effectively created the board of Body Art practitioners, and served as its chairman until 2019. He is also a public speaker, consultant, and author.

Despite all challenges, Ben has kept his head above water through dedication, hard work, and perseverance. He has faced disconnection, fear, hatred, and confusion within the industry. Still, Ben is determined to unite the community and represent its collective interests to the Food and Drug Administration and the federal government. He maximizes opportunities to speak at tattoo conferences about the inherent opportunities in working together and encourages avenues that promote growth in the industry. He wants the tattoo industry, regulators, and supply manufacturers to know that he represents a unified tattoo industry and will fight for their rights.

Ben’s biggest goal is to raise awareness among tattoo artists in the US about the recent MOCRA bill, and how it will affect the tattoo industry moving forward. He hopes to unify the voices of tattoo artists under the Alliance of Professional Tattooists (APT) and build a database of regulations across the country. To learn more about Ben and his efforts, you can reach him on his social media accounts: YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.

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