Tattoos gone mainstream

Tattoo = derived from word „tatau“ in Polynesian culture, meaning to tag, to sign, a puncture.

First tattoos date back into the ancient times when a sharp subject and natural dye was used for cutting and pinching religious and cultural signs into the skin. In certain cases, tattoos had a meaning as signs of adulthood and maturity, for the praise of a warrior for his fearlessness, for reaching particular social status or belonging to a certain group, as well as a talisman as a protection from dark forces.

Many cultures used to have unique tattoos, which distinguished them from the others. Vikings tattooed family crests and in Polynesia, especially in Borneo, women tattooed their arms with signs of their skills, in which they were proficient. Ancient Romans, but also ancient Greeks and Egyptians, they marked their slaves and prisoners with tattoos of their serial number. In Japan it was popular to tattoo prisoners sentenced to death so that the devil could easily find them on the other world and Hinduists tattooed their children so that they could easily recognize them in life after death. Indians and tattoos were closely connected to religious belief. Tattooed were only those in high social position, priests or kings. But also the modification of face with nails, bones and jewelry was for Indians already known.

The fact that tattoos are preferred by specific countries more than the others is still actual even today. One of the most tattooed nations are Italians, for which tattoos and piercings are rather common than an haute couture mark on a body. Each Italian has probably had a piercing sometime in his/her life, and if not, it is not „italianovero“. Brits are also leaning towards a culture were tattoos are popular, mainly among the young generation, in the end the boom of the admiration of tattoos were brought by sailors to London from Polynesia. The Germans can be quite extravagant too when we are talking about body modification, particularly in large metropolitan cities such as Berlin, which are open to new impulses and liberal waves.

In the last and current century was tattoo understood rather negatively due to its association with thieves, prisoners, rebels and prostitutes, but also with comedians or soldiers. Nowadays having a tattoo is absolutely common and is not limited only to a certain group of similarly thinking individuals. It is not only a demonstration of fellowship to a social group or religious belief, as well as it is no longer the case that mermaids and anchors have tattooed only sailors. Tattoos became a decoration on the body and a style of modern people the same way as a necklace on the neck or a ring on the finger. May claim that it is their lifestyle and once you take to courage to get one tattoo, you will get a second one too, maybe a third. And maybe you will get tattooed a sleeve.

Tattoos are currently considered a kind of external presentation of oneself, of art, fashion and lifestyle. Even many big fashion brands are using temporary tattoos for their fashion shows as an accessory for their collection, for example Chanel already in its spring collection 2010 or Louis Vuitton in 2011, when models were tattooed by the brand logos. Other brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Philipp Plein, Roberto Cavallior Balmain also embraced the culture of tattoos as in their shows also in their campaigns.

Tattooed women and men even became the center point of interest for many commercial campaigns and phenomenon of the social media for their „style“. As an example could be Stephen James, Miles Langford, Rick GenestorJosh Mario John and models Ruby Rose, Anna Syuk, Jenah Yamamoto or Tina Louise.

In the past, tattoos were a sign of bravery, strength, faith and maybe also a statement of rebellion and countercurrent way of life.  Nowadays their meaning of social belonging or religious faith is disappearing, rather the body serves as an artistic canvas for the expression of inner desires, aspirations andthoughts, but also an expression of a mental pain.It would be therefore wrong to say that tattoos lost their primary meaning. Every tattoo is an expression of inner feelings of a person. But todays tattoos are rather presented as art that is constantly evolving and many times is still misunderstood by older generations. Tattoos are not about butterflies and birth dates anymore, but about portraits, simple geometric shapes with particular hidden meaning, fairytale creatures and dreams, maybe about aspirations or fears, but also about the harmony of colors and shading and talents of tattoo artists on a body of a human.

And if you still think that tattoos are still intolerable in a serious working position, you might be wrong. It is more and more accepted in big corporations and is not evoking fear or disgust of the society. It is not only about the tough bikers or so called „hipsters“ who’s bodies are dominated by pictures and captions, but also a serious businessman can have a decent tattoo at his discretion. And believe it or not, many of them actually have tattoos. It is only about what you want to present and who you want to appeal. So what do you say, shall we get a tattoo?