Sunday, August 22, 2010

The History And Future Of Tattoos

MANIA drew capacity crowds every day at Broken Spoke Campground during the 70th Anniversary of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally - Aug. 7 to 15 in Sturgis, South Dakota.

It is very likely that the vikings were tattooed. An Arabic scribe in the year 1100 reported meeting some Vikings he thought were "very rude, dirty - and covered with pictures."

Sailors on their ships returned home with their own tattoos, usually very basic designs of flowers, hearts, mermaids, ships, anchors, snakes, birds, and names. They also had tattoos to mark their voyage around the Horn of Africa, considered a life challenge.

Tattoos did not enter the mainstream of society in most areas of the world until recently, within the last 50 years. For a long time, tattoos were popular only among sailors and criminals. In prison, tattoos - professionally done and homemade - embody what the prisoner is missing: Autonomy and Identity. In many prisons, any new tattoos are strictly forbidden. 

THE ULTIMATE SYMBOL - Tattoos are the ultimate symbol of gang members, a permanent mark that shows total commitment to the gang. The tattoos reveal lots of things: who you are, what gang you're in, your beliefs (racist, etc.), what you have done, where you have been, how many years you have been in jail and even the fact that you have killed. Teardrops under the eye as well as spider webs on the elbows are known to symbolize people killed. 

Somewhere between outlaw and mainstream, tattoos became a major symbol of the life-style enjoyed by bikers. The iron horse riders, like the American Indians began expressing what was on their heart and in their souls through the tattoos on their bodies. Brotherhood, Freedom, Hero, Nature, Rebel, Soldier, Warrior.  - Such as this tattoo underway by Albertino Feghaly.

Modern day cartoons often pay tribute to their origins in the world of tattoo designs and drawings. Cartoon characters are also in popular demand as tattoos - such as this Spiderman tat by world famous Gill "The Drill" Montie.

Tattoos obviously influence motorcycle paint wraps - and vice versa.