On Pins and Needles: Tattoo References Through Pinterest

I was all set. I totally had it in my head what I was going to contribute. I had listened to Jake’s episode 141 podcast on Overcoming the Mental Hurdles of your Tattoo Apprenticeship. I had a list of trite comments and my two cents on the matter. Then two things happened. First, I left my YouTube running after Jake and it went on to the next video, which happened to be Yogi Barret ranting about the same stuff and pretty much saying a combination of what Jake had said and what I was going to add. I agreed with most of it and realized the world doesn’t need my two cents on tattoo apprenticeships. We have posted a lot of quality content on the matter and there is a ton more out there.

Second, I had like the third conversation about Pinterest and tattoos in the past few weeks. I just couldn’t get it out of my head. I had to write about some of the finer points of what had come from those talks. Between a drunken discussion of the difference between Pinterest, reddit, and Tumblr with my friend Ashley and a more refined discussion on the whole use of social media for promotional purposes, I just thought I would hit on some of the more useful aspects of why these are not only valid to both artists and tattooers, but also how you can use that to your advantage.

In a time when even your grandmother is probably on Facebook, certain people and audiences gravitate towards specific social media outlets depending on their needs and backgrounds. If you are a tattooer or artist in general, then you are probably using Instagram. It can be streamed into almost any other mode of social media and is owned by Facebook, so it works particularly well with that platform. I seem to see mixed views on using Twitter. However, unless you have been living with a remote tribe in Borneo, then you should be familiar with it. Other minor social media communities include things like Tumblr and reddit, which both provide very specific platforms and what can often prove to be more tightly knit communities. This just leaves the one platform I want to talk about for artists, Pinterest.

I know what you are thinking.

You are thinking, “isn’t that just for chicks?”

Actually, no. I used to think that as well, but it is actually an extremely versatile platform. Although it does seem to have a history steeped in its influence from crafty sorority types with a need to create a wedding planning book in digital format, we should be thankful. It is this total OCD level of organization that allows this to be a highly organized visual bookmarking system that rolls into an entire network of online communities. Getting back to tattooers and artists, the organization and social structure create a platform that is beneficial for us, well…. organizationally and socially.


As I was having a few beers with some friends, my friend Ashley brought up some points which led me to defend my use of Pinterest as an artist and explain how it could benefit her. If you aren’t familiar, you create a “board” for the subject you are dealing with. Then you “pin” links to all the relevant sites that you find that have information or relevant content for that subject. For tattooers and artists, this is the most organized and visual way to sort all your online art references. My tattooing pins include a Japanese tattoo board, a flash and general tattoo reference board, vintage tattoos, black & white/ tribal designs, and much more. It is all right there at my fingertips and easily accessible from almost anywhere my phone can get a signal or connect to the internet. Plus, I have an entire board devoted to my obsession with Steve McQueen.

If you are already familiar with this site, then it may be because a girl or group of girls from the specific demographic persuasion I just described has walked into your shop with a printout of several variations of some hipster arrow image or other visual iconography that you consider annoying or worthy of an eyeroll. Don’t let that taint your use and exploration of a perfectly good tool.

Using Pinterest for promotion of personal art and flash sales

The other use that is possibly more important than the organizational function of Pinterest is the fact that it is a social network where you can expose a large audience to your work. There are community boards where you can make friends and interact socially. You can contribute to a community or just gain followers of your own that you can then funnel to your own site. That’s right, the beauty of how the community in Pinterest works is that the Pinterest site is not the final destination. It has the highest flow of traffic to other sites of any social media. So, it is the perfect site for self-promotion, or at least funnel to your Instagram promotional site.

Regardless to whether or not you use Pinterest to its fullest potential for organizing your life and business, you have to recognize and respect that it is a powerful tool that can do so much for you. I have attached all my tattoo related boards. Feel free to let us know what you like and dislike about this platform. Let us know if you have a favorite reference board. Plus you can stop by and see my Steve McQueen board.

Till next time.



Jakes Podcast ep.141:

My Tattoo boards:


Steve McQueen:






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