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Aspiring tattoo artists now have a private tattoo school right in Prineville, where they can complete the program in six months

RAMONA MCCALLISTER - Pictured from left: Tim Thomas, instructor; David Smith, student; Johnathon Crowe, student; and Shannon Johnson, student. The class is working on their tattoo sketches, using a light table. Behind Crowe's shoulder is a sleeve design that he created in the class. A full sleeve design is required by all the students before completion.

If you are an artist who aspires to creating tattoos but lacks the training to do so, Prineville now offers an Oregon accredited tattoo school.

Oregon School of Ink, operating at 320 N. Main St., in Prineville, has officially opened its doors to students.

Tim Thomas is the owner and instructor and also owns and operates Knucklehead Tattoo and Arts on 427B N. Main St. Thomas began his first cohort of students on Sept. 7, 2022. He previously had a tattoo school, Oregon Tattoo Academy, which he operated in Bend and Redmond from 2006-2010. The private career school, which was accredited through the Department of Education, with the licensing arm of Higher Education Coordinating Commission, had the same licensing as Thomas' new Oregon School of Ink.

Thomas indicated he began his new school because he had an enjoyable experience and great success with his prior students in teaching the art of Tattoo. Thomas has also co-pastored at the Church on Main Street, which congregates at Auntie's Coffeehouse and Bakery, at 425 N. Main St.

"Coming from the church world — teaching, and discipleship — I did lots of that with youth ministry and church, so this was kind an obvious fit for me, since I really enjoy teaching anyway. Instead of teaching the Bible, I am teaching tattooing," Thomas commented of his passion for both art and teaching.

He added that he enjoys bringing people in who want to learn to use their artistic talent to tattoo and create a career.

"You bring them through the program, and they get licensed to do tattoos, and they go off and have this new little career of theirs. They are making their way, and they are doing something they enjoy, and just to see that transformation of people is really fun and really rewarding." Thomas reflected.

Thomas had 35-40 students go through his program in his previous school, and he had lots of interactions with people. The new studio is located in the upstairs of the building by Sage Door, which affords his students to have the space to concentrate on each aspect of their training. Students spend approximately six months in the program, with 210 hours in the classroom and a requirement of completing 50 tattoos under supervision. During class, they study safety and sanitation, anatomy of skin, tattooing machines and needles, pigments and inks, business operations and client relations, and of course, tattoo designs.

Upon successful completion, they receive a certification of completion from Oregon School of Ink and a transcript to take the state level test, which upon passing successfully would license them to tattoo in Oregon.

Currently, Thomas has three students who are currently working on anatomy of skin and tattoo designs. Jonathan Crowe, who is on a faster track, recently completed a full sleeve design, one of the requirements as part of their designs. Crowe is excited to apply his passion for art in a meaningful way, which can also bring in revenue.

The current cohort of Thomas' students meet in the evenings currently, because that is the schedule that works best for their group. Friday evening found the group working on light tables to trace and practice their tattoo designs. From there, they were heading to the classroom, where they work on pseudo skins to become accustomed to applying ink to skin.

"Basically, all facets of what you need to know to be competent to tattoo and everything surrounding that at the shop," concluded Thomas of his studio line of study.


Oregon School of Ink

Private Career School accredited through Department of Education

Instructor: Tim Thomas

Address: 427B North Main

Phone: 503-991-9496

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