Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…


March 20th, 2009 by

Since I recently went off about the ridiculous comment made by an obvious tattoo hater, (Most of which was so off base fact wise that I had to wonder about just how “informed” the guy really was.), I thought I would take a look at just how far the art of tattooing as actually advanced in recent years. Especially since I was around for most of them.

In the 60’s and 70’s tattooing was just starting to be looked at by many art school graduates as a viable medium for presenting their art, as well as a way to avoid the starving artist routine. Sad to say that since the popularity of tattooing as a viable art form was still in it’s infancy many of the shops then were still the parlor style where health concerns took a back seat. I would also guesstamate that 90% of the clientele were still the military and social outcasts that were usually associated with tattooing.

Although clinical procedures, and sterility of instruments were highly recommended by quite a few of the legends of tattooing, Sailor Jerry for one, most parlors simply didn’t bother. After all, it had worked for years before, why change now? With the public awareness turning to communicable diseases in the early 80’s things really began to change.

Now days, (Especially in regulated areas.), most modern tattoo studios are more aptly described as tattoo clinics with their emphasis on single use instruments, hospital sterilization techniques, and hygiene. Most all of the horror stories are regulated to unlicensed scratchers. And no, you simply can not do the same level of sterility in your living room/basement set up.

Thanks to the influx of talented artists, and gorgeous custom work, the art of tattooing has also now claimed it’s rightful place as an art form with many mainstream U.S. reference works, magazines, and newspapers.

Tattooing won a spot in the 30 volume Macmillan Dictionary of Art in 1996, as well as an extensive treatise on the subject in its 16 volume sister publication Encyclopedia of Religion. The Governor’s Office of California issued an official state proclamation in 1982 declaring that “…tattoo is primal parent of the visual arts… It has re-emerged as a fine art attracting highly trained and skilled practitioners.”

In 1986 Wall Street Journal’s Leisure & Arts column featured a lengthy article detailing the history of the changing tattoo art scene. In 1989, Esquire magazine stated that “Serious artists are joining the ranks of tattooers and their designs are being exhibited in museums and featured in expensive coffee table books.”

Just last year in March USA Today said that, “The once-rebel art of tattooing has achieved mainstream popularity in 90’s America. Today’s typical tattoo studio is clean and comfortable with tattooing areas that resemble medical-clinic rooms. The people who come in on any given day might be students, professionals, even senior citizens.”

What else can I say? I could go on and on, but to steal an old tag line from the 70’s: “We’ve come a long way, Baby.”

Peace Out Gang! 😉

Leave a Comment

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.