Why are tattoos so popular ? (or is it just my imagination?)

Oct 2018
1,209
Adelaide south Australia
#1
I have a tattoo, just one.. A souvenir of New Year's Eve 1969, Singapore. I have regretted it since 1 January 1970. Very unobtrusive, right upper arm, and is covered by t shirts. I've always been embarrassed by it.Today it seems I am constantly surrounded by ink; full sleeves, legs, backs, chests, even hands, necks and faces (I still think non tribal people with hand and/or facial tattoos are strange)

This love of ink seems most noticeable on entertainers of both sexes. Thankfully, quite a few seem to have been done by an actual artist. Oddly, I have always admired the irezumi, favoured by Yakuza, as works of art.. (tattoos are considered vulgar and disreputable in Japan, possibly because of the Yakuza link.)

YES,I know it's really none of my business, and wrong of me to judge anyone, for that ,or any other reason.

I'm trying to understand the motivation: peer pressure, fashion, rebellion, craving for attention, or what?

It's just that tattoos are permanent, or at least painful and expensive to remove.
 

VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,305
Brassicaland
#2
I have a tattoo, just one.. A souvenir of New Year's Eve 1969, Singapore. I have regretted it since 1 January 1970. Very unobtrusive, right upper arm, and is covered by t shirts. I've always been embarrassed by it.Today it seems I am constantly surrounded by ink; full sleeves, legs, backs, chests, even hands, necks and faces (I still think non tribal people with hand and/or facial tattoos are strange)

This love of ink seems most noticeable on entertainers of both sexes. Thankfully, quite a few seem to have been done by an actual artist. Oddly, I have always admired the irezumi, favoured by Yakuza, as works of art.. (tattoos are considered vulgar and disreputable in Japan, possibly because of the Yakuza link.)

YES,I know it's really none of my business, and wrong of me to judge anyone, for that ,or any other reason.

I'm trying to understand the motivation: peer pressure, fashion, rebellion, craving for attention, or what?

It's just that tattoos are permanent, or at least painful and expensive to remove.
While not so much in the West, tattoos are considered signs of "less desirable parts of the society", especially in Hong Kong, where gang membership is quite rampant.
Even though expensive, quite a few people remove their tattoos due to the negative perceptions and employment requirements.
 

Belgarion

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,603
Australia
#3
It's just a trend in the western world at the moment. Not so long ago tattoos were mainly the preserve of military personnel, bikies and criminals, but over the last couple of decades they have become a sign of cutting edge trendiness eagerly embraced by those who feel the need to look exciting and edgy. Unfortunately fashions change but a tattoo is effectively forever. What looks cool on a 20 year old today will look rather ridiculous on a 60 year old in the future, especially as the ink will fade and blur with age.
 
Feb 2016
4,254
Japan
#6
I have 3.
I’d have more if I hadn’t moved to Japan.

There are modern tattooists here, and the traditional sort too.... but the cost here is 3-4 times as much as in the UK.
 
Oct 2018
1,209
Adelaide south Australia
#7
This Forum is about culture and the arts. In my opinion, tattoos are neither cultured nor artistic
How wonderful for you. Certainly entitled to your opinion.

This forum is about whatever the members and moderators say it is about.

In MY opinion, tattoos are certainly a part of the culture of my country and many others. Here I define culture as any custom or practice which is not innate. Some of the work I've seen is of high skill an artistic merit. You seem to mean 'culture as 'high art', which includes painting , music and dance . There is no generally accepted definition of the word "art"as far as I'm aware.

I certainly don't like some modern music (eg rap) or some of the modern art works in our Sate Art gallery. However,I do not try to judge what is or is not 'art'

Pretty sure Japanese irezumi has its origins in Japanese wood block art. This art heavily influenced the French impressionist. AlthoughI don't think I'd like to have any tattoo I've seen in my wall, .I DO happen to have about a dozen nineteenth century wood block prints, which I love.

Below are examples of irezumi and of woodblock prints.
 

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Shtajerc

Ad Honorem
Jul 2014
6,466
Lower Styria, Slovenia
#8
I was never a fan of tattoos. I can apreciate them when they're part of culture. You know, like the Maori, Yakuza and so on. I don't think they're a part of Western cultures. Sure, go ahead, have them, won't bother me, but I find it rather ridiculous when people have some Chinese characters tattooed on them and don't even know what they mean or the names of their family members or some trees or whatever really. Most of the time I fail to see the significance in the tattoos people have nowadays. Personally, I don't want one let alone several. Except if I was in the army. Then I'd have one on the upper arm. Otherwise I can't think of anything that would be important enough to me to want to have it tatooed on my skin. I don't like the looks of people who have their whole arms tattooed but hey, you'll have to deal with it when you're all and it will be ugly af. People in the West with face tattoos or ones all over their body though. That's just plain stupid. Rappers or ghetto thugs with dollar signs on their faces, people with tattoed a*sholes and what not. Who could take them serious?

My neighbour has a tatoo on his arm, it's the emblem of the Yugoslav Air Force (an eagle and JRViPVO) and as a kid I knew a gentleman who was in the Wehrmacht, where he got some really terrible tattoos of an anchor (he wasn't in the navy!) and a really ugly death's head. But such tattoos I can understand and I actually like them. Noone in my family has got any and my parents and grandparents generally disapprove of them, which shaped my outlook as well for sure. My father went as far as to say to me once when I was still a minor that I can straight up leave for good, were I to come home with a tattoo. He likes to hear stories about jobs you can't get if you have a tattoo. Didn't convince me and if I wanted one I'd get it done, but I believe that a tattoo should be something very personal and it better be really important to you so that it's worth having on your skin for the rest of your life (yes, I know you can remove them with lasors and that it still leaves some scars). So far I had no motivation to get one. Some of my friends have some and I don't see the point even though they supposedly mean something to them ...

Like Belgarion said, I too believe it's a trend that could very well pass in the future. It wouldn't be the first. Look at powdered wigs, big beards, handlebar mustaches, hats, mohawks etc. Or maybe I'm just conservative. Tattoos will probably become even more popular in the near future beacuse they're not taboo anymore and there's always enough stupid people around to get meaningless ink on their skin cuz ya know bruh spirituality n stuff man.
 

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