Tattoo pictures – art or trend?

It is hard to say exactly when the tattoo designs began to lose their basic functions and meaning, becoming the attribute of fashion. If in the Pacific region the tattoo art was very popular from the ancient times, in Europe it gained popularity and was wide-spread only in the 19th century. Such long non-acceptance of the tattoo pictures in Europe was known because of the attitude of the society to such mean of revealing themselves. Not having such cultural background as in the East, tattoo pictures in Europe were considered to be somewhat vulgar and more of pagan than of a civilized man. It was connected particularly with the negative attitude to tattoos from the side of the church, because Christian culture saw tattoo picture application as a pagan thing.

A person with tattoo pictures earlier could gather a lot of spectators in fairs and this lead to spreading of the so-called commercial tattoos that were applied by circus artists for gathering more crowd and therefore earning more money.

In Europe for a great time tattoo pictures were widely used by sailors that allowed to make distinction between them and made sure that in case of death their corpses would be recognized and they, in case for example of shipwreck, would be buried according to the Christian traditions. That’s why the tattoo picture representing cross is very popular. Later such tattoo pictures as flag, anchor, ship and vulgar inscriptions became popular.

In the end of the 18th centrue the big role in the popularity of tattoo pictures played the exploring of Oceania. Probably at that time exactly there became to grow the attitude to tattoo pictures as to the part of the art.

In the 19th century Europeans gained the ability to make themselves tattoos in specialized tattoo shops. At that time the persons who used tattoo pictures the most were known as sailors, workers or military people. It is a wide known fact that in the beginning of the First World War the tattoos were applied approximately to 20 % people in Europe.

Approximately at the same time tattoos became popular among Americans. In the United States of America one by one there began to open tattoo shops with professional equipment in them. At the same time the electrical machines for tattoo picture application appeared. From this time tattoo images became not only the art or modern trend, but also a rather profitable branch of business mainly because the prices on the professionally made tattoo pictures are always rather high. For example the tattoo in Japanese style that covers almost every part of the body will cost several thousands of dollars.

Further the popularity of tattoo images several times went up and down. In 60s of the 20th century tattoos were very popular among rock musicians and later because of that a lot of young people came to the tattoo shops – all of them wanted to be the same as their popular stars. The existence of the tattoo became to show the acceptance in the certain groups of people where there was no place of others. The tattoo picture on the body, as well as clothes, shoes, accessories became in this case the business card of the applicant. He could be easily accepted in the non-formal part of the society.
Soon the tattoo became popular very widely. Following the fashion, pop-stars, top models, sportsmen, successful businessmen and clerks apply different tattoo pictures. If you come to the tattoo shop you will easily see that among of its clients there are people of different age and different social position as well as different earnings.

In Russia, for example, for a long time the existence of tattoo picture on the skin showed the criminal world belonging.  Really, for a long time earlier every person who had ever been in prison there got the tattoo picture on his skin or even several of them. For a certain part of young men everything connected with prison has some romance and that’s why alongside with speaking the same slang young men became to apply tattoo pictures used in prison. With this came the negative attitude to tattoo pictures from the most part of Russian society, particularly from the older and middle-aged citizens. Parents can hardly understand that their child, applying that tattoo picture to his or her skin, only tries to stay in a trend and become modern.

To Russia  the fashion for the artistic tattoo came from the West and that’s why it is natural that in Soviet time there couldn’t be good attitude to it. Except former prisoners the football fans, military men and rock-musicians. In the last years the society became more tolerable to tattoo pictures, legal tattoo shops began to exist, where everybody could make a tattoo picture of his choice.

Today the most part of the society has the attitude to tattoo images as to one of the kinds of the art. There are even museums, where exhibitions show the styles and national peculiarities of tattoos. Usually there are the tattoo pictures from the ancient times and up to today. In some museums one can always see the rare and vicious for European people things – the tattooed human skin.

Today there is a growth of the interest to tattoo pictures. Often there appear new and new shops and the new technologies of tattoo picture application are invented, as well as new pigments. Different magazines and catalogues are produced. In different countries, including Russia there are festivals of tattoo pictures where the recognized tattoo artists show their best works. They attract a lot of spectators who watch the show and then usually decide to apply the tattoo picture from the best tattoo artists that work with stars.

One of the aims of such festivals is the propaganda of the tattoo picture art, because here everybody can see the professionally made tattoo pictures that can be really considered as the part of art. We can surely say that tattoo pictures as many others trends of body art can be really considered to be the art. The creation of tattoo image requires from the tattoo artist not only the abilities to use different drawing techniques and ability to apply to the skin some ornament or plot. This is the artistic process that requires the developed imagination and artistic taste.

