This piece is just in at Lift Trucks Project. Penned on the back of the tattoo board, is this tally. What it looks like is a 9 hour day paid $30, 4 days a week comes out to $120 per week. Awful, right? Well , maybe not. It comes out to $6,240 per year, if every week paid the same. Here's an indication of what things cost in 1942, the date on the sheet. Average cost of new house $3,770.00 Average wages per year $1,880.00 Cost of a gallon of gas 15 cents average cost for house rent $35.00 per month, a bottle of Coca Cola was 5 cents, average price for a new car $920.00.
How does this stack up to todays income for the tattooer? On the internet and according to a fellow with the moniker "Doomed" (Thanks in advance if this is your information) herewith his opinion on the matter:
"...all tattoo artists get paid cash. there are no corporate tattoo headquarters sending out checks. you probably already knew this, but i was just refering to the guy who said "coming from a tattoo artist who gets paid under the table". we aren't washing dishes, that's just how it works, we get paid cash.
Like everyone else is saying, there is no standard. there are so many factors that go into it, like how busy the shop/artist is and how many tattoos (if any) they did that day. sometimes the weather affects the customer average, stuff like that. some artists charge by the hour, and some by the size and detail of each piece. but keep in mind that not all that money goes to the artist. and no, not every artist gets paid 60/40 like some other guy said. it all depends on how long the person has been working as an artist. i've seen people getting paid as low as 20% (which was really wrong anyway) and some people getting paid as high as 70, 80%. i would guess the only way you get 100% of the money you make is if you own the shop, however in that case you're responsible for paying all the bills of the shop so in a sense you don't get all your money. "
So, in short, there is no such thing as a tattoo artist "salary". good luck."