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N8-n-Kelly Final Paper (Rough Draft)

Page history last edited by N8 11 years, 4 months ago


Tattoos are such a different topic to write about.  Tattoos are probably the most fasinating form of art, becasue this form of art has been around for so many years, and is slowly being accepted by society.  What people have done to express their feelings and attitudes towards this type of art is intriguing.


A tattoo is a form of self expression, but also a work of art.  The body is a blank canvas, so the only thing left to do is design it.  Contemplating on what to get and how big to get it is the first step, the next is to decide on where to put it on your body.  The individual who design your blank canvas is the artist.  The feeling of this experience is invigorating, the pain is a release of emotions and pain.  The pain tolerance a person needs for a tattoo is completely up to them, how you determine how you are going to be able to handle it is your mind frame walking in.  The pain from a tattoo, I believe is all in your mind.  I believe that the pain releases bad energy and is replaced by a euphoric feeling.  Expressing yourself is the key to getting a tattoo.  Every artist is expressing himself in their own art work.  Some people pull their art out of a book or a picture, others like myself come in with an idea and see where the artist takes it.  In a sense a tattoo if created with your idea and the artists interpretation is a convergent form of an expression between you and the artist.  Behind every fashion or fad there is a story, I began reading some interesting facts about the psychology of tattooing, whether it has been determined or not, I believe that tattooing is not done to keep up with the fashion of society, although others are predetermined it is.  Tribes and ancient societies have used tattoos (ink) to identify themselves, writers sometimes neglect to add this.  Most of the fashion part supposedly came from MTV, were celebrities are the ones who started to ink themselves and a simple broadcast turned it into something “cool”.   The current fashion trend rates the tattoo to be very cool and beautiful.  Tattooing is a body art, through which people accentuate and enhance the use of the body.  Tattoos are now a part of everyday life with at least 60 percent of all of North Americans aged 18 to 30 years old, having at least one tattoo. 

Tattoos are permanent designs sometimes plain, sometimes in full detail, but are always personal.  Tattoos have served as a status symbol, declaration of love, signs of religious beliefs, adornments and can even be a form of punishment.  Tattoos were created to beautify, shock, humiliate and proclaim religious beliefs or personal independence. 

To give a little bit of history tattoos are said to have come from the Egyptian time period.  A female mummy would symbolize her fertility by a tattoo, both genders would use tattooing for medicinal purposed.  The pigments in tattooing was said to have some type of healing effect. 

                A discovery of a 5,200 year old frozen mummy named Iceman, had brought about some ideas that a tattoo in his was used as a therapeutic regimen.  Some other cultures such as the Samoan and Maori tribes dates back to 40,000 years ago, which display a major history of tattooing.

Greeks learned from the Persians and the Romans learned from the greeks.  They both used tattoos to symbolize criminals or slave status so that they could be identified if they tried to escape.

The first electric tattoo needle was introduced in 1891 it was issued to an Irish tattooist who started the first tattoo parlor in New York City.


 Tattoos were given to people in concentration camps as well.   

 Since there is no writing in the Polynesian culture they use tattoos as a way for them to express their identity and personality. Tattoos would indicate status in a hierarchy society: sexual maturity, genealogy and one's rank within society. Nearly everyone in ancient Polynesian society. In their culture tattooing was started at adolescence, about the age of 12, to mark their emergenge into adulthood from childhood. The more tattoos a man had, the more stature a he had, and the more he was admired. Tattoos were also a sign of strength and power, the more elaborate the tattoos also meant the higher the rank. Chiefs and warriors had the most detailed and complex tattoos.



Tattooed warrior


Men that didn’t have a single tattoo were despised and looked down upon.  The tattoos of women were less extensive than the tattoos seen on men; generally being limited to the hand, arms, feet, ears and lips. Young women’s right hands were tattooed by the age of twelve.


Woman with tattooed hands





They were only tattooed after they were allowed to prepare the meals and to participate in the rubbing of dead bodies with coconut oil. Women of rank or wealth may have their legs tattooed as well.












