March 26, 2012

Tattoos: no longer taboo?

Ink is the in thing

Charnel Anderson

Do you have a tattoo? Perhaps one that you cherish immensely and show off to anyone willing to look? Or maybe you do everything you can to hide that regrettable atrocity, and have even considered a costly removal process? Perhaps you’re someone who hasn’t even contemplated getting yourself permanently inked due to the many perceived downfalls – but chances are you know someone who has paid an artist big bucks to puncture their skin with an inked-up needle.

The idea of embellishing epidermis using permanent, and often painful procedures has been around arguably since the dawn of humanity. Otiz the Iceman is an example of a recently discovered and well preserved Neolithic man whose body exhibited more than 57 distinct tattoos. While the popularity of tattoos has waxed and waned since the Neolithic period, today ink is an in vogue approach to expressing your individuality.

The process of embedding a design, phrase, or portrait permanently into human skin has certainly evolved since Otiz’s time. Tattoos today can still be done by the painstaking process known as “hand-poking,” which was perhaps used by Otiz’s artist, and only done for cultural significance, or by do-it-yourselfers. A professional tattoo parlour uses a modern electric “tattoo machine” which gets the job done more quickly, and with fewer howls of pain.

The advantages of going to a professional studio for some ink (as opposed to letting your best friend stab you with an India ink-soaked needle) are to your benefit, despite the cost. The majority of studios employ experienced professionals who have a strong understanding of sterility and safety, as well as an understanding of what you might come to regret.

Despite how widespread tattoos are today, some employers still discriminate against all forms of body modification, and no one can be sure where their future will take them. This is something many tattoo artists keep in mind when putting ink-to-skin.

Since there is no overarching code of ethics when it comes to tattooing, tattoo artists conduct themselves by their own personal code of conduct. An image that one artist may not think twice about another artist will simply refuse due to their personal beliefs. Things such as copyright images, images with racial connotations, facial tattoos, and anything that an artist feels will negatively impact their clients will probably be rejected, but that is not to say every artist out there will refuse the 56 stars you want permanently on your face.

I’ve heard that you should place a picture of a potential tattoo somewhere visible and leave it there for a year. If you still love it after 365 days of consideration, go for it!

While you may not have the patience to tolerate 365 agonizing days, fully consider the implications of a tattoo – from the impact on your future career to the kindred scowls and strangers’ interrogations – and use your body as an expression of yourself.

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Category: A&C

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