Tattoos are considered fine art and are accepted more now than ever before. “Tattoos date back to 12,000 BC. The word “tattoo” comes from a Tahitian word “tattow” or “ta-tu” meaning to mark the skin” (Lori). Tattoos have been evident in many cultures throughout the centuries” the ancient Greeks tattooed spies, the Romans tattooed criminals and the Polynesians tattooed ranking members of their tribes” (Lori). Around the 1950’s tattoos lost popularity they picked up a stereotype of being on bad people: hoodlums, jail birds, or people that were considered social outcasts.
In the 1960’s the outbreak of hepatitis caused tattooing to fall out of popularity. Around 1972 tattoos began to gain popularity again with new procedures for cleaning and better art work being presented. This is when tattooing started gaining its Statius of fine art. New and intricate work were being done, fantasy motifs some being influenced by Japanese high detail tattooing. This is where tattoo artist started learning how to improve on their work and to create master pieces if fine art.
The more detail and intricate the work the better the show piece. Tattooing has flourished into a full artistic medium that is taking the world by storm with its endless variety of techniques and abilities to do just about anything as a tattoo design. “With the tattoo profession being gradually taken over by experienced artists, we are seeing many modern illustrative styles being tattooed, from comic book art to futuristic computer-generated designs.
Classic painters; Such as Van Gogh and Dali, are being painstakingly interpreted on skin alongside modern masters such as Alex Grey and H.
R. Ginger. In less than a century, tattooing has evolved to encompass every conceivable style of art” (Hope). Tattoo Artists are constantly pushing the boundaries of the art form by finding bold new ways of expressing themselves on a living canvas. Nevertheless, Tattoo Art has been looked down upon, if not completely ignored, for decades, which is silly when you think about it.
I mean, isn’t “art” simply a means of expression and a form of communication? Now days people are getting portraits of loved ones, wild animals, murals, famous works of art, and even intricate designs tattooed on themselves. Some of these tattoos even tell stories about something that may have happened to them during their lives, or to memorialize someone special that has passed on. Tattoo art might seem a little superficial and decorative on the surface, but most tattoos usually have a deeper meaning even if that meaning is only known to the bearer.
They are finding more and more people with tattoos as they are becoming more socially acceptable in today’s culture. One can find such people as:” Celebrities, sports heroes and even royalty are no strangers to body art including Angelina Jolie, Robert di Niro, Julia Roberts, Jason Giambi, Anna Kournikova, King Frederick of Denmark, Queen Olga of Greece and Princess Stephanie of Monaco” (Lori). There are such artist as Thomas Hooper who have people coming to him for his work that don’t really care what he puts on them as long as it’s a Hooper he has a waiting list six months long.
He of course declines the offer and wants the clients input on the work. But he knows the reason people do this it is like buying a painting of a famous artist for a collection. Hooper has a style all his own and that is what has earned him the respect and following that he has. Hooper is not alone there are many tattoo artist in many major cities all over the world with huge followings; in New York Anil Gupta, another one in America is Steve Byrne who has people who seek him out where ever he might be at the time.
Steve says that half of the people that he has tattooed have traveled to find him or just happened to have caught him at a convention in their area. Conventions have now become a big thing these are like a mobile art gallery, these are where people come to see works of art on other people. One might also be interested in the new tattoo technology; upgrades on machines, new colors, cleansers, shop supplies, techniques, and maybe even a lesson or two from a master. There are also clients there looking for artist in their area so they can get a look at their work.
These are great places to go if one would like to broaden their horizon and become enlightened on the facts of tattooing. A lot of your tattoo artist “now have the coveted initials MFA (Masters of Fine Art) after their names and have studied in respected art schools” (Harris). These artists have very long waiting lists and are very expensive but as the saying goes one only get what one pay for, and if one wants a masterpiece one will have to pay for it just like if one were buying a fine painting.
It’s guessed that 48% of people ages 17 to 25 have a minimum of one tattoo and 40% of people ages 26 to 60 have as a minimum of one tattoo (Lampica), but it is still a fact that there are more adult men that have tattoos then females that are tattooed.