Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…

Tattoo Morality

November 25th, 2009 by

How easily things can change.

Almost one year ago, I wrote a blog post about Thomas Lockhart, of Vancouver, British Columbia’s West Coast Tattoo.  Lockhart was loving the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.  With Vancouver being the host city for the games, Lockhart had begun the entrepreneurial undertaking of tattooing people/athletes with the 2010 Games logo, mascots and pretty much anything else that a tattoo seeking Olympic Games fan might be interested in.  As far as Lockhart was concerned, the games were a great boon to his business.

Fast forward to November 2009.  The 2010 Olympic Games have since consumed the Canadian city of Vancouver, derailing from a world class sporting event to a petty, restrictive and dare I say, quasi-fascist financial undertaking.  With Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper calling for the 2010 Games to be “the most secure games ever”, (because, you know, apparently the 2008 Summer games in communist China weren’t secure enough), insane practices and laws are taking place, laws which many Vancouver residents argue are running contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights (for the American readers out there, that’s Canada’s version of the Constitution).  Intimidating visits to apartments of those who speak out against the games, by gangs of undercover police officers have occurred.  A new law put into place states that any signs put up within private residences which visibly state anything negative about the games can and will be removed by police within 24 hours.  All of it all seems to be about one big push to make these Canadian games pure and honorable.

So where do you think tattoos fit in, in all this?  Well, remember Thomas Lockhart?  Apparently the sign outside of Lockhart’s tattoo shop, which depicts a topless 1950’s style pinup model has been given the thumbs down by city inspectors.  The inspectors came to Lockhart’s shop and told him that he would have to remove the advertisement, which Lockhart says has been a fixture outside of his shop for 10-15 years now.

‘I’ve had the sign out for 10 or 15 years and nobody made a stink. To happen all of a sudden, it seems kind of coincidental. They told me there was a complaint,” he added.

‘These guys came in here and said I have to take my sign off the street and keep it on private property,” said Lockhart.  ‘We’re right on the main Olympic thoroughfare. I think it’s kind of ridiculous.’

He said he put the sign back on the sidewalk shortly after the inspectors, who said they were from the city’s “street administration branch”, left.”

Now, I don’t think that anyone can accuse Lockhart of not having any Olympic spirit.  He has steadfastly remained a supporter of the Olympics and the business boom that it is supposedly going to bring to the city of Vancouver.  Lockhart has even offered to give any Olympic medal winner a free tattoo, as long as they agree to pose for a photo with him.  If this isn’t the sort of spirit that Olympic organizers hope to sow in the community, then what exactly is?  It seems to me that this is something of a witch hunt, and whenever the morality police come out to play, it always seems convenient how quickly tattoo artists are singled out as impure or inappropriate.

At any rate, I wish Lockhart luck and support him.  I encourage him to keep his sign out.  Last year I was slightly cynical about his push to sell Olympic themed tattoos.  Well, this year I’ve changed my mind.  Thomas Lockhart is just as much a part of the business community of Vancouver, regardless of whether or not he happens to sell tattoos.  And if that’s inappropriate for the Olympics, perhaps the Olympics should just stick to what it’s supposed to be all about in the first place: sports, and let everyone else handle their own affairs.

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