Artistic Balance: Tattoos and the U.S. Economy
Tattoos hold a unique position in the U.S. market in many respects. First, of course, being that the end consumer doesn't receive any kind of consumable product, but rather a specific and permanent alteration of their skin and surrounding tissue. Second, as a somewhat direct result of the first, the tattoo market in one city is completely independent from the market in any other city. Indeed, because a tattoo is essentially a work of art, and all artists create their own individual works, the fees associated with getting a tattoo can be completely different at one shop than the next one just down the road. Third, and maybe most important, There is not really a middle man to speak of in the commercial tattoo industry. The manufacturer of the inks sells them to the tattoo artists, who proceed to insert the inks under clients' skin. Therefore, an intermediary company between the manufacturer and the artist is simply not necessary.
The tattoo industry, despite its recent success and popularity, exists in western culture largely as it has for hundreds of years: a silent majority, fractionalized for its "unclean" nature. Even today, many individuals who get tattoos have them put somewhere that can easily be covered with clothing if the need arises. Those who get tattoos that are visible all of the time are readily labeled as rebels or outcasts by more conservative members of society. The truth is, however, that members of every social class, race and religion have tattoos. They exist beyond the borders of countries and even continents. The rituals and traditions of tattooing have been carried on for thousands of years. Tattoos are universal.
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