Is a tattoo a form of art or a stain on your body?
Tattoo’s symbolize art, religion, experiences, individuality or even something that means a lot to a certain person. Tattoo’s are usually seen as a form of body modification but also can be seen as a form of branding or identification. Tattoo’s have been around for thousands of years and have gradually been made more popular to this day although still have negative thoughts from certain people and business’s. In my eyes i see tattooing as a unique art form, I believe if people want to modify their own body to have a piece of art work that personally means something to them then they should do so with no fear of themselves being discriminated or being looked down on from anyone.
It is noted that tattooing has existed since 12,000 years BC where tribes men and women would have a mark on their body indicating a certain skill they had or sometimes the marking was believed to ward away illness’s and evil spirits. Further on in time the Greeks would tattoo themselves to show their ranking upon other people and also the Romans would mark criminals as a way of identifying them. Japanese would mark themselves with symbols and masterpieces of art work in the early 1800’s which would often be shown as sex appeal. Even sailors and serviceman would identify there work subject on themselves, for example a sailor would get an anchor tattoo to symbolize what job he or she does. In the early 20th century tattooing took a turn, Evolutionary scientist, Charles Darwin wrote papers which included an analysis of tattoos. This made people have a whole new perspective on the tattooing art form as people with such high class and intelligence was talking about it. What stopped tattooing from being so popular and widespread was its painful slow procedure. Each puncture to the body was made by hand and then adding the ink to mark the skin. Although in 1891 Samuel O’Reilly made the first electric tattooing machine which was based on Thomas Edisons electric pen. This made tattooing a lot less painful, took a lot less time and was reasonably priced. This meant an average person could now easily get a tattoo although this made the higher class people turn away from it which made it loose a lot of credibility. In America during world war one and two, tattooing was very underground and still had very little respect, in New York and all over American tattoo studios began to close down and tattooing was to become banned until 1993 as people began to be very ill with diseases such as hepatitis due to the unhygienic ways of tattooing, those who were tattoo’d were seen as social outcasts and troublemakers. Tattooing today has made a spectacular comeback and has never been more popular with people either having a tattoo themselves or knowing someone with a tattoo. Everywhere you go nowadays you’ll see somebody with a tattoo if its not a celebrity in a magazine or newspaper it will be a TV show like Miami ink or London ink or it could be even a person walking down the street. Even the tattoo style art form is growing rapidly in galleries and exhibitions all over the world.
Although, even to this day tattoo’s are still used as a form of gang culture which gives people a reason to look down on tattoos. Gang members usually get tattoo’s to show where the person is from or which gang they are in. They also sometimes tattoo on their body how many people, or rival gang members they have killed, this is usually shown by a tear drop underneath the eye. Football hooligans also see tattooing their teams emblem onto them as a way to identify who they support and who they will fight for. This maybe why part of the population see that having a tattoo is a bad thing and that it may influence gang culture. Nevertheless not everybody has a tattoo to depict an illegal or bad thing in their life, most people have a tattoo to remember a part of their life or which means something very close to them. For example religion is a big theme for tattoos. People like to show what they believe in by having a piece of religious art portrayed on them for example a cross or rosary beads or even an angel to show that someone close to that person has passed away. Although some people may find modifying your body with a tattoo not a good thing due to their own religion. Tattoos in the religions, Islam and Judaism are considered forbidden. Muslims believe that tattooing your body is a sin because it involves changing the creation of god and the Jewish believe that it is deforming your own body and not making you pure. Even when people do want tattoo’s nowadays they have to consider which part of the body they want to get it done on or how big it will be or even if it is appropriate to be put on your body due to the job and work place your are in. A lot of companies and business will discriminate and not employ people due to their tattoo’s if they are visible or not just because they don’t want their business being portrayed badly because they have an employee with tattoos. I believe this is like stopping someone from having freedom of speech, just because you’v got a tattoo on your skin doesn’t mean that your not gonna work just as hard if not better than the other employees in their business.
In my opinion i believe tattoos are a form of art, there a form of freedom of speech as, if i believed in anything or wanted to show somebody something why shouldn’t i be allowed to portray it in anyway i want, if its saying it, painting it or even tattooing it on my own body. I love nearly every aspect of tattoo’d ‘style’ art from the traditional japanese dragons and koi fish to ‘old school’ sailor anchors and swallows to religious tattoos with angels and clouds. Each tattoo has a story or a meaning behind it just like a piece of fine art in a gallery has, so what is the difference if i paint the picture I want on a canvas or get it tattoo’d onto my own body. I also believe people get tattoos to feel comfortable with themselves to feel different from everybody else and maybe a bit rebellious or adventurous. If people want to feel more confident with the way they look by getting a tattoo then why should anybody stop them from getting a piece of art which is going to help the way they feel on their body. The tattoo styled art culture has also influenced a lot of new artists of today such as Brianna kelley and also Jamie Parker and even high street fashion brands and designers such as Christian Audigier and also Ed Hardy. Without the tattoo industry these clothing brands and modern day artists wouldn’t have the inspiration to produce their work.
In conclusion i think that tattoo’s have played a big role in history from egyptian pharos to ancient greece and is even growing ever more popular today. I believe the form of tattoo art is just as important as any other form of art from paintings to photography to graffiti. In a sense i believe tattoos can be far more popular that any other artwork as everyones opinion of what art is good and isn’t is different, although everyone can relate to having a tattoo of the artwork they personally like and what means something to them. For example i have two large tattoos, one on my side of an angel with clouds and a cross to represent my nanna passing away and i also have ‘manchester’ wrote on the bottom of my back in a scroll to show where I’m from and how much the city means to me. I myself want a lot more tattoos on my body and would love to see tattoo’s and the tattoo art form to become far more popular with everyone and would love to see the style influence more artist so that this genre of art could one day be shown in galleries all around the world a lot more.