The tattoo industry continues to grow remarkably as more people embrace body art. While this is a great move and one that has opened the industry to more customers, it has also exposed the many gaps in the space. There are many regulatory loopholes in the tattoo industry, from ink production to the training of tattoo artists, which puts the public at risk. This is one of the many gaps Ben Shaw, a well-known tattoo artist and advocate based in New Mexico, has been working to bridge.
Ben Shaw is a public speaker, trained tattoo artist, and regulatory specialist who has been in the industry for years. Ben is utilizing his public speaking skills to transform the tattoo industry as he pushes for safe tattooing and appropriate regulation.
According to Ben, his goal is to create a better tattoo industry where there are zero regulatory loopholes. Tattoos are significant, and they carry different messages and meanings. Unfortunately, as the demand for tattoos increases, not all joining the industry fully know the basics and how to correctly draw a tattoo without causing harm.
Ben is building an online community of tattoo lovers and artists using his online platform, like YouTube, to discuss safety and hygiene standards, including the dangers of contaminated ink and poor sanitation practices. In addition, he shares the benefits of tattooing and how you can properly care for tattoos to ensure smooth healing. Ben also uses his online platform to champion better laws and regulations as he involves others in the industry in decision-making.
Ben Shaw has spearheaded improved regulation for a bodyguard in New Mexico. Ben sat on the New Mexico Board Of Barbers and cosmetologists as the only tattoo artist where he got to talk more about proper measures taken to help tattoo artists and their clients. He pointed out the need for proper regulations specific to the tattoo industry. As a result, the Board Of Body Art Practitioners was founded. The board monitors the licensure of tattoo artists, guiding expectations of cleanliness and professionalism within the Tattoo industry. Ben retired as chairman of the Board Of Body Art Practitioners in 2019. However, he is still a board member and currently sits on the board’s rule committee.
Ben was also the host of Art Fusion For a Cause, founded by his studio, Archetype Tattoo. The event brought together local artists raising thousands of dollars for non-profit organizations. During these events, Ben Shaw and other tattoo artists shared their experiences and what they feel can be done differently to improve the industry.
According to Ben, while closing all the loopholes might take some time, the steps taken so far are great. More tattoo artists now understand the laws and regulations, making it easier to practice safe tattooing. Unarguably, this is a great improvement from what the industry used to be, where most tattoo artists saw each other as competitors rather than a community. As the industry evolves, Ben hopes to help more artists from around the country and world navigate tattoo regulations and be a voice to stop over-regulation and inspire safe tattooing.