Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tattoos: For the Love of Art?

How far are you willing to go for your love of art? Do you have art, designs, emblems, or icons written on your body? If art is your passion, why damage your skin with images you may later regret? To love and embrace art does not mean you need to tattoo yourself.

The permanency of tattoos has a serious downside. As we age, our taste in art and design and personal aesthetics usually change. No doubt, tattoos are popular worldwide, but caution for this form of art needs to be addressed. Do you know of any style that has stood up over a long period of time? People everywhere periodically change the style and color of their hair, eye makeup, eye glasses, and facial hair (for men).

Speaking as an artist, I have to say that no art is error-free. Artists cannot produce perfect work no matter how great they are. Only perfect people produce perfect work. Not only this, but tattoo technology improves from one decade to the next. What then? Removing outdated tattoos is painful and expensive. Most people can’t assume they will have the physical endurance and money to be able to remove tattoos.

There are more considerations too: faded tattoos, body weight changes, and aged skin. With sun exposure and passage of time, tattoos fade. As we age, our body weight can easily change which could cause a tattoo to appear too large or too small. And most definitely, our skin wrinkles and crepes as we age.

Tattoos brand people. Tattoos advertise and communicate messages to everyone who sees them. When someone feels so strongly about something that they are willing to brand themselves with a permanent tattoo or two, others take them seriously and try to read and interpret them.

Is the love of art your motivation for tattoos? If so, you may want to use your favorite tattoo design for your jewelry, a T-shirt, a poster, or for a motorcycle instead. If you think your tattoo is NOT good enough or does NOT merit being put on other items such as these, then why do you want permanent tattoo(s) on your body?

Debbie Jensen, Graphic Designer and Photographer

9 comments: said...

Hi Debbie. While some people are certainly committing art to their bodies because they simply "like it", most tattoo enthusiasts are drawn to the idea of the tattoo itself and not so much the art. A tattooed person will generally want the best art available to them, from the best artists and the styles of the day may certainly influence the collector's choices but most serious tattoo collectors are collecting work that has some deep resonance inside them. Most tattoo motifs sit relatively outside the spectrum of popular art and fashion. The most commonly tattooed images are between 50 and 200 years old and are surely not "fashionable". Currently art and fashion are being heavily influenced by tattooing and so the three have developed a bit of a symbiosis and are feeding each other. A young art lover, a reader of Juxtapoz magazine for example may be inspired by pop culture to get a tattoo signifying the form he appreciates as will a young music fan. They just might decorate their bodies with something they will taste for at some point in time but every one involved is an adult and knows that tastes change. At least that's how things SHOULD be. I respect your opinion about tattooing but it's more about an urge to decorate one's self or to openly make a symbolic statement to the world that a t-shirt just won't convey.

Rev. Chad Wells

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