Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

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Dan Gilsdorf has a license to ink

Story by Christina Holmes. Photos by Vern Uyetake.

Dan Gilsdorf opened his tattoo studio in North Portland 17 years ago at a time when there were only nine other shops in town. Fast-forward nearly two decades and the number of parlors now hovers closer to 150.

Staffing those shops are hundreds of tattoo artists licensed by the state of Oregon. New regulations passed in 2013 by the Oregon Board of Body Art Practitioners requires that tattoo artists complete 10 hours of Continuing Education each year in order to keep current on their licenses.

Gilsdorf has taught PCC classes on the art and history of tattooing and the physics and metallurgy of tattoos since 2013. These classes are popular with both artists and community members.

Gilsdorf has taught PCC classes on the art and history of tattooing and the physics and metallurgy of tattoos since 2013. These classes are popular with both artists and community members.

PCC’s Community Education Program has responded to the new requirements and now offers an array of classes for tattoo artists.

“People realize the value of furthering our knowledge as professional tattoo artists,” said Gilsdorf, who owns Atlas Studio and is a PCC instructor. “And Oregon is one of the most heavily regulated states when it comes to tattoo artists.”

Gilsdorf has taught PCC classes on the art and history of tattooing and the physics and metallurgy of tattoos since 2013. These classes are popular with both artists and community members.

New to PCC this year are law classes taught by an attorney covering intellectual property, focusing on legal principles related to copyright laws and art ownership. Another class addresses business concepts for tattooists. Students will explore important legal principles related to the business of tattooing, with special focus on general business contracts, employment contracts and liability issues.

The law and business classes are aimed at tattoo artists but all community members are welcome. Classes are held at the Cascade Campus (705 N. Killingsworth St.) and the CLIMB Center for Advancement on Southeast Water Street.

Gilsdorf draws in students as he’s well known and admired in the tattoo community. He specializes in bold work in the traditions of classic American and Japanese tattooing. He’s met, worked beside and been tattooed by renowned artists around the globe.

“We have a lot of fun in the classes and they are really interesting whether you are a tattoo artist or not,” Gilsdorf said.

Personalize Your Fitness Training

Community Education has teamed up with PCC’s Fitness Technology Program to develop a way for their students and recent grads to gain experience as personal trainers for Community Ed students.

Both the trainers and trainees win big: trainers get excellent experience needed when looking for jobs at gyms or private facilities. Students receive coaching and training at a fraction of the cost of what they would pay at a gym.

“This new program gives our students a chance to practice the type of work they may do once they graduate,” said Mike Boggs, Fitness Technology instructor. “We prepare our Fit Tech students for immediate work in the community and our fitness partners in the Portland area know that we prep our students very well.”

The one-on-one sessions last one hour and take place using the sports facilities at the Sylvania Campus. The trainees select from packages that offer three, six or nine personalized sessions. The prices range from $135 to $315 depending on the package. All trainers are certified by the American College of Sports Medicine.

To learn more about continuing ed classes for tattoo artists, visit pcc.edu/communityed.

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x by beth 1 year ago

I think Dan did my first tattoo when I moved to Oregon. So happy to see that he is a fellow PCC instructor and that the history of the art form is getting some respect and interest!

x by Beth K 1 year ago

Wow! I’m so happy to see this article here; I got my tattoo finished just yesterday at Atlas (with Jerry). It is an amazing shop with great artists. I didn’t go to Dan, but he seemed awesome. The shop is clean and uberprofessional — and the artists are warm, supportive, and talented. It is no wonder this is known to be one of the best tattoo parlors in all of Portland. Thanks, Dan, for being a great part of the PCC community.

x by roran hatfield 1 year ago

Dan is such an awesome artist. He really knows his stuff. I once fell asleep on his table while getting tattooed. So thrilled to see him teaching at PCC.

x by jakecorrigan 1 year ago

I’m 35 I have wanted to be a artist tattooing

Especially I’m getting older now really need somthing to not only enjoy but possibly turning to leave career or job out of it would love to join your Class.
Sincerly jake c

x by Traci 1 year ago

He did my first and third tattoo when I moved to Oregon and he’s getting ready to do my Husband’s next one. Dan’s just an all around super fella!

x by Ann Cheney 1 year ago

I took Dan’s classes “Art and History of Tattoo” and “How to Get a Great Tattoo.” Fascinating classes! The time flew by. I have a couple of tattoos but am not a tattoo artist or even an artist, but enjoy following tattoo trends in Portland. Dan has extensively researched the history of tattooing around the world from the very beginning and puts a lot of thought into his presentations.


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