Professor Philip Linder
Date: April 15, 2012
The Culture of Tattooing
I have always found tattoos to be a very beautiful, personal expression of one’s self. They are used to express personalities, beliefs, telling stories, labeling of groups, medicinal and many other ideas. Nowadays, tattoos are everywhere. It’s like being in a constantly changing museum of art with an infinite number of styles, artists and stories being told. I myself want a tattoos however, I have not figured out the exact story I want them to tell. The art of tattooing originated more than 5000 years ago. Since then, tattooing has touched nearly every part of the world. Many tribes and most cultures from all over the world use tattooing as a means of displaying their individualism and connect themselves to their ancestors and or groups. Tattoos have had a colourful history. The Japanese used to mark criminals by tattooing their foreheads. The Nazi’s used tattoos to dehumanize the Jews and take away their identity and replace it with a number. Many criminal gangs use tattoos to show their loyalty to their group and to intimidate others. These are just a few of the reasons I believe that tattoos have a stigma. On the other hand, many tribe still use tattoos as a right of passage into adulthood. While others get them to celebrate life and remember the lives of others. Many people see the body as a blank canvas to decorate. Tattoos are important to anthropology because so many cultures have adopted the practice and made it their own. We are now living in a world with a rapid pace of growth and many societies becoming more global. With each day of globalization people die and the stories their tattoos tell die with them also. Today, there are many studies that look at how tattoos have gone from being deviant to mainstream. This popularization of acceptance can be contributed to the massive amounts of celebrities and role models with them and the media’s ability to commercialize them for profit.
Blair, Lorrie. “Tattoos Teenagers: An Art Educator's Response.” Art Education. 60.5 (2007): 39-44. JSTOR. 15 April 2012.
This article is about how tattoos have become apart of popular culture and how it has influenced teens to get tattoos. Blair covers the practices of teenage tattooing, cultural symbols that are used and strategies for teaching teenagers about tattoos. The research method that Blair uses is from personal observation. This article takes an interesting position by not judging teenagers for making poor choices, but suggest that the teenager needs to be educated about the art of tattooing. There is nothing that can be done to stop teenagers from getting tattoos, educating them will give them knowledge to make informed decisions when they do get tattoos.
Fulford, Benjamin.. "Adventures In The Skin Trade." FORBES. 174.5 (2004): 210-212.
This article focuses the career of a well known tattoo artist from Japan, and the hard work that goes into becoming a expert at tattooing. The purpose of the article is to inform readers about the dedication and determination needed to be a success. The author's research methods involved researching Shinji Yasuda, through books, articles and interviews. The article discuss Yasuda's beginning as an apprentice, explores the Japanese tattoo culture, and the American tattoo culture.
Gambino, Megan. “Can Tattoos Be Medicinal?” Smithsonian.com. 10 December 2012. Web. 09 Apr. 2013.
This article is about Lars Krutak and his research that tattoos have a history of being used as a therapeutic treatment. An anthropologist of the National Museum of Natural History, Krutak has dedicated his practice to tattoos and scarification. The author's research method for this article was conducted by interviewing Krutak and observing his research. Kutak research consist of examination of the “Iceman”, a 5,300...