The Art of Tattoos

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Tattooing has changed and grown rigorously over the past couple centuries. The practice of tattooing is an ancient one dating back to about 4000 B.C. and is worldwide in its distribution (Roenigk 179). Tattooing has grown to now be considered a mainstream activity and is no longer confined to prison populations, sailors, and gang members. Tattooed bodies now include adolescents, career women, and college students (Millner 425). Throughout all these years, tattoos have been used as protection against danger, as love charms, to restore youth, to ensure good health and long life, to accomplish fertility, to bring about the death to an enemy, to cure an illness, to insure a happy afterlife, and even to acquire supernatural power. Although countless studies have been implemented to try to reign in just how much tattooing is widespread, Atkinson sums it all up when he says, “For the most part, though, we still know very little about contemporary tattoo enthusiasts’ fascination with this body project, cultural sensibilities about the practice, or collectively shared understandings of tattoo art.” (4). Tattoos, being complex visuals of body art, have a different meaning to each individual that is deeper than what it appears, whether it be a symbol of survival, a memorial, a memory, or a result of a drunken stupor; however, not all permanent markings are ones that should be shared and forever imprinted on your body. The operational definition of tattooing is the insertion of ink or some other pigment through the outer covering of the body, the epidermis, into the dermis, the second layer of skin (Schlibkrout 4). To do this, professional tattoo artists use a sharp utensil, such as a special electric needle or battery of needles, to inject ... ... middle of paper ... ...Amy J. Derick. “Tattoos and Body Piercings in the United States: A National Data Set.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 55.3 (2006): 413-421. Print. Mayers, Lester B. “Prevalence of Body Art (Body Piercing and Tattooing) in University Undergraduates and Incidence of Medical Complications.” Mayo Clinic Proceeding 77.1 (2002): 29-34. Print. Millner, Vaughn S., and Bernard H. Eichold. “Body Piercing and Tattooing Perspectives.” Clinical Nursing Research 10.4 (2001): 424-441. Print. Roenigk, Henry H. “Tattooing - History, Technics, Complications, Removal.” Cleveland Clinic Quarterly 38.4 (1971): 179-186. Print. Schlidkrout, Enid. “Body Art as Visual Language.” Anthro Notes 22.2 (2001): 1-8. Print. Wohlrab, Silke, Jutta Stahl, and Peter M. Kappeler. "Modifying the Body: Motivations for Getting Tattooed and Pierced." Body Image 4.1 (2007): 87-95. Print.
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