 The future of tattooing is endless. There are new advancements in technology with machines and way to create the artwork.



rks neuma hybrid tattoo machine

rks neuma hybrid tattoo machine


rks neuma hybrid tattoo machine



Reading about the history of tattoos, has not changed my opinion of tattoos, however it has made me realize how much more I should appreciate designing the body.  I design my body for my own personal satisfaction, not to impress anyone.  When researching the psychological aspects of tattoos, writers believe that it is a trend and that is why so many people are running out the door to get a tattoo, regardless of the meaning behind it.  I am not sure that this industry will ever go out of business.  People want to celebrate the birth of something new, by designing something new on their body.  As well as remembering the grievance of a person by keeping them close on their body.  In the end you can always remove it with the technology of today.


The history that surrounds tattoos is so fascinating to me, and is one of the main reasons why I continue to go out and get tattoos. They are like a drug you become addicted. I find myself sometimes driven to create a new idea or image to put on my body. For me, it is all about the experience and the meaning behind the tattoo. Part of the experience is being able to design your own artwork and having that artist make a new rendition of your work, converge the two works together, to become one amazing piece of art. I love the fact that tattoos stay with us forever. One key thought that I live by is make sure you know what you want, how big you want it, and that you are not going to hate it ten years down the road. I remember when I got my first tattoo, I was fifteen years old, my mom told me not to get someting too big because it was going to hurt. I got a little cross on my left bicep, something I picked off the wall, which I have yet to do since. The artist made a copy of the image, lathered my arm up with deoderant, transfered the image to my arm, and began working. Fifteen minutes later I was done and it didn't hurt at all. I loved the tattoo at first, but as I started to get older and get other tattoos I realized that I didnt like how smalll it was and where it was positioned. I contemplated what to get for a very long time because I did not wantto make the same mistake twice. I eventually decided on the tattoo that I have know It only started out as just one little imgae and became a huge work of art with help of my new artist Ryan Cullen. My previous artist really did a number on my arm and it took almost 13 hours of work to fix what he had messed up, which is as fixed as it can get. Make sure that your artsist knows what he/she is doing because if not you could get really bad scaring and a horrible piece of art. Currently I have seven tattoos, my plan is to have a least both of my arms "sleeved," which means tattoos from my shoulder to my wrist, my goal is to have it done by the time I am forty. I know that some people may say that is crazy or trashy, but really isn't it just a form of self-expression? What about people who dye their hair blue, or dress a certian way, isn't that also self-expression? Tattoos have been around for a very long time, and are becoming more of a norm in our society. About twenty years ago tattoos were seen as dirty and only things that convicts got in prison. To me, prison tattoos are one of the most unrealistic versions of what a tattoo should be. Yes, it is their own self-expression but the work that goes into it and the way it is done just seems unsanitary and downright dirty. Think about tattoos for a minute and if you don't have one, think about what you would get if you wanted one, and ask yourself where can I put this piece of art? To me the body is a blank canvas and I think anywhere on the body is a suitable place for a tattoo, there are plenty of places that tattoos can be hidden.


To some people tattoos mean not getting a job. Some people strategically place tattoos in spots that are not normally seen in everyday life. For example, some people may have tattoos on their backs or shoulders because they are covered by a t-shirt. A person from the Maori tribe was asked "what does a tattoo mean to you," and he said "not getting a job," to me that just shows how society views tattoos. I feel that society as a whole will eventually come around and slowly see that tattoos are more of a norm, kind of like a pair of sunglasses, or a hat, or a pair of shoes. Without tattoos I wouldn't be myself, I feel that tattoos are a major part of who I am. To me tattoos are almost the same thing as someone not wearing their glasses, or contacts.






Comments (1)

ShareRiff said

at 10:10 am on Dec 5, 2009

perhaps some topical exigence, here? http://www.tampabay.com/news/bizarre/taxpayers-will-pay-to-have-neo-nazis-tattoos-covered-by-cosmetologist-each/1056456
analyze this situation, and, in your prose, create an interpretation that contributes to the tone you have already established

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