Art that adorns the flesh…
Controversy. Time and time again, it seems like tattoo is always followed by some sort of controversy. One would think that at this point in human existence, given the immense rise in popularity of tattoo and the common place nature it all, that tattoo would be about as controversial a topic as choosing one soft drink brand over another. No way, Jose. Controversy is rife in the ye ole world of permanent ink. When you think about it, it’s quite amazing that human beings adorned with ink could still cause any sort of uproar at all, given the lengthy history of tattoo. After all, it’s not like we’ve only just learned of this art form and it’s not like any of us are seeing it for the first time. Whether it’s through henna, images in magazines, temporary tattoos that accompany pieces of bubble gum or simply doodling on arms and legs with a marker we are all exposed to tattoo from a very early age and consistently throughout our lives.
So does who gets what tattoo and where have anything to do with us? Or is it simply a matter of the media relentlessly telling us that something is shocking and/or offensive? That is, is controversy surrounding tattoo ever really a controversy at all?
In my opinion? No. Not at all. The most recent example of non-controversy in the world of tattoo is the latest tattoo inked onto Zayn Malik, a singer from the UK boy band One Direction. The 20 year-old teen idol recently had a six-shooter tattooed along his ribcage, to give the gun the holstered at the side look. It’s a tattoo that many, many people have, yet somehow given that it’s on a celebrity, many are labelling it a controversial act.
‘Ray Nelson, president of the Guitars Not Guns organization, tells Britain’s Daily Mirror newspaper, “It is a shame that anyone would think it makes you look cool if you get a gun tattoo. Promoting guns in fashion could lead to gun violence and we certainly don’t need any more of that.”‘
Okay. First off? No. Absolutely, positively, 100% NO. Malik isn’t promoting guns. He doesn’t have an agenda. He got a tattoo of a gun on his body. That doesn’t mean that he shoots guns, own guns or wants others to buy weapons and brandish them about in shopping malls, high schools or movie theatres. Let’s get a bit of perspective here, alright? Calm it down.
Second, if we’re really going to be worried about the impact weapons have on the delicate minds of children and teens, we should be especially concerned about their exposure to the news and to war and toward encouraging them to join the military. They should be safeguarded from violent video games, films and any forms of music that mention guns or weapons of any sort. Books are dangerous too. They shouldn’t be allowed to read any books that mention guns or that have characters who use or carry guns. It’s probably also a good idea to scrub out the word “gun” from any dictionaries that teens may have access to. Even this blog post should probably come with some sort of warning, so if you’re a teenager who happens to be reading this, stop right now. I don’t want you thinking about guns, ever.
Ridiculous, right? Of course it is. The guy wants a tattoo of a gun, the guy gets a tattoo of gun. The entire incident carries as much weight as we give it. So let’s all agree to do this: let’s not give it any weight at all. Let’s just chalk it up to what it is – yet another celebrity getting yet another tattoo. It’s absolutely harmless. So Ray Nelson and all the media and anyone else who has a problem with this tattoo, I have one message for you: calm down. It’s a tattoo.
There’s no question that one of the most popular tattoos at present time is the neck tattoo. The neck tattoo has a lengthy history – one that used to signify a massive step for its bearer. The neck tattoo was the icing on the cake, the tattoo that only the truly committed and hardcore got. It used to be that if you had a neck tattoo, you were either a tattooist, in a band or just a badass motherfucker.
Today, while there are still plenty of old hardcores out there with the better parts of their necks covered, neck tattoos are becoming increasingly associated with hipsters. The badass neck tattoo has been replaced by the cutesy neck tattoo and the otherwise completely non-threatening neck tattoo. It’s definitely a sore point (no pun intended) for many, but if you think seeing a latte sucking, fixie riding, ironic moustache sporting, neck tattooed, hipster D-bag is irritating, I’ve got news for you, because this takes the cake:
Although only in patent form (which apparently means that the odds of it actually happening are slim at best), Google’s outside noise dampening/lie detecting electronic throat tattoo makes dilettante hipsters look like a welcome relief. The explanation for it isn’t really all that clear, but it’s more than enough to tell me that it could be quite possibly one of the worst ideas ever.
‘”Communication can be reasonably improved” by the application of an electronic throat tattoo, which could dampen “acoustic noise.”
But it’s not just a noise-canceling microphone for your telephone! The tattoo can do more. It can have a display that lights up under certain conditions.
And the other kind of noise that gets introduced into conversations is lies! Bad data. So, the electronic skin tattoo can detect those, too.
“Optionally, the electronic skin tattoo can further include a galvanic skin response detector to detect skin resistance of a user,” the patent reads. “It is contemplated that a user that may be nervous or engaging in speaking falsehoods may exhibit different galvanic skin response than a more confident, truth telling individual.”‘
So let’s recap here: we’ve got a possible product that can “dampen” acoustic noise while you do your talking on the phone, but also indicate whether or not you’re telling lies, all while resting stylishly on your neck in the form of a “tattoo”. Sounds perfect. I can sincerely say that I hope this product never, ever, ever becomes a reality. I would rather see a billion and one cupcake/unicorn/teddy bear/ironic neck tattoos on an entire army’s worth of hipsters before I ever have to stomach the reality of even one person wearing this piece of garbage.
Sometimes it takes the possibility of something horrible to make you realise that things currently aren’t that bad.
Italian tattooist Samuele Briganti is a true artist.
Just don’t tell him that.
Okay, so this convention didn’t just happen but it wasn’t that long ago. The English subtitles might be a little bit crap, but you can still more or less get the idea – unless of course, you speak German, in which case you’re sorted. At any rate, Berlin has long had a reputation as a city saturated with artistically diverse and extremely creative people, so when it comes to tattoo, that reputation doesn’t falter in the least. There’s a lot of excellent stuff on display here. Take it all in and enjoy!
Hiya peeps and freaks, how goes it?
I wanted to post this little mini-doc by the BBC folks on tattoo and women. Apparently it’s becoming less of a big deal for women to be tattooed. I’m sure there are many women out there (some of whom I know), who would counter that they’ve never given a toss whether or not getting tattooed was acceptable. That being said however, the mainstream charm of tattoo does help to break down barriers that might have kept certain people from getting tattooed five or ten years ago. Me personally? I like tattooed women. I also like non-tattooed women. It’s the person that counts, right? (But if they have cool tattoos that goes a long way too. Heh.)
Over the course of the last few years, a strange new legal issue has been emerging in America. Some tattoo artists are claiming copyright infringement over tattoos that they gave certain people. Now, let’s be clear; when I say “certain people” I mean celebrities. Let’s face it, no tattoo artist is going to try and get legal entitlement to a tattoo on the guy who works at your local supermarket or pub. At least not yet. What’s happened is that there have been several lawsuits filed against celebrities and Warner Brothers studios themselves for tattoos that appeared in the public eye, without paying the artists responsible any royalties.
‘Late last year, for example, Stephen Allen, a tattoo artist, sued video game maker Electronic Arts and former Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams over a tattoo Allen put on Williams’ bicep. The tattoo appeared on the cover of EA’s “NFL Street” video game. Allen claimed that the reproduction and display of the tattoo violated his copyright.’
‘Allen’s was not the first lawsuit. Others include a 2011 case brought by tattoo artist Victor Whitmill against Warner Bros.The suit was filed just weeks before the release of the hit film “The Hangover: Part II.” In the film, comedian Ed Helms wakes up with a copy of boxer Mike Tyson‘s famous Maori-inspired facial tattoo. Whitmill claimed that Warner Bros. owed him for re-creating the Tyson tattoo. The case was settled for an undisclosed sum.’
On one hand, I can completely identify with the tattoo artists; when multi-millionaires are gaining attention and profiting from your own creation(s), then it does seem a touch unfair that none of these profits are making their way to the artist who helped put the multi-millionaires in that position in the first place. Prominently displaying an artist’s tattoo in an advertisement of any sort – regardless of whether or not the tattoo in question has anything at all to do with the advertisement, is capitalising on an image. The original tattoo is a work of art that is helping to create the image being sold by whatever corporate entity. In the case of Victor Whitmill, Warner Brothers had expressly recreated Whitmill’s tattoo without first asking his permission or paying him any royalties whatsoever. That’s a case of a major Hollywood studio overstepping their bounds and literally stealing someone else’s work for profit.
On the other hand, as I said before, so far this issue deals entirely with celebrities. However, as with most nascent laws and legal quandaries, the next few years and incidents of this sort of thing will ultimately set the legal precedent. The last thing that I want to see (and I’m sure that I’m not the only one), is a new era of tattoo in which artists are claiming copyright on every tattoo they place on their clients, regardless of one’s celebrity status. When a client pays for a tattoo, they are paying for the tattoo – no more, no less. If the tattooist wants to ensure they make a decent profit off their work, then they should charge what they feel to be a decent amount for said work. It could be argued that saying your work is being profited off of by a celebrity appearing in an advertisement with his/her tattoos visible is like Calvin Klein or Ralph Lauren claiming copyright infringement against celebrities who happen to be wearing their respective clothing lines in advertisements.
Claiming copyright over another person’s flesh moves things into a rather dicey legal area that unfortunately has everything to do with money and nothing to do with art. As I’ve said, in the case of a corporation attempting to take an artist’s work without paying for it, there should certainly be an avenue of legal recourse for the artist to follow. Simply seeing one of your tattoos on a celebrity in an advertisement? Hard to really justify an artist claiming control over someone else’s body. Let’s not get so carried away with the pursuit of wealth that we forget the real reasons for the art we create, okay?