The rise of the text tattoo

Text tattoos are not my personal style, but you cannot deny their popularity.

It probably wasn’t on Shakespeare’s radar that his work would one day unite Megan Fox, Danielle Lineker and Lindsay Lohan. But it has – they all have Shakespeare quotations tattooed on their bodies. Why are more people getting such high-brow inkings?

The trend for long pieces of script is part of the tattoo’s journey from the margins to the mainstream.


From counter-culture to mainstream: Why the red-hot tattoo boom is bound to end

Once a tribal rite of passage, a signifier of dangerous associations, or a mark of freakish deviance, the tattoo is now commercialized, ironic, often tacky or maudlin, rarely edgy, and widely available at low cost, all of which bodes ill for the future of ink.

Interesting story, but I don’t agree with the conclusion. One type of criticism aimed at modern day tattoos is the idea that they are no longer edgy, no longer reserved for bad-asses and have become too commercialized. I don’t disagree, but I also don’t believe this will lead to the downfall of the tattoo industry. Tattoos are constantly evolving, the inks are improving, new styles and techniques are always on the horizon.

The idea that tattoos are no longer edgy is what has allowed them into mainstream culture. While a rebellious teenager might think twice about getting inked after his parents come home with new tattoos, the tattoo industry is happily making more money than ever from a larger demographic than ever before. Only time will truly tell, but I just don’t see a sudden decline in tattoo popularity any time in the near future.


Tattoos and Employment

Articles about tattoos in the workplace have been popping up everywhere and I have received a number of emails from engineering students who are questioning how tattoos might affect their chances of getting a job after graduation.

Every time the topic of tattoos and employment is brought up I give the same answers, so I thought it was time to write a little more about it. Referring back to one of my earlier posts which is now well over 2 years old, Some Basic Tattoo Advice, I said this

Think about how tattoo placement will effect your possibility of future employment. Qualified or not, I doubt these guys are going to be hired any time soon.

[Read more…]


Movie review: ‘Tattoo Nation’ doc studies art form’s mark on U.S.

The first reviews of  ‘Tattoo Nation’ are rolling in:

Decidedly more celebration than exposé, the movie bypasses such practical issues as health risks, tattoo addiction and remorse, and the pain and expense — and increasing popularity — of tattoo removal.

I have not yet seen this movie, so my comments are purely in response to the reviewer. But perhaps the filmmakers decided not to cover a “practical issue” like tattoo remorse because the statistics show a low number of people with tattoos have any remorse. Perhaps they skipped over the issue of health risks because tattoos done in a reputable shop carry very little risk. Maybe they skipped the topic of tattoo addiction because very few people are truly addicted. Or that just simply wasn’t was this movie is about as you can easily learn by reading the synopsis.

Tattoos used to be a sign of rebellion. A middle finger salute to the rest of the world. Outlaw bikers got tattoos. Sailors on leave in Singapore got tattoos. Lifers in the joint got tattoos.

Now, your mother’s got a butterfly on her ankle and your kid’s sporting a tramp stamp.

What happened? How did tattoos go from the renegade, readymade, carney cartoons inked as fast as possible to the art form they’ve become today?

That transformation is the subject of the new documentary film, TATTOO NATION.