The Case of Nick Morte:
Nick Morte, had been living and tattooing in Norway for 6 years, when he got deported. He was very happy in Norway, had lots of friends and business was good. He followed the law and did all he could, to be a good resident of Norway. Even trying to learn the language, which he with a chuckle called “quite difficult”. But when Nick wanted to extent his visa, as it was about to expire. Something else happened, which started a long line of trouble for the artist.
He was declined, the reason for it being, that he did not hold any trade, recognized by the Norwegian government. Thus he was claimed to be living illegally in Norway, and got deported.
Now the case is still going on, and we will get into the future of it, later in this article.
Starting out with what happened; Nick got deported, solely because he is a tattoo artist, which is not a recognized trade in Norway. Of course Norway, like most other countries has loads of tattoo artists. But as for most other countries as well, tattooing is not a recognized trade. Meaning that the government, does not see it as a proper form of work.
What is interesting in Nick Morte’s case, is that what started out as a mere deportation trial. Has now become something much greater. Nick has taken the case to as high a level as it can possibly go in court. Now the case is not just about Nick, But about the trade of tattooing itself. Nick’s side, fighting for the recognition of tattooing as a legitimate trade by the Norwegian government. A trial that Nick hopes to win next year, it could become the start to more governments recognizing tattooing.
Why should tattooing become a registered and recognized trade?
So why is Nick Morte’s case so important? and why is it so important to Nick (among others), that tattooing becomes a recognized trade? Well as Nick puts it; currently artist in Norway, are treated as criminals with little to no rights, because of the status of tattooing. Checking up on tattoo artists all the time, the government bearing down on them.
Nick fears, that if the tattoo industry in countries like Norway, does not get recognized and more structured.
Things like what is happening in Japan right now, might start happening in the west.
Right now, artists are basically not protected by any laws. Of course as Nick Morte also recognized in our interview. Some artists like this lawless status, where they are neither protected by laws, nor limited by them. At least the artists liking that “pirate” status, as Nick Morte calls it. Feel that structure is the enemy. But as both Nick Morte and even the legendary Mario Barth have put it, it is inevitable and ultimately better for the industry, to become recognized and structured.
Nick doesn’t understand the resistance to structure and legalization, from some tattoo artists. As he puts it, if you present yourself as a criminal and resist the recognition of tattooing as a proper job as well. Then of course people will treat you as a criminal. But it also hurts tattooing as a whole, as it becomes more difficult, to shake of the stigma from the past.
It will help protect the artists as well, that they are seen as a proper trade. For example stuff like travelling as a tattoo artist, something which Nick Morte for example, said is very troublesome as things are now. Could be made easier, as artists would no longer have to hide what they do, or the intents with there journey. As Nick puts it, he and many other artists, would rather pay a fee or some tax in a given country when travelling, than have to lie and live as criminals when they are there. Also when the trade is recognized, the government will also have to protect that interest, and will be more liable to help. For example in situations like last year in Denmark, where a gang tried to blackmail tattoo artists for protection money.
Indeed the stigmatization of tattooing, which can be classified almost as an institutionally kept alive stigma (at least in Norway and Denmark), can also be helped. Because, if the governments of countries, go in and recognize tattooing as a proper trade, then people will be more keen to look at tattooing more positively. In other words, leaving the pirate life behind, would help tattooing business, as well as the people wearing tattoos.
Much of the difficulties surrounding the tattooing industry, could be helped, if it gets recognized as a proper trade/job. The safety of the industry would also become better, as you could easily prevent non-registered artists, from buying tattooing equipment. Right now, anyone can set up a shop, and as Nick puts it “a lot of people do it for easy money, who should never be tattooing in the first place”.
The future for Nick Morte:
The list goes on, with benefits to registering the trade, and we might discuss it further in a future article, but for now, we will move on. Let’s now again focus more on the case of Nick Morte. The final court date is set for April 28th 2018, which both we here at Mediazink and Nick, hope that he will win.
As Nick himself explains it, the way the industry is now, he almost doesn’t want to tattoo. However, don’t worry people, even though Nick loves focusing on his painting lately, back in russia. He would never ever leave tattooing behind, as it is a job he loves more than anything. He does however, think more structure is needed and will inevitably happen. Hoping that his case, might become the start of it in Scandinavia, if he wins.
However, even if Nick loses, he probably won’t stop being Nick Morte the Tattoo artist. He does however hope, that more people will be like him, wanting not just what is best for themselves, but what is best for the industry. Hopefully his case goes well, we here at Mediazink will be ready with updates as it goes along.
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