LAYTON -- Jared Preslar, a professional tattoo artist, is appalled TLC aired a show that claims a person can become a tattoo artist with only two weeks of training.
"It's a scam," said Preslar, owner of Lucky Bamboo Tattoo in Layton.
The show, "Tattoo School," which aired Thursday night, features Lisa Fasulo, who owns and operates Steady Flow, which is also known as Tattoo Learning Center. There are two facilities, one in California and one in New York. Students from all walks of life pay $4,800 and receive two weeks of training before getting a certificate, according to the school's website.
TLC, which is owned by the Discovery Channel, emailed a statement about the program.
It said, "TLC has had a history of showing a number of different aspects of the tattoo community. While this method is considered controversial by some tattoo artists, including some on our air, it does exist and we chose to document it. People can come to their own conclusions."
Tattoo artists across the country, including Preslar, organized to protest the show by boycotting TLC and the Discovery Channel. On Facebook, a page titled "Artists and collectors against TLC's 'Tattoo School'aa" has more than 35,000 followers. The boycotts, along with peaceful protests of the company's headquarters, were advertised.
Publications such as "Tattoo Artist Magazine" sent out official statements saying TLC stepped over the line.
In California and in Utah, the tattoo business is regulated by county health departments, not by the state, and certifications are not required.
"Utah doesn't regulate the tattoo business," Preslar said. "Anyone (in Davis County) can open a (tattoo) shop. All you need is a business license and an application from Davis County Health Department."
Dave Spence, environmental health services division director with the Davis County Health Department, said the county requires anyone working in the body-art business, which includes tattooing and piercing, to attend a training about blood-borne pathogens. Also, the facilities where tattoos are created must meet the health department's standards.
But a tattoo artist does not receive any training or need a certificate showing training from the county, he said.
Preslar learned about the TLC show early last week, but learning about tattoos has been a lifelong vocation.
"I've always had a fascination with tattoos," said Preslar, who got his first tattoo when he was 14.
When he was 19, he began as an apprentice, working in shops along the Wasatch Front. Then four years ago, the 34-year-old man opened his own tattoo business in Layton.
Preslar said it usually takes about two years to get the basics down. When he has someone apprentice with him, they do not begin tattooing until they have worked side by side with him for at least a year.
But with shows like "Tattoo School," there is a risk that someone will believe they can quickly understand how to safely create a tattoo, which can lead to diseases such as hepatitis, Preslar said.
He added: "This show will just make it easier for people to do what they shouldn't."