Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…

About Face.

December 6th, 2008 by

Patriotic TattooEven with the semi-mainstream acceptance of tattoos there remains a taboo that is rarely broken. Few artists will touch the job, unless you already happen to have one, because it is such a definitive “bridge burner” that once you go there your pretty much stuck for life. Even with the expensive advances in tattoo removal your pretty much out of luck. I’m talking about facial tattooing, of course.

Even if you can cough up the several hundred, if not thousands of bucks laser removal will require, the tattooing process itself is going to leave a scar. So even if you change your mind later the permanently whitish skin is still going to prompt many to think that you might have had an industrial accident. Face it, once you decide to tattoo your mug, one way or another your stuck with it.

Facial tattooing has been around, most likely, for as long as the art has existed. In most probability it was first used by tribal warriors, in place of war paint, to strike fear in the hearts of the enemy. Could be, because of the feelings it brings up in most people who see it, facial tattooing was one of the first forms of psychological warfare ever used. It certainly was a way of telling everyone who met you that you were a bad ass. In many ways much as it is used to day by some of the rougher elements of society.

The New Zealand Maori Moko is probably the most famous example of the warrior facial tattoos, but by no means the only one. Many European, and Native American tribes did much of the same thing, just not to the extent the Maori took the facial tattoo.

Regardless, one thing you can rest assured of, once you make the decision to tattoo your face you have made sure to set yourself outside of the normal conventions of society forever. For the few who do make that decision that is the point. For others it is a way of making a mark in the entertainment world. The Great Omi, The Enigma, to name just a couple.

On another side of the spectrum there are a few who get facial tattoos as a way to symbolize their connection with their perceived culture. More than a few debates have been started on the web over Maori descendants who will either have the traditional Moko, or a modern equivalent done, and those who imitate them because they think it’s cool. There have even been many in America who want to imitate the Native Americans that used facial tattooing, (Unfortunately, with little, or no link to the tribes they believe they came from.), to identify with that particular tribe.

In recent years tattooing has enjoyed an acceptance that it has rarely seen over the millennia. Sometimes pushing limits that the old timers could barely conceive. Artwork that would blow their minds is regularly done in shops across the globe, and collectors become more and more willing to push the envelope.

Pushing the envelope is all well and good, human beings have always sought to go a bit further than the last guy who was here. This is how we grow. Still, as every tattoo artist worth his needles will tell you, “Think before you ink.” Nowhere is that more true than with the issue of facial tattooing.

It is your body and by my personal philosophy you have the right to do whatever you want with it. If you want facial tattooing that is a decision only you can make, but before you do ask yourself why you want it. There could be some damned good reasons, but doing it just because you think it is the “cool” thing to do at the time, or because your ticked off at society, sure as Hell isn’t one of them.

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