Tattooing as Wearable Art


I don’t really think tattooing is much different than fashion in clothing. It is an expression of an artistic ideal that you wear on your body. The only difference is that those stupid overalls you think are sooo in right now can end up in a thrift shop but you’re totally stuck with that portrait of your ex-girlfriend forever. I don’t think that is a problem with tattoos or tattoo artists, the problem there is you and your stupid idea.

I mean, my aunt tried to talk me out of getting a tattoo by telling me about how when she was my age she got a tattoo of one of the seven dwarves on her shoulder blade. Let’s just say it was not one of the smart ones. When she was younger, she thought it was cute and funny. She wasn’t known as the sharpest crayon in the box, so it felt very personal and appropriate to her. Then she had kids and decided she didn’t want them thinking of her as an idiot. She decided to get it removed and it cost a fortune. It also took forever and isn’t really gone per se, just super hard to see. Once she pointed it out to me, I could see it and now I can’t un-see the dang thing. I know she was trying to spin a cautionary tale of regret or whatever, but it really just made me think she was an idiot to get that particular image in the first place. Some people get impulsive designs and that might work for them, I’m just not one of those people. And if I become a tattoo artist, I would do my best to make sure people understand the ramifications of getting something like the name of a girl they met three weeks ago tattooed across their chest.

I think, if done properly, tattoos can be incredibly cool or beautiful looking. If there is something that truly appeals to you, it is a pretty awesome concept to have it physically drawn on you permanently. I’ve seen some Japanese type pieces that would look totally at home in an art exhibit and Celtic knot work or Mandalas that are incredibly precise and fantastic to look at. Your skin is a blank canvas. People dye their hair, pierce their ears, put on crazy garments, and wear all kinds of makeup to draw attention to themselves. What about making yourself a walking art gallery?

I especially love cultural art tattoos for this reason. Flags, folk art, and other cultural symbols can really showcase someone’s background or beliefs. I think it is cool to have something so personal—something that makes you who you are—on display forever for all to see. I don’t really care if it something that I personally identify with or matches my own heritage. If it is something you believe in strongly enough to have it with you wherever you go, forever, I think that’s pretty cool.

I think it is just a different way to look at something that many would call taboo. What about you? What do you think?