In terms of such festivals there are contests not only among the tattoo artists but also among their clients. To became famous people do not count their money and cover their bodies with as many tattoos as they can. For example the American Bernard Miller has 14 thousand tattoos and the citizen of Scotland Tom Leppard drew everybody’s attention by applying the leopard skin to the 99,2% of his body. Wilfred Hardy from England is not so behind him. His tattoo pictures occupy 96% of his skin, however he has them on his tongue and even in the inner part of his cheeks. The sentimental American George Rager pictured his skin with several thousand of Disney cartoons characters as tattoo pictures and he does not intend to stop at all.

Women are also not behind from the men in terms of tattoo picture application. The Canadian striptease dancer Christine Colourful tattoos occupy 95 per cent of her skin. She spent 15 thousand dollars and for 10 years was busy applying different tattoo pictures to her skin. American citizen Diane Russell went in for the depictions of the heroes of Greek myths and pre-historic animals, having devoted to such tattoo pictures 75 per cent of her skin.

And what do other tattoo picture lovers like? Many of them use the names of their lovers, significant dates, telephone numbers and favorite quotations. Many of others apply tattoo images that show their belongings to special social groups or professions. There is a trend for tattoo pics. As in other of its trends there are certain tendencies which many people try to follow. Up to the second part of the last century such style as custom tattoo was very popular. It could be best characterized by not so complex depictions and tattoo designs consisting from one to three colors. In the 80th of the 20th century there was the popularity for ornaments with Eastern motifs (Japanese and Chinese style), as well as rock and punk tattoo designs. Later there became popular tattoo pictures in Celtic style with well-recognized graphics, as well as tribal tattoos, in the basis of which there are tribal ornaments of Polynesia. Now there is a popularity for tattoo pictures made in the new style – they are mainly represented by vivid colorful pictures that resemble comics or graffiti, as well as the tattoo image made in the biomechanical style.

Sometimes the fashion for the certain tattoo pictures can be aroused by the events of the cultural or political life of the society. So after the appearance of the Quentin Tarantinos’ film “From dusk till dawn” among men there became popular the tattoo picture that can be seen on George Clooneys’ hand in the film. And in the year of 1991 during the operation “Desert Storm” many American military men made themselves the tattoo images depicting the USA flag and the eagle holding Saddam Hussein.

Men and women can have totally different tendencies in tattoo pictures. Men usually like tattoo images that can underline their bearers masculinity. They can be made in different styles, most of the times very aggressive. The classic of the masculine tattoo pics are known to be biker, gothic and celtic tattoos. The constant popularity is gained by the images of dragons and other mythical creatures. Men’s tattoo pictures are often rather big. They can be situated almost on all the parts of the body – back, lets, arms, chest, shoulders, neck or head.

Mostly effective the tattoos look on the trained body. By using the natural surface of the muscles the tattoo picture can gain volume. The very modern tendency in tattoo picture art is the combined tattoo, when the part of the tattoo picture is applied in traditional way and separate elements are made with the use of scarification. The scars are made with scalpel and the pigment is pushed into them. The scars then heal and leave a picturesque image. But everyone who wants to try this mean of beautifying should remember that the procedure of scarification is very painful and it should be done only with using the anesthesia. Besides that the risk of infection increases significantly and that’s why if you want to do such a thing, it will be better for you to go to the best tattoo shop you can find.
Women prefer much smaller tattoo pictures. Such tattoos usually represent flowers, butterflies, and cute animals. The tattoo picture of such kind is usually applied to the ass, belly (the most popular are the tattoo pics situated in the middle of the pierced belly) and spine (the most popular place – the waist), more rarely to the chest. However, lately women became to apply tattoo pictures mostly on the open parts of the body: shoulders, wrists, ankles. The most popular styles of tattoo pictures among women are celtic (one-colored growing ornament in the form of the bracelet) and Japanese (full-colored tattoo pictures depicting exotic flowers or animals).

tattoo picture on backIn terms of tattoo pictures women are less conservative than men and that is why they eagerly follow the modern trends and tendencies. Women often use tattoo pictures to hide the defects of the skin – small scars or pigment spots. The experienced tattoo artist can easily make them invisible by turning them into the part of the tattoo picture – the eye of the bird or animal, the part of the flower or some ornament and so on.

Women also like to apply erotic tattoo images, with the help of which they long to make their body more sexy and to attract the attention of the partner. There are also certain  modern tendencies. Usually different symbols are applied to the closed parts of the skin, such as symbols, hieroglyphs, the initials of lovers. Some brave girls prefer exotic tattoos with the depiction of animals, situated in such a way that they seem to go out of the intimate places.

If earlier the tendency in the tattoo pictures was distinctive and may tattoo designs were similar and could be seen on the skin of many different people, today the most popular are the original tattoo pictures that are not similar to others. It will be the best choice to apply such tattoo pictures at the well-known tattoo artists that will not only be able to easily fulfill the craziest fantasies of the client but will bring their own style into it. In this case the tattoo picture will be really unique and artistic.

As it is well known the trend in the world of fashion is made by famous persons. For the young people the example can be shown by their idols – musicians, cinema actors, sportsmen. That is why it is very interesting to know what tattoo pictures those famous people have.

The singer Eminem has such tattoo images as the mushroom on the left shoulder, bracelet in the gothic style on his wrist, the name of the daughter from the inner part of the hand and many other tattoos. The actor David Duchovny tattooed the compass with the letters N, S, E and the inscription “Wet” – the name of his daughter. Another famous actor Nicolas Cage pictured his back with tattoo of the lizard in the cylinder and Bruce Willis has the same cylinder but on the top of the skull. Some stars of the American show business probably are the admirers of comics – the tattoo pictures with the emblem of the Superman are applied to the skins of John Bon Jovi and Joey Feiton. Nine actors who took part in the shooting of the cult film “Lord of the Rings” made the tattoo picture representing the elf number 9. Sean Connery has a tattoo picture with inscription “Scotland Forever” on his right hand.
The boxer Michael Tyson has the portraits of Chee Guevara and Mao Zedong, the footballer David Beckham a tattoo picture of a cross on his back on his right hand the roman number 7 (he played under this number in the Manchester United football club). He also applied tattoo pictures with names of his wife and sons. His wife, Victoria, the former singer of the group “Spice Girls” has husband initials on the left wrist and 4 stars on her waist.

The well-known pop-diva Cher put several tattoos on her body – on her ass there are flowers, the rose on the left ankle, the chain with heart on the left forearm. The popular actress Angelina Jolie has the dragon and the name of former husband on the shoulder and the black cross on the belly. The singer Jerry Hollywell has such tattoo image as black panther on the waist, and Bjork – the Island compass on the shoulder. Drew Barrymore applied tattoo pictures of butterflies on her belly, moon and stars on the right hand and flowers on the inner part of the leg. Melanie Griffith applied tattoo picture with heart and the name of her husband on the shoulder. Minnie Driver has rose tattoo picture. Brittney Spears applied tattoo picture depicting elf, Janet Jackson has Disney Minnie and Micky Mouse.

Often the American stars choose such tattoo pics as the names of their lovers. However such tattoos require consistency in love life – otherwise the tattoos must be vanished or changed. For example Pamela Anderson had a tattoo picture with the name of her husband Tommy Lee. After the divorce the first letter in the inscription was changed to M and the inscription became “Mommy”. The actor Johnny Depp, believing in the eternal love, put Wynona Ryders’ name to his skin and later changed the tattoo picture from “Winona forever” to “Wine forever”.

The tattoo art constantly develops and the trends change quickly. The invention of the new pigments and technologies leads to appearance of the new tendencies.
Nowadays among the most interesting tattoo picture technologies are the pictures made with pigment that begins to glow under the ultraviolet rays. Such tattoo pics are very popular among those who prefer to go to the night clubs or disco. In Australia the most popular are known to be the images that use the pigments changing their color when exposed to the rays of the sun. Such chameleon tattoo pictures look very unusual and attract a lot of attention from other people. The tattoo images made with the white ink and showing when the skin becomes dark from the sun are very popular too. Their application require big knowledge but the effect is really unusual.

For those who decide to make a tattoo it is necessary to remember about the changes in the style and fashion. The tattoo picture that today is very good and makes others envious, will surely become outdated in several years and it will be not so easy to change it as it is with for example clothes. That is why it is not recommended to apply tattoo pictures of a big size and situated on the open parts of the skin. It is much better to apply a small tattoo picture that can be change afterwards much easier following different fashion tendencies.

When making the tattoo picture it is necessary to take into the account the fact that it must correspond with the image and be harmonious with the chosen style of the clothing. Besides that, if the tattoo picture is not the first it will be good if it corresponds with previous one in terms of color and style.

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