It’s not possible to list all the elements that would enable us to understand the meaning of tattoo in modern societies. The two exemple chosen show two important points of tattoo: one that all the tattooed persons share and the second (subjective choice) wich differentiates all the tattooed in their experience.
Fisrt their is the aesthetical estimation of the tattoo, if the person who get tattooed is not convinced of the beauty of the tattoo it will be difficult for him/her to wear it. For many people tattoo is an art and the body is a medium that enable to wear the work of art and to show it easily. Some have the claim to make out of their body a work of art which is relatively just when you are conviced of the beauty of tattoos. Some are so fascinated by a design , a fresco, the style of a tattoo artist that they will start easily the adventure of tattoo. Sometimes it’s possible to bring to your tattooer a model desogned by oneself . Then the tattoo artrist gives some precisions about possible modifications on size, placement so the customer will have unique and personal tattoo. Body marks enable to distingyuish from the others, to become a living work of art and so to attrac to oneself the others. The pride of wearing a tattoo of exception equals the pride of owning a unique work of art plus the fact of making oneself unique too.
We can see that for some(especially women) tattoo is an adornment like permanent makeup. Considered as nicest than a jewel, it doesn’t get spoiled and can be brighten up if ink loses of it vividness because of the renewal of the skin. Nowadays scriptural tattoos are not trendy anymore, peole don’t get tattooed “mom forever” anymore as tattoo shows more and more the independance. Of cours all the style are not fashionable to the young generation that are already tattooed. We can see a lot of tattoo artists specialised in a series of style like biomechanical, floral japonese, realistic, maoris…
Of cours we find some special demands. Ttattoo is an element that talks to the others but it has an intimate caracter. Tribal tattoos are very common now because they are not figuratives and that those who wear them can invent a meaning easily. The choice of the design is often a “love at first sight” where the meaning is not realy important; this meaning the individual will give it to it’s tattoo later. We can see in this a kind of spiritual quest for the young that sees in this primitives design a sorte of come back to the nature or some exotic origins and the tattooed imagine all a mytholigy about the design he has chosen. So a maori symbole can mean the force or the luck according to one who wear it (and if he doesn’t know the real meaning).
The tattoo is an important element in the life of the tattooed as the mark is done. It’s a good way to communicate about oneself and about the choice of the tattoo. By telling the reasons of getting tattooed one talk about itself.
Sometimes the choice of the design is determined by the place where you want to get attooed, once again easthetics prevails. Another situation exists: when the customer don’t know what and where he want to get tattooed, but he needs one. It’s a fashion effect or just the will to mark once body whatever the meaning that will come later.
Sometime the choice determined by an artist admired, a rock band, a style of music, or the fact that a famous person wear this design. There’s a fashion effect that work by cycle like for the clothes as which music, graphic style or cultur is fashionable.
When symbolism is chosen befor the tattoo is done it touch the way the individual sees life, it’s family, and it’s values. There’s the cas of a student wich claims his opinion with his tattoo: ” the blood group i said i would do it so i done it. I’ve read a book about the SS, that they were tattooed on the left arm, well their blood group was tattooed there. As i’m from german origins, that’s why it’s an uncunscious way to celebrate the german soldiers of world war II often bad considered. i don’t know. People criticises them but they forget that the job of a soldier is to kill people! and they lost WWII they are further more bad considered.” this kind of motivation makes his values visible it’s also a caracteristic of the reapropriation of the body. In a certain way we would witness the birth of a DIY identitary creation that would happen on the skin. The explainations are often vague because it’s not the real meaning of the symbole that counts but the meaning that the bearer of the tattoo gives to it. Then we enter the emotional side of the body mark. If we compare the work done on men and women, we see that work on women is more link to eroticization of the body, the design are finest, discrete. On the contrary men chose more aggresive designs; we still find the need to prove virility. The designs are as exposed as women. Only tribal stays a design with an eaqual use between men and women.
For the very personal tattoos they are those whicgh implies the life of the customer. Love stories is still marked by tattoo as a symbole of eternal union. Sometimes faces are asked tot he tattoo artists in a realistic style for those specialised in portaiture. This genre is called foto realism. An other style is the biomechanical wich represents a methaphorical technicality of the body; this style would have benn born of the influence of “alien” creator HR GIGER. The origin of a tattoo can come from a childhood memory or the loss of someone close. So we can see a lot of tattoo made to celebrate an event. Some tattoos are done during conventions where tattoo artists and tattooed person from all over world gather to talk, exchange, technics, expose a tattoo. During those conventions the tattoo artists works on a stand and it’s possible to let him/her does what he /she wants on a certain space of skin. So sometime the will to have a new tattoo comes from the desir to wear the work of a particular tattoo artist.
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