Tattoos have been around for thousands of years. Many believe the art of Japanese tattooing goes back to 10,000 B.C. The earliest evidence of a tattoo found on a human body goes back 5,200 years ago, when a frozen mummy nicknamed the “Iceman” was found to have markings on him similar to what we now call tattoos.
Tattoos have been found on mummies all over the world, including Egypt (where tattoos where strictly for women), Peru, Africa, Chile, Greece, Greenland, China, and Japan. They were used to mark status, association to a certain group, used as punishment, for spiritual reasons, and for decoration.
In 1769, James Cook made his expedition to Polynesia and found it’s residents to be heavily decorated. The islanders had elaborate geometric designs on their bodies. They used the term tattau, which means to strike or hit, and thus our modern day term tattoo was born. The style become famous with European sailors and coal-miners.
In today’s world, tattoos are pretty common and easily accessible to anyone with some extra cash. For some people, tattoos still serve as a way to label or brand themselves (think prison or biker tattoos). Tattoos can also serve for spiritual reasons, or just a creative way to express yourself. Regardless of the current number of tattoos your body is displaying right now, read on to get your ink fix.
Also called “Old School,” this is the most popular tattoo style in the west. It originated in American military bases in the 1930’s and 40’s Designs include anchors, hearts, pin-ups, and ships. It has bold sections of black and solid colors.
The current trend, opposite of old school. Includes unique patterns and custom designs. This is more of a “one-of-a-kind” tattoo.
Tattoos today look more and more realistic because of technology. New tattoo guns and ink are make it easier to create fine lines (not that it’s easy!) The number of people getting tattoos has also led to more tattoo artists. Skill level has increased because of this. Tattooing can now be a profitable career if you know what you’re doing.
Black and Grey
Any tattoo regardless of the style can be black and grey. This style is different because it is often associated with prison or bikers. The Chicano style black and grey originated in East LA in the 1970’s. Prison tattoos obviously had to be black and grey because color ink isn’t available in prison. The style spread to biker culture as well. This includes a lot of skulls, memorials, phrases, and scripts. Black and grey portraits are popular as well.
Totally got a bad rap in the 90’s, but tribal tattoos are actually pretty badass. The Iceman mummy from 5,200 years ago was found with tribal markings. It’s the oldest form of tattooing known, and has very spiritual meaning. If done well and for the right reasons, tribal is amazing tattoo work.
Tattoo style for sci-fi fans. It features human and robotic parts intertwined. Most commonly depicted as torn skin exposing robotic parts underneath the flesh.
My favorite style. It’s a flat, two dimensional style. Very rich in meaning, often portrays items that have significant and/or spiritual meaning. Most commonly seen are: Buddhas, flowers, Koi fish, clouds, waves and water, tigers, dragons.
Words of Wisdom:
You get what you pay for. Remember this will stay on you for the rest of your life. It will cost more to get a cover up or removed!
Yes, tattoos hurt. Some more than others! It all depends on the size of the tattoo and the placement on your body. Spine, rib cage, feet, knuckles and bony areas hurt more than fleshy areas.
When considering placement, think about your job. If it requires you to cover up, make sure you’re willing to!
When looking for a tattoo artist, make sure you look at their portfolios and reviews on the internet if possible. Especially if you are going for a portrait or something very realistic. Not everyone can do that. That being said, there are several amazing and very talented artists out there. Enjoy!