Through the Years of Tattoo

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Thesis: What are some thoughts about having tattoos or of people who already have tattoos?  Maybe someone has walked pass with them covering their body from head to toe.  Maybe they had a single piece flattering part of their body, and maybe some were just unflattering.  Ever wondered why people get them or maybe even made judgments based on a stereotype.  There are different types of tattoos that can vary in many different shapes, colors, meanings, and reasoning.  Tattoos have been known to exist since more than 5,000 years ago when a discovery was made on an iceman named Otzi.  The meanings for tattoos may have changed since then, the shapes and colors most definitely and there are many things to consider that have been learned over this span of time.

Why do people get tattoos?  People get tattoos for various reasons.  There are cultural tattoos, some creative and full of art, and meaningful or regretful ones.

The Polynesians are well known for the tattoo art they display on their bodies.  This was being done before the voyage that brought captain cook to the islands, and it was not recognized by the western world.  They are used to represent someone’s socials standing, ranking, genealogy, or successes.  There are high ranked people that are marked by tattoos showing their status, so that when others would see them with their markings they will give proper respect to them.  These markings are also used for proof of ranking.  In the times when the Polynesians were using this method, it was a sacred act that was done during a ceremony.  The tattoo was performed by a professional or someone highly trained and/or well crafted in this practice.  Not just anyone could perform these ritualistic events, so if you had them, it was known that you got them rightfully and with honor.

The revival of Polynesian lost art. (copyright 1992-2007). Tahiti Tatou. Retrieved on May 2, 2010 from http://www.tahititatou.com/history.html

Betty Fullard-Leo. Body Art. (2006). LBD Coffee LLC dba Coffee Times. Retrieved on May, 2, 2010 from http://www.coffeetimes.com/tattoos.htm

Luc Renaut. (2004). Otzi’s Tattoos and Traditional Minor Surgery. Retrieved on May 2, 2010 from http://www.librarieshawaii.org/services.htm

Tattoos are a form of art in today’s pop culture.  Just as a painter will create a design on a blank canvas, a sculptor use a piece of raw material to shape his creation, or an actor will portray a character in a part for a play, tattooing is a form of art that may carry the artist’s passion with a sense of its historical purposes.  Art can be any creation made by someone through their own interests or knowledge.  The meaning for tattoos have evolved and Tattoo artists are emerging with their new designs and ideas for tattoos, some leaving behind the history of the tattoo and looking in the present time where it is mostly and favorably used to display art onto the human body for decorative purposes.

Exhibition Review: A London Tattoo Art Show. (2006). Fashion theory, Volume 10, Issue 3. Pp. 361-366. Retrieved on May 2, 2010 from http://www.librarieshawaii.org/services.htm

Rebecca Bengal onTattoo Art and Design. (n.d.) Retrieved on May 2, 2010 from http://www.librarieshawaii.org/services.htm

Neil Blackadder. (n.d.). Art and Morality: The plays of Igor Bauersima and Rejane Desvignes. Retrieved on May 2, 2010 from http://www.librarieshawaii.org/services.htm

What are stereotypes of people with tattoos

The findings from a study done on teenagers showed that those who have tattoos were likely of engaging in some risky behaviors such as violence, drug use, and sexual activity.  There are nurses that are dealing with problems that arose because of having a tattoo.  They were told that their tattoo would need to be covered if found offensive by a patient.  There are firefighters in Los Angeles that are affected by a policy that forbids them from displaying tattoos.  They are asked to cover them completely because they are believed to be immoral and have an unprofessional appearance.  A study showed that blonde women with tattoos are thought to be promiscuous.  Another association is that it is not natural and thought to be worn by outlaws.

Carroll, Sean T.; Riffenburgh, Robert H.; Roberts, Timothy A.; Myhre, Elizabeth B. (n.d). Tattoos and Body Piercings as Indicators of Adolescent Risk-Taking Behaviors. Retrieved on May 2, 2010 from http://www.librarieshawaii.org/

Kathy Acker (n.d.) Empire of the Senseless. Kevin McCarron (2008) Skin and Self-Indictment: Prison Tattoos, Race, and Heroin Addiction. Retrieved on May 2, 2010 from http://www.librarieshawaii.org/

Sles Scovell. (n.d.). Mark of prejudice. Retrieved on May 2, 2010 from http://www.librarieshawaii.org/

David C. Comstock Jr. (2009). The Ban on Body Ink.  Retrieved on May 2, 2010 from http://www.librarieshawaii.org/

The designs of tattoos have changes drastically since they were first discovered by the western world.

Historically cultural tattoos consisted of symbols that represented the power of their ancestors.  These designs could mean protection or honor by the person who wore them.

Pop cultural tattoos are countless in their designs.  They have the range of the minds of their artists.  Popular designs have grown from simple banners, knives, flowers, bugs, and guns, used often by many outcasts of society.  The evolution of tattoo design has grown to full body art, landscapes, scenarios, religious preferences, and anything imaginative, worn by anyone who will dare to take to the needle.

The color of tattooing ink has grown.  The ink that was mostly used by the Polynesians was made from a mixture of burnt candlenut, water or oil, which resulted in a dark black color.  Today the inks used are made from mostly metal salts, plastics, and some are vegetable dyes, which can be altered into a variety of colors ranging from primary colors, neon colors, and pastel colors.

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