We can genuinely not deny the far cry of pay that comes with a career as an artist — let it be a creative writer, a fine artist, or a tattoo artist. Conventional choices tag along with a stable income, but that might stagnate after a while. However, independent artists face a crushing degree of instability until they reach the summit of continuous growth with their earnings.

So, if you’re an artist struggling with the facts and figures orbiting the tattoo artist’s salary, here’s a breakdown just for you.


Independent Contractors versus Employees

Like every other industry out there, even the tattoo industry offers a structure with tattoo studio owners, full-time and part-time tattoo artists. So, an individual artist’s salary is strongly dependent upon how they establish themselves in the industry.

Contrary to popular belief, one doesn’t need to be a tattoo studio owner to the industry’s highest-paid artist. When people choose this industry, their central fervor is to practice independence and autonomy with their clientele and designs. These particular reasons incline many artists to plant their own space, regardless of losses and potential earnings around it.

Artists, as permanent employees, are paid a fixed amount. These figures might vary and are decided during the interview procedures similar to conventional hirings. However, independent contractors pay 20% to 50% of their earnings to the studio owner or pay a fixed charge at the end of the month.

Even though full-time guarantees stability, many artists choose to work on a contract or part-time, nurturing their clientele at different locations and getting much better pay on their way. They luxuriate in flexibility and unbridled freedom!

Male versus Female

Women hold a detailed history when it comes to fighting for equal rights at the workplace. After the Equal Pay Act in 1963, women were able to take action against this discrimination. However, the act didn’t include numerous industries like agricultural work, domestics, and alike.

It took roughly 60 years for women to make their way to the tattoo industry. Fortunately, after years of struggle, discrimination has come to an end. People and times have changed to an extent where Stephanie Tamez and Kat Von D fall under the list of top 10 highly paid tattoo artists worldwide.

The average tattoo artist salary, irrespective of their sex, will vary from one location to another. For example, in many parts, female and male artists can earn approximately $32,000 a year, while at places like Boston, artists can brew up to $55,000 a year.

Furthermore, it will be highly dependent on the season as well. For example, Halloween or Valentine’s Day is the top season for tattoo artists as people are drawn to get the emotions etched on them permanently. So, no matter what the numbers say, busy seasons, chosen locations, and the tattoo artist’s luck will positively regulate their annual earnings.

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As per States

To be honest, becoming an artist might be far more comfortable than earning from the profession. This is primarily because of the rules and regulations artists need to follow to become an artist changes from one location to another, which directly affects the earning of an artist.

Consider this. A survey shows that an average tattoo artist’s earning in the United Kingdom is roughly £29.19 to £45.97 per hour, which sums up to around £21,821 per year. High profile artists can earn up to £60,000 annually, and a studio owner can churn an annual salary up to £36,725.

In contrast, the numbers for the United States are different. As per ZipRecruiter, earnings were as high as $314,500. Whereas they also hit a low of $12,000. A significant fraction of tattoo artists in the United States earn between $50,000 and $260,000. However, these numbers will vary from one state to another.

Years of Experience

As mentioned earlier, the first few years of an artist’s career, just after completing their apprenticeship and getting their license, their pay usually varies from $15,000 to $23,000 annually.

As one grows in the industry, their earnings and reputation start to improve exponentially. As per PayScale, an intermediate level tattoo artist can earn up to $33,000 annually on average, while artists with more extraordinary experience can churn up to $40,000.

Experts can charge up to $11,000 on an hourly basis, but it will take a lot of hard work and dedication for any artist to charge such exorbitant rates. Expert artists are reported to earn around $50,000 annually, with the expectations of some highest-paid artists who might charge approximately $2,000 per hour.

While staying close to your expertise, there are innumerable factors to consider that will determine your salary as a tattoo artist. For example,

The types of tattoo the artist wants to grow its expertise in, or the locality in which they are practicing, can considerably experience the pay.

For instance, county people might be more inclined towards conventional tribal tattoos, whereas city people are likely to cater to the latest tattoo styles. So, if you, as an artist, are catering to the wrong set of audiences, you might never be able to earn that much.

The popularity of one’s tattoos and their caliber are other factors that affect the level of earning.

Even though this factor stands strongly associated with the artist’s experience, it can be achieved by any tattoo artist at any given point in their career.

The level of technical expertise you have garnered in the tattoo industry.

If you possess the know-how on how to operate tattoo shop software, graphic designing skills, leveraging platforms like Procreate to design illustrations. So, the stronger your familiarity with these newly introduced tools and technologies, the more likely you are to earn those extra bucks!

To conclude, make sure that you have got the expertise and dedication of an artist, and top it up with patience and consistency to make your journey lucrative. Remember, these creative fields like tattooing or fine arts are full of struggles, but with the right efforts, they are wholly rewarding!

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