Steve Chen's Story

944550_560327274024027_9967716_n One of our apprentices came to us last week and said he’s no longer going back to school next year so he can pursue tattooing full time. His name is Steven Chen and a lot of you might know him as the nice long-haired Asian guy who’s been helping you with your appointments and consultations at Pacific Mall. My first thought was “Oh shit, what have I done?” Now, this is not the first time that someone has left school to be a part of the shop full time but it doesn’t make me any less scared. Why? It’s because I believe in the value of having a proper education. I never graduated college or university and I don’t think it’s the only way to learn; but there’s something about a university education that I think every young person deserves to experience, and I wouldn’t want Chronic Ink to be the reason they don’t get a diploma. Then, another part of me was also happy and proud at the same time, because he obviously found a place he enjoys and maybe he’s even found something that he can call a career. It’s a constant conflict for me because each person that leaves school for Chronic is placing a lot of trust in our ability to provide a better education and potentially a better way to make a living - this is someone’s life we are talking about and we do not take this lightly. What if we can’t get them to where they need to be to be as a tattoo artist? Are they leaving school for the right reason? Is this the right time, or should they stay in school for another year or two? This is not our decision to make but we are not going to let anyone fail on our watch either, if we can help it. At the end of the day I guess nobody can say for sure they are making the right decision. There’s no crystal ball but the way I look at it is that at least these young people are taking a chance. They are doing something with their lives. They wake up everyday with a purpose and that’s better than a lot of other scenarios. Just because you go to school doesn’t mean you are doing well, you still need to apply yourself to see results, so I guess time will tell. Also, I think young people need to learn how to be successful before they can be successful. They have to learn how to learn before they can learn. If they learn nothing else from us, at least we can teach them the importance of hard work, so I guess we will take our chances together. So, here’s a formal congratulations from the whole family Steve. We wish you well on your journey and you know we are all here for you bro. Steve Chen means a little more to us for two reasons. One, he is genuinely one of the nicest and hardest working guys you will ever meet and everyone loves him at the studio. He spends hours looking for cancellations to make sure all the artists have their appointments set up and we all appreciate that. Second, Steve Chen is not your ‘typical’ apprentice. We found Steve Chen right here on Facebook. I remember him always being the first one to like our photos from the early days to the point where I would be worried if we didn’t see his ‘Like’. So, one day when I was looking for someone to help us manage the studio, I decided to message him. I didn’t know if he wanted a job but he really liked our stuff and he already knew every artist’s work so I couldn’t think of anyone better. You can say that fate put us together. So, Steve, I am rooting extra hard for you bro because I believe you represent something very pure about Chronic Ink. You were one of our biggest fans and now hopefully people will be ‘liking’ your tattoos in the future. I have no doubt you will be a great artist. Ricky Chronic Ink Family