Some people say it’s an addiction and other will say it’s a form of self-expression.
You’ll start with one, telling yourself it is a little indulgence, and later on you’ll be cover with a full arm or more. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do not regret anything design I have on and I am already exciting to get a new one. But only recently, I’ve realized that tattoo addiction can actually be a thing.
A little history…
If we take a look back in time – as to when the first tattoo appeared – it seems that tattooing has been a practice since 3370 B.C. In fact, the first human tattoo body traces back to the Egyptian mummies, one in particular, named Ötzi the Iceman. Pretty crazy, right?
The tattoo renaissance began in the 1950’s when artists like Lyle Tuttle introduced it on the American market. For 20 years, this art was mainly attributed to ex-prisoners and soldiers translating into manly shapes and designs. Tattooing took a turn in the 1970’s when the women liberation movement hit America, “All of a sudden it became a kinder, softer, gentler form of art”. From then on, tattooing became more acceptable for both sexes and more present in various markets around the world.
Tattoo designs also saw an evolution or perhaps the art itself got more diverse as the years went by. Nowadays, we can count up to 8 major different design categories in which multiple sub-categories underlies. Clients can find their pick from Traditional to Japanese or New School and more to color or ‘stamp’ their bodies. Some artists – somewhat famous to legendary, a.k.a Lyle Tuttle – would say that getting a tattoo is similar to getting a stamp on your passport. It is showing your journey, it’s a reminder of where you are from, what you have come through and where you are heading to. I personally think, in today’s generation, that we attribute a tattoo design to our identity but also to a recognition of art to the tattoo artists. In earlier days, tattoos used to be attributed to drunken mistakes, violence and or ‘bad-ass’ connotations, whereas nowadays, it is becoming more and more about the piece of art that you can put on your body. The meanings and associations of tattooing got more positive and accepted over the years.
Let’s make it personal
As for myself, I got my first tattoo at the age of 17, a Chinese sign under my bikini line. I thought the place to be discreet and especially, my mother will never know. The secret didn’t hold for long as I originally planned. I remember choosing this simple design due to influence of celebrities that I admired back in the days – now I want to do a cover up, I guess I should have put more thoughts into it. It isn’t bad per say, but I grew out of it. I got my second tattoo as a piece of reminder, post a traumatic event. At that time, I was 18 years old, and in search to feel ‘something’ which translated with getting stabbed by needles. And from then on, I got a third one, a fourth one and now I have about nine. There all different and have a different meaning relevant to experiences I have been through or places I wanted to remember by. I think it is always nice to know about the history of a movement – in this case, tattooing – to know what you’re getting yourself into. It can be a community, a rebellion, a commemoration or anything else you’d like to name it. I personally like to think that my body is a canvas and that all of the tattoos that I own tell a story, my story. For me, it is a form of expression, it isn’t a rebellious act, but simply commemorating experiences and making them permanently a part of who you are. I think every designs are unique and all tattoos translate to pieces of art on my body.
So, if you would like to get tattooed, think of the design carefully and open yourself to new sensations !