Are Tattoos Art?
I strongly agree that tattoos are art. It would be crucial first to understand what art entails in order to give a clear description of tattoos as an art. Art entails the creation of images and objects such as paintings, photography, and sculpture-making. Tattoos are art because they involve the creation of drawings on the bodies of individuals. These drawings have to be done with a high level of care to ensure that they appear as required by the client. The enormous care required in the creation of tattoos calls for adequate knowledge in art hence bringing out tattoos as art. More so, Johnson (2006) agrees that tattoos are art because of the fact that they require effective calculation and design of the images required by the different clients visiting tattoo studios. The design and calculation of the actual size of these images emphasizes the point that tattoos are art. A high level of expertise is needed in the successful design of images and the drawing of the images desired by clients. The high level of expertise required ensures that any potential injuries that may occur are eliminated leaving individuals with added beauty according to their desires. The artistic aspect of tattoos is also notable from their attractive nature. Most of the tattoos are drawn in the manner that they evoke some form of emotion and remain attractive for individuals possessing them. Art is always aimed at attracting individuals and speaking some message through the emotional nature of the images created. Tattoos fulfill this vital characteristic and can be undisputedly be categorized in the field of art. The high artistic nature of tattoos has made them more attractive and most individuals opt to put them in areas where they can be seen easily by others. They are undisputedly part of the growing art all over the globe even as new technology sets in.
Summary of the Article
The article highlights the view that the term “tattoo” emanates from the Tahitian word tatau and has strong connections to the Polynesian word ta. The origin of tattoos can be dated back to the Bronze Age and their popularity has been spreading gradually all over the world. According to the article, tattoos received enormous rejection in Europe where Christian values discouraging body piercings were common as captured in the Bible. Thus, most Christians in the Middle Ages and those in Europe were highly opposed to tattooing and did not practice it. Taliaferro & Odden (2012) opine that the first era of modern tattoos dates back to 1769 during James Cook’s expedition in Tahiti. Polynesian cultures used tattoos to test the endurance of men and tattooing subsequently became a ceremony lasting up to several months. The history of tattoos in America experienced different reactions, as most Europeans perceived it a show of primitive practices. Nevertheless, tattoos in American were seen as an expression of loyalty during the Civil War. People started embracing different images such as flowers starting from 1900 onwards hence evoking mixed emotions. In line with the interviews conducted by Kinsey, tattoos were seen as the expression of masculinity among individuals. The possession of a tattoo among men sailors would always motivate others to get one and express their masculinity. Ancient Egypt exhibited some difference in the art of tattooing, as it was a common practice among members of the female gender. However, most of the Egyptian mummies with tattoos were directly presumed to be prostitutes. The article also brings out the view that tattoos also played a punitive role in the society as they were used in the Greco-Roman culture to mark slaves and prisoners hence emphasizing their inferiority.
Johnson, F. J. (2006). Tattooing: Mind, Body, and Spirit. The Inner Essence of the Art. University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, 1-61.
Taliaferro, C., & Odden, M. (2012). Tattoos and the Tattooing Arts in Perspective. New York: John Wiley & Sons.