H.G. Wells stated that “In all ages, far back into prehistory, we find human beings have painted and adorned themselves.” This statement could not be truer. A poll questionnaire done in 2012 suggests that one in five American adults are tattooed. How do you feel about tattoos? Do you have any? If you have to go right now and get a tattoo, what would you be happy with forever? I personally like tattoos, having 12 myself, although there are one or two that I wish I would have thought more about. Tattoos have been an expression for some time, but in early times, while still for expressional value, they were also used as signs to determine a person’s status. Now, people get tattoos for expressional value, representation of a certain group they are affiliated with, and as memorials for loved ones. The changes in application of tattoos has evolved with advancements in modern technology since their arrival thousands of years ago. From tools to ink, tattoos have changed with the passing of time. History, ways of application, and ink have all made their permanent mark, no pun intended.
Since tattoos are more socially accepted, there is not certain type of person who gets tattoos. Anyone from white collar, to blue collar, to no collar have tattoos nowadays. The same goes with people who get multiple tattoos, there is no certain particular type of person. Take me for instance, I am a southern Caucasian woman, and just by talking to me, one would not know that I have as many tattoos as I do, I am just a normal person. Before they were accepted more, people thought “badly” of people with tattoos. They were frowned upon, and they were seen as unsightly. People would stereo type one another for having tattoos, but that is not so much the case now.
Tattoos have been a way of marking the body for thousands of years. Evidence has shown that they are at least 12,500 years old. Instruments consistent with tattooing size, as well as bowls with traces of pigment, were found in Chatelperron, France in 1867. While found only more than one hundred years ago, they are suggested and believed to be much older. (smithsonianmag, tattootemple)
In the ancient times of tattoos, patterns were the norm for the design. Egyptian mummies usually had line, diamond patterns, and occasionally the dwarf god, Bes. The majority of Egyptian people with tattoos were women. It was also not uncommon for both the living and deceased to have them. The “Iceman,” who was named Otzi, (he was found in Octal, which is in between Italy and Austria) was found in 1991. He is believed to be nearly 5,300 years old. He bears the earliest physical proof of tattoos. He had a total of 57 on his body, and many of them were near his joints. This causes belief that they were applied for therapeutic reasons. Now, any image that can be uploaded to a computer, whether it is something drawn by hand, preloaded into an application, or something you find while surfing the web can become a tattoo. Artists have redefined boundaries by having the ability to reproduce depth, realism, and texture into tattoos. There are now television shows that are contests. The contestants are given a challenge to create texture, realism, color, and depth each time, and are eliminated based on their work until only one is left standing. Letting is also popular, which is used quite often in memorial tattoos. The client picks out their design, whether it be a picture or lettering, and it is drawn up with the help of carbon copy paper, and is applied to the skin. Beforehand, the skin is cleansed and in most cases, shaven. A substance like deodorant is then applied to the skin and the artist lays the carbon copy paper on, and the outline is transferred. The artist follows this outline with the needle to embed the ink into the skin. Once it is finished, a substance, usually Vaseline, is applied along with a clear piece of plastic wrap. This is taken off after about an hour to allow the tattoo