Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Unconventional Art Forms...Tattoos

When one says art, what images come to mind? Pottery? The Mona Lisa? Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven?" Pottery, paintings, poetry, plays...these are the more conventional art forms, and the ones that immediately sprang to my mind when I started college. In the past five years, however, I have been exposed to unusual art forms.

The art of tattoos is thought to date as far back as 12,000 BC. Each culture has a history with tattoos, and they can represent different things. Some tattoos show rites of passage, status or rank, spirituality or serve as signs of bravery. In some cultures, criminals were marked with a tattoo and banished.

While most tattoo images are either pulled from images online or designed by the tattoo artist, it is also possible for individuals to design their own images. Those individuals are able to show off their own artistic talents while expressing themselves in a unique way.

In today's culture, tattoos have become more mainstream, and they can be seen as a form of expressionist art. I have a number of friends who have tattoos; some have them for personal reasons, while others are trivial.

A friend of mine has a tattoo on the base of his neck in memory of his father. Another has a winged shoe on her right ankle and a swimmer diving into water on her left foot as a tribute to her years as an athlete in those sports.

On a less serious note, four of my friends recently got Hello Kitty tattoos on, that's right, their right butt cheeks. When I inquired as to why they chose to get those particular tattoos I received the following answer:

"Duh, it's Hello Kitty, on our butts!"

The same friend said it would serve as a crazy and fun memory that they will all share as they get older. He plans on being in a nursing home one day, reminiscing about their group tattoos.

While one might think they will regret those particular tattoos down the road, I believe otherwise. My friends are just crazy enough that I truly believe they will look back on their pre-Vegas tattoos with fondness and laughter.

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