Inked Up

There’s something more to tattoos than the visual art they create.Tattoos as therapy is not a new thing. Tattoos have been used for healing, religion, and punishment in the past. It is more acceptable than ever to have tattoos now than it has been in previous generations. Despite the large amount of tattooed skin in the US today, NPR reported that many people still feel stigmatized. Some misconceptions with tattoos are:

  1. They are not professional
  2. You’ll regret it when you’re older
  3. They are permanent
  4. They have to have a lot of meaning and significance behind them
  5. They are only for lower class or scummy people
  6. They are irresponsible
  7. Certain locations mean you are promiscuous

Absolutely none of these statements are true. Having tattoo’s on your skin doesn’t determine the type of person you are. For me, tattoos are a form of art and give people a way to express and individualize themselves. No tattoo is stupid or “basic” and even if one hundred other people have it, if you want it on your body and it makes you happy then you should get whatever you want.

The practice of tattooing has evolved a lot from it’s origins around 3370 BC and it has become a lot more accessible. About 1 in every 10 people are reported to have at least one tattoo. DIY stick and poke kits and self-tattooing is a common thing among younger generations. Stick and poke tattooing is referred to as jailhouse or homemade tattoos and it’s a very rudimentary form of the art. With just a needle and some ink you can give you or your friends.

For me, tattoos have helped me get through depression and give me a way to express myself and relieve stress. Getting a tattoo doesn’t feel good at all…having a needle stabbed into you a million times. But the endorphins released during the session and the feeling you get afterwards, a huge rush of adrenaline, is amazing. I got my first tattoo when I was 16 years old, the gemini symbol in my right foot. Since then, I have gotten 14 more tattoos:

  1. outline of a wave (left wrist)
  2. semi-colon (left forearm)
  3. quote “All good things are wild and free” (left forearm)
  4. Tudor rose (left forearm)
  5. Mandala (left shoulder)
  6. lotus flower (left middle finger)
  7. Om symbol (right wrist)
  8. Chevron arrows (right forearm)
  9. Moon/sun combination (right forearm)
  10. Tree/anchor combination (right inside upper arm)
  11. Unalome (sternum)
  12. Hurdle (left leg)
  13. quote “Not all those who wander are lost” (left back shoulder)
  14. outline of a heart (left collarbone)

Some of them have a good amount of meaning and some of them are more for me, because I just wanted them. I love the way they look and how I can express myself through them. Tattoo as an art form is amazing and tattoo artists can create some amazing pieces of art. One of my favorite artists @winstonthewhale( on Instagram) is based out of Portland, Oregon and creates 3D tattoos that are quirky and unique.

Another artist who I love is based out of St. Petersburg, Florida and owns Amulet Tattoos, a 5 star tattoo shop known for its amazing tattoos and talented artists. Chelsea Rhea does stuff with ink and a needle that some cant even do with a pen and paper. Tattoo artists are often under-appreciated and looked down upon but a lot of them are educated in the arts from amazing universities and are talented illustrators, painters, and designers of all types. The world of tattoos is a special an interesting and complex place. Every drop of ink tells a new story and once you get past the pain, a tattoo can be more than some ink on your skin and become something special to whomever it is for.